Snowmageddon storm clobbers the Mid-Atlantic with 2 - 3 feet of snow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:08 PM GMT on February 06, 2010

Share this Blog
4
+

It's a very white world in the Mid-Atlantic today, where the historic blizzard of 2010 has buried residents under a record-breaking two to three feet of snow. The storm, which President Obama referred to as "Snowmageddon" in a speech before the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, set the all-time record for heaviest snowfall in Delaware history, thanks to the 26.5" that fell in Wilmington (old state record: 25" in the President's Day storm of 2003). "Snowmageddon" dumped the second heaviest at Philadelphia 28.5"), second heaviest at Atlantic City (18.2"), third heaviest at Baltimore (24.8"), and the 4th heaviest at Washington D.C. (17.8"). Several locations in Maryland have seen over three feet of snow, with the northern Washington D.C. suburb of Colesville receiving 40", and the southern Baltimore suburb of Elkridge receiving 38.3". While the blizzard was not an exceptionally strong storm--the central pressure was a rather unimpressive 986 mb at the height of the blizzard, at 9am EST Saturday--it was an exceptionally wet storm. The melted equivalent precipitation for the blizzard exceeded three inches along its core snow belt. That's an phenomenal amount of moisture for a winter storm. The blizzard formed a very unstable region aloft where thunderstorms were able to build, and there were many reports of thundersnow during the height of the storm. These embedded thunderstorms were able to generate very heavy snow bursts of 2 - 3 inches per hour.

A new storm expected to affect the area Tuesday may add to the immense pile of snow on the ground, though the precipitation may partially fall as rain. With only a slow warm up in store for the mid-Atlantic over the next ten days, the snow will stick around for a while. This is a good thing, since a sudden thaw or heavy rain event could generate considerable flooding, if the three inches of precipitation locked in the snow is suddenly released.

Today's blizzard is the second major snowstorm of 16+ inches to affect the Washington D.C./Baltimore region this winter--the other being the 16.4" storm of December 19 - 20. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the expected return period in the Washington D.C./Baltimore region for snowstorms with more than 16 inches of snow is about once every 25 years. Thus, a one-two punch of two major Mid-Atlantic Nor'easters with 16+ inches of snow in one winter is something that should happen only once every 625 years. Such an event has not happened since the beginning of the historical record in 1870. The numbers are even more impressive for Philadelphia, which has had two snowstorms exceeding 23" this winter. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the return period for a 22+ inch snow storm is once every 100 years--and we've had two 100-year snow storms in Philadelphia this winter. That should happen only once every 10,000 years, in today's climate. Of course, the last ice age was just ending around 12,000 years ago, so this probability number has to be viewed with a some skepticism. Still, the two huge snowstorms this winter in the Mid-Atlantic are definitely a very rare event one should see only once every few hundred years.


Figure 1. "Snowmageddon", the Nor'easter of February 5 - 6, just off the Mid-Atlantic coast, at 12:01 pm EST Saturday 2/6/10. Image credit: NASA GOES project.

The top 10 snowstorms on record for Baltimore:

1. 28.2", Feb 15-18, 2003
2. 26.5", Jan 27-29, 1922
3. 24.8", Feb 5-6, 2010
4. 22.8", Feb 11-12, 1983
5. 22.5", Jan 7-8, 1996
6. 22.0", Mar 29-30, 1942
7. 21.4", Feb 11-14, 1899
8. 21.0", Dec 19-20, 2009
9. 20.0", Feb 18-19, 1979
10. 16.0", Mar 15-18, 1892

The top 10 snowstorms on record for Washington, D.C.:

1. 28.0", Jan 27-28, 1922
2. 20.5", Feb 11-13, 1899
3. 18.7", Feb 18-19, 1979
4. 17.8" Feb 5-6, 2010
5. 17.1", Jan 6-8, 1996
6. 16.7", Feb 15-18, 2003
7. 16.6", Feb 11-12, 1983
8. 16.4", Dec 19-20, 2009 (Snowpocalypse)
9. 14.4", Feb 15-16, 1958
10. 14.4", Feb 7, 1936

Top 9 snowstorms for Philadelphia:

1. 30.7", Jan 7-8, 1996
2. 28.5", Feb 5-6, 2010
3. 23.2", Dec 19-20, 2009
4. 21.3", Feb 11-12, 1983
5. 21.0", Dec 25-26, 1909
6. 19.4", Apr 3-4, 1915
7. 18.9", Feb 12-14, 1899
8. 16.7", Jan 22-24, 1935
9. 15.1", Feb 28-Mar 1, 1941

I'll have a new blog on Monday, when I'll discuss if record snow storms are inconsistent with a world experiencing warming. Have a great Super Bowl weekend, everyone!

Jeff Masters

cleaning up the cars (chills)
cleaning up the cars
Blizzard 2010 (TonyInDC)
Blizzard  2010
winter scenic (gingyb)
From the looks of the cars we may never dig out.
winter scenic
Hubby Tries to Clear the Snow. (Proserpina)
Hubby tried to use the snow-blower to clear the snow, unfortunately for him the snow is too deep for the snow-blower. The shovel and his arms will have to do the job.
Hubby Tries to Clear the Snow.

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 579 - 529

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

TOUCH DOWN NEW ORLEANS
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
and the saints go marching in
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
Seriously this is my first football game i watch ...
I loke it! have soudn now! Go Siants!
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Well???
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22319
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
a lot can happen in 5 minutes
Seriously this is my first football game i watch ...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
lol the saints pretty much own now the colts ;)
a lot can happen in 5 minutes
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
lol the saints pretty much own now the colts ;)
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
saints 24 colts 17
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is such a good game, no matter who wins I'm donating the full amount of my pledge on TD's blog to Portlight.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5 mins final quarter
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
lol i got a stream but no soudn ;( 16:17
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
I want the saints to win, because they didn't in a long time? And the area where the saints are from, deserves it ;) And the name is better ;)

So Who Dat?
it all comes down to who plays the best and in about 20 mins or so we shall know who will stand and who will fall
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
colts 17 saints 13
I want the saints to win, because they didn't in a long time? And the area where the saints are from, deserves it ;) And the name is better ;)

So Who Dat?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
colts 17 saints 16
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
touchdown colts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Gonna be a nail biter!!!!
right down to the wire colts will come on strong now to try and break em if not saints may go all the way
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
right nows saints 13 colts 10
cooly, i get some snacks and watch this chat here for this epic game, lol.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Gonna be a nail biter!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seastep:
362. drg0dOwnCountry

You can't be serious about Hypercapnia.

Only Mountain climbers need to worry about that.

Wrong

It may also be caused by exposure to environments containing abnormally high concentrations of carbon dioxide (usually due to volcanic or geothermal causes), or by rebreathing exhaled carbon dioxide.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercapnia

An earthquake or volcanic eruption can trigger those. Your claim Co2 is not a pollutant is wrong seastep.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
So who won ;)
right nows saints 13 colts 10
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I dunno..I was expecting a train wreck at halftime with The Who. I didn't find it bad at all. I guess that might be the difference. I didn't expect much and got more than I expected.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
good start



555. drg0dOwnCountry 8:23 PM EST on February 07, 2010
So who won ;)
Action: Quote | Ignore User



just started second half i will let ya know in about 45 mins from now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
from the pic posted in the main blog header "hubby tries to clear the snow" to the next day- my father-in-law is a determined man!!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
good start
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So who won ;)
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
I agree Dan...I rather would have heard this:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


God I hope they retire now... because its going to be brutal in the news :(


Should be penalized, unsportmanlike conduct, and brought in Gloria Estefan. She should be nearby.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
I think Abbott and Costello would of went off better than that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TIME TO REUP THE SNACKS AND REFRESHMENTS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


And people accuse Favre of not knowing when to retire. The light show is nice though.


God I hope they retire now... because its going to be brutal in the news :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I still have 45 & 33 of these guys... and this is bad... hurts to listen


And people accuse Favre of not knowing when to retire. The light show is nice though.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Geoffrey- now you're talking Skippy!

Better than listening to The Was on halftime! :))))
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


Might be better than the vocal malfunctions they having. Fan of these guys, but c'mon, they can't hit the notes any more. Gotta appreciate the crowd though, good backup vocals. :)


I still have 45 & 33 of these guys... and this is bad... hurts to listen
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Please no "wardrobe malfunctions"


Might be better than the vocal malfunctions they having. Fan of these guys, but c'mon, they can't hit the notes any more. Gotta appreciate the crowd though, good backup vocals. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Half time show.. solid 5
out of 10 :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


What?


If you really don't know, Abbott and Costello routine.
If you really do know, What's on second. :))
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
i hope the music tapes don't cut out

lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Please no "wardrobe malfunctions"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting swampliliy:


3rd base!


What?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I don't know!


3rd base!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


who?


I don't know!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ok whatever who is going to do is good
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Your donations at work in Haiti
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
the who


who?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


That was my question. Who is doing the half-time show?


Who's on first.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
the who


That was my question. Who is doing the half-time show?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
the who
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Who is doing the half-time show?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
had to settle for a field goal
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
halftime
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 579 - 529

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
66 °F
Mostly Cloudy