Doug Hill takes you back to 1987 to remember the Veterans Day snowstorm that took the region by surprise.
Above is some footage from Fox 5 during the 1987 Veterans Day Snowstorm. Thanks to Capital Weather Gang for finding this and I hope you all enjoy watching my friend Sue Palka discuss the storm. Notice that it reached the 60s the day before and the forecast was for highs in the 50s with scattered light rain. Let's just go ahead and hope this scenario doesn't repeat itself any time this Winter!
The Veterans Day snowstorm in 1987 officially dropped 11.5 inches of snow at Reagan National Airport and many areas in Prince Georges County picked up 15" or more. It occurred before the time of weather radar and the lightning detection network so it caught forecasters off-guard.
Thundersnow was being reported in Fredericksburg as the system intensified and barreled up the I-95 corridor. By the time it reached the D.C. area it was too late to warn everyone. Numerous motorists were stuck on the Capitol Beltway and had to abandon their vehicles, hampering snow removal efforts.
- 1987 Veterans Day Snow Totals in D.C.
My best memory of the storm is the fact I did not work the day before the snow hit. I was off on November 10th and I clearly remember clicking around the dial to watch the weather on channels 4,5,7 and 9 that night ( I was working WUSA at the time). As I recall, no one called for snow the next day, let alone a major snowstorm. I don’t think the National Weather Service forecasted snow either. All is know is when it hit the fan the next day and weather folks were being lambasted, I went on TV that evening feeling pretty good…my hands were clean. Truth be told though, I have blown more than a couple forecasts since then. But it sure felt good, at the time, that I didn’t blow that one.