Monday, February 18, 2013

SnowNoGettin': Washington on Track for Record Lowest 3-Year Total Snowfall, Largest 3-Year Decrease

As the massive snowfalls of the 2009-1010 season fade into the rear-view mirror, Washington DC is close to ending meteorological winter with a near-record low 3-year snow total. With the latest nor'easter bombing out well offshore, there is no Presidents' Day snowfall this year, and model indications are that there will be little, if any, snow in the next 10 days. That would end meteorological winter with a puny 1.5", the lowest since the 0.1" in November 1997 through February 1998. For the past 3 years, the winter total of 13.4" is likely to be the second lowest on record, ahead of the 14.1" in the 3-year interval ending in 2008-09. This means that two of the three lowest 3-year totals will be the periods immediately preceding and following the record season of 2009-2010.

For the entire season (including all months), assuming no more snow in February, the highly erratic month of March would have to contribute nearly 5" for the 3-year seasonal total to exceed the current record low for the period ending in 1998-99.

Comparing consecutive 3-year totals, the current amount of 13.6" is a massive 54.6" less than the 3-year total ending last year, which included the record high season. This is over 13" more than the 3-year decrease observed in 1901-02, the current record decrease.

Images (click to enlarge):
- Washington 3-year snow totals ending at season indicated
- Lowest Washington 3-year winter-only (November-February) snow totals
- Lowest Washington 3-year snow totals (2013 to date)
- Largest decreases in consecutive 3-year Washington snow totals (2013 to date)
CapitalClimate charts from National Weather Service data; background image © Kevin Ambrose

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