From the ABC 7 Weather team

Palm Sunday Snowstorm: 71 Years Ago Today

March 29, 2013 - 05:00 AM
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This March D.C. received it's first inch of snow in a little over two years! That's nothing compared to the historic late March, Palm Sunday, snowstorm in 1942.

Earlier this week, D.C. received its first inch of snow in nearly two years!  No records were set in Washington, but a daily snowfall record of 3.2 inches was recorded at BWI and Dulles.  This March's snow was certainly not one for the record books, but March of 1942 certainly was.

Library of Congress

Not all of us remember, but it was a historic late March snowstorm that was named the 'Palm Sunday snowstorm' since it fell the weekend before Easter that year. 

Looking back at previous records and accounts, mainly from Sterling's National Weather Service, it was an unexpected snowstorm that crippled the region.  On March 29th rain began in the area, but changed over to a very heavy, wet snow and continued for many hours.  The snow stuck to power lines, trees, and shrubs, which weighed them down and caused massive problems.  Here's a surface map of the storm.  Notice the area of low pressure off the mid-Atlantic coast.

US Department of Commerce - Weather Bureau

The ironic thing was just twelve days earlier, high temperatures climbed into the upper 70s, so trees were already starting to blossom. 

The Palm Sunday snowstorm is the heaviest March snow on record in Maryland.  Baltimore and Hagerstown measured 22 inches of snow.  Hagerstown's 22 inches fell in a 24 hour period!  Washington received a total of 12 inches.  The record snow for March 29th is 11.5" from 1942.  That's the highest record snow in March, since weather records began. 

Library of Congress
Library of Congress
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