You often hear the expression, “What a difference a year makes!” Well, we can say this year, “What a difference two years makes!” In 2010 at this time, we were scrambling to find shovels and snow removal equipment for what would be a one-two winter punch that would plow through the record books and get termed "Snowmageddon."
It started out with a weak disturbance moving in from the Southwest and southern Rockies that became stronger once it moved into the Central U.S. A healthy 992 mb low pressure developed along its southern periphery on the Gulf Coast with enough lift to promote snowfall as far north as the D.C. region. As the upper energy and surface low transitioned to the Mid-Atlantic coast, snowfall rates increased overnight on the 5th into the 6th.
This storm sure found its way into the record books by the time it ended on February 6th.
|February 5-6, 2010 Storm||Snowfall Amount|
|Dulles International:||32.4 inches; two-day snowfall record|
|BWI Thurgood Marshall:||24.8 inches; two-day snowfall record|
|Reagan National Airport:||17.8 inches; second highest two-day snowfall record|
The two-day total of 17.8 inches at Reagan National Airport was less than one inch away from the 18.7 inches from the February 18-19, 1979 storm and not far behind the infamous “Knickerbocker” storm that dropped 26 inches in two days from February 12-13, 1899. At Dulles International, 32.4 inches wiped out the previous two-day storm record of 23.2 inches on January 7-8, 1996 while 24.8 inches at BWI Marshal barely beat out the two-day storm record of 24.4 inches.
Mother Nature wasn’t done just yet! A strong storm came barreling out of the Mid-Mississippi Valley on February 9th before developing another impressive 992-mb low off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Unlike the first storm just days ago, the winds were stronger with this storm (35 to 40 mph), making it more like a true blizzard for the region. The winners in this storm included Frederick, Baltimore, Howard and Carroll Counties where 22 to 26 inches combined with gusty winds to produce 6-foot drifts.
Here are the snowfall totals for the three major airports in our region:
|February 9-10, 2010 Storm||Snowfall Amount|
|BWI Marshal:||19.5 inches|
|Dulles International:||9.3 inches|
|Reagan National Airport:||7.1 inches|
These two storms helped push the monthly snowfall total to 32.1 inches; 21 inches were on the ground at Reagan National at one point after the storms ended by February 11th. Dulles International had a starting 46.1 inches for the month while BWI Marshal recorded a whopping 50 inches and a snow depth to 34 inches right after the storm on the 11th.
(Heavy snow is piled up at the National Weather Service Office in Sterling, Va. Photo courtesy of the NWS Sterling office)
This by far puts to shame the winter we’ve had this year. The seasonal total so far is 1.7 inches, which is 9 inches behind par.