Sunday, January 25, 2009

Washington DC Snow Drought Approaches Monumental Proportions
Minimum Snow Records Threatened

See here for other winter weather posts, including the spectacular breaking of the snow drought on December 19, 2009.

Hurricanes, blizzards, and extreme temperatures get major headlines, but sometimes weather news is made much more gradually and quietly. With cold air again entrenched in the Washington area following a brief January thaw, computer models are quibbling over what is likely to be the last chance this month for some minimal frozen precipitation toward the middle of the coming week.

Although a trace of snow has fallen 5 times this January, including the day before the Inauguration, no measurable snow has been reported so far this winter in the Nation's Capital. That keeps the current season ahead of the record winters of 1972-73 and 1997-98 in the snow deficit department. In those years, only 0.1" was recorded. Besides 1972-73, only 3 previous winters have had no measurable snow through January: 1889-90, 1913-14, and 1959-60. The latter two went on to have over 2 feet of snow in February and March, with the majority falling in March both years.

The last time measurable snow fell in Washington was on Feb. 20, 2008, when that month's entire total of 1.0" was observed. The current stretch of 11+ consecutive months without snow is the longest since the 12-month snowless streak from Dec. 10, 1997 through Dec. 22, 1998.

Following the 4.9" which fell in 2007-08, this season needs at least 1.9" of snow to avoid breaking the record for least amount of snow in consecutive winters, 6.8" from 1996 through 1998. Not counting this year, the previous 2 winters from 2006 through 2008 have the 9th lowest total. The combined 14.4" for the last 3 winters so far is 4" below the record minimum for 3 consecutive seasons, 18.4" from 1996 through 1999.

Images (click to enlarge):
CapitalClimate Washington, DC, seasonal snowfall charts from NWS data, background image © Kevin Ambrose

No comments:

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.