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

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

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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.

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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
There goes the sea ice ...
Cpt Kirk, we just lost our deflector shield - the enterprise is now left vulnerable.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Snowmageddon storm out in the Atlantic...

There goes the sea ice ...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Snowmageddon storm out in the Atlantic...

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
So how many hrs till super BOWL? And where is the live stream?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Off-topic, but there are shirts with the brand name "Playboy".
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
I got my own bunny!
I can see dat ;)
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I got my own bunny!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 563
Quoting PensacolaDoug:



I wouldn't go THAT far....
Maybe stick with playboy than?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
At least you know what i'm talking about.



I wouldn't go THAT far....
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 563
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Or is it "some cant see the trees for the forest"? I'm so confused.
At least you know what i'm talking about.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Or is it "some cant see the trees for the forest"? I'm so confused.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 563
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
THe saying is "Some folks can't see the forest for the trees".


If a tree falls in a forest...
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
THe saying is "Some folks can't see the forest for the trees".
thx.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
OK, so...from my graphs I conclude that January temperatures have been warming 2x as fast as annual temperatures in the CONUS.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
THe saying is "Some folks can't see the forest for the trees".
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 563
Quoting AussieStorm:
Some don't see the forest while they stand right in front of it. Thanks for this vid though.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
I just like the label.


Sure! And I just look at PLAYBOY for the articles!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 563
Oops, January. This one's better:

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting Ossqss:
I will leave you with this :)

Go Saints !



Figure 1. United States annual average temperature, 1895-1997 (data source: National Climate Data Center).

Make your own here !


A-ha!

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting AussieStorm:
I'm back posting what I normally post on here.
No more AGW/CC talk from me. Period.
Sure ...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Dan, LOL! Thanks for pics! Around here...that's (pretty much) ROCKVILLE! But yup, Silver Spring borders that, too.

Oh, really, it's just impossible...some in Rockville (e.g., some real estate agents, will say it's North Potomac, or East Potomac, just to drive up property values...). Think that might drive up their taxes, though. Unintended consequences(?)

LATE CORRECTION -- DAN'S RIGHT, RE COLESVILLE AREA...THE CAMERA PIC IS COLESVILLE, I DIDN'T LOOK AT RTE NO. CAREFULLY ENOUGH! Don't see 40" though; guess it's too close to road.

Mornin' Chicklit. Funny and weird to see our area in this blog. Discomforting almost, this 15 mins. :)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Quoting Chicklit:
You go, Astro.
Have a great day everyone.
Looks like perfect football temperature in Miami for tonight's Big Game. Does anyone know if the wind will die down?
59.5 °F Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 43% Dew Point: 38 °F
Wind: 17.5 mphfrom the South
Wind Gust: 24.0 mph
Pressure: 29.91 in (Steady)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 6 out of 16
Clouds: Scattered Clouds 3000 ft
(Above Ground Level)



My understanding is that the wind should slack off later today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
405. IKE
Quoting AussieStorm:

maybe to some people they do, Oh wait, don't they need to be made using coal and a furnace, that would produce CO2, opps thats a GW gas


:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Quoting IKE:


LOL.

Do horseshoes cause global warming?

maybe to some people they do, Oh wait, don't they need to be made using coal and a furnace, that would produce CO2, opps thats a GW gas
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
I will leave you with this :)

Go Saints !



Figure 1. United States annual average temperature, 1895-1997 (data source: National Climate Data Center).

Make your own here !
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
400. IKE
Quoting atmoaggie:

Did you have to do that? Now we are going to get posts about the dangers of horseshoes and how they are being banned in some location or another.


LOL.

Do horseshoes cause global warming?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting atmoaggie:

Did you have to do that? Now we are going to get posts about the dangers of horseshoes and how they are being banned in some location or another.

LOL
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
You go, Astro.
Have a great day everyone.
Looks like perfect football temperature in Miami for tonight's Big Game. Does anyone know if the wind will die down?
59.5 °F Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 43% Dew Point: 38 °F
Wind: 17.5 mphfrom the South
Wind Gust: 24.0 mph
Pressure: 29.91 in (Steady)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 6 out of 16
Clouds: Scattered Clouds 3000 ft
(Above Ground Level)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
397. IKE
A little closer at 138 hours(12Z GFS)...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:


Ditto the 12Z GFS....although it's getting closer, which only counts in horseshoes.


Did you have to do that? Now we are going to get posts about the dangers of horseshoes and how they are being banned in some location or another.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting Chicklit:
Eckington Pl, NE, Washington, District of Columbia (PWS) Updated: 1 min 3 sec ago
26.3 °F Scattered Clouds
Windchill: 17 °F Humidity: 63%
Dew Point: 15 °F
Wind: 9.0 mphfrom the WNW
Wind Gust: 13.0 mph
COLD At least the snow is not melting; if that much snow starts to melt and then freezes again, watch out.

If it melts and doesn't re-freeze then watch out also, that much water held in all that snow melting over a day or 2, would cause massive flooding.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
The area called Silver Spring in Maryland is humongous, and nebulous...contains many zip codes.
On a map of Montgomery County, MD, you'll see it goes all the way from Olney to Takoma Park (next to DC), and from Kensington to College Park in Prince George's County (approx.)

We always have to qualify by neighborhood.

This is a little closer to me than the Colesville area...though Colesville ROAD is only a mile away.

COLLEGE PARK 1 NNE 25.0

But yeah, ditto, WOW! When we dare to drive around, I may have to go look at that 40"!!


Colesville MD



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
393. IKE
Quoting atmoaggie:

6 Z GFS, close but no cigar:



Ditto the 12Z GFS at 132 hours.....although it's getting closer, which only counts in horseshoes.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Oh yea, and water holds and retains heat very well. Hmmm.....


Yes it does. Link
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting AussieStorm:
WunderBlogs - Dr. Masters' Blog Content Rules.

2.Stay on topic.

the topic is Snowmaggedon

...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Eckington Pl, NE, Washington, District of Columbia (PWS) Updated: 1 min 3 sec ago
26.3 °F Scattered Clouds
Windchill: 17 °F Humidity: 63%
Dew Point: 15 °F
Wind: 9.0 mphfrom the WNW
Wind Gust: 13.0 mph
COLD At least the snow is not melting; if that much snow starts to melt and then freezes again, watch out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
362: Remember Lake Nyos? Link

363: Enough anti-retardism. This will be offensive to some people.


Did you actually read the joke, It was a little girl writing about retirement, but spelt it retardment.
Why do I bother coming into this blog in your winter. I have a feeling I'll be catching up on IKE with his ignore list
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Quoting atmoaggie:

LOL. That may be an idiom your are not familiar with...close but not quite.

What was your job again?

Finland Moves to Ban Smoking Entirely
http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/finland-moves-to-ban-smoking-entirely/19318631
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:42 pm EST
User's Guide to Super Bowl Halftime: 11 things you should know
Yahoo Sports
By MJD

Excerpt:

2. It's perfectly safe for you to flush your toilet. Some wise guy at your Super Bowl party may tell you that the rush of people flushing their toilets at halftime can cause a sanitation disaster, but it's absolutely not true. It's an urban legend that's existed for a while now, but pay it no mind. You can flush with a clear conscience.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Don't you know that smoking is bad for you?

LOL. That may be an idiom your are not familiar with...close but not quite.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting atmoaggie:

As soon as our US EPA got involved in it, the relevance of CO2 as a pollutant became real. We set up that agency to police the hazardous toxins released by industry and the public into our air, waters, and soils.

Yet has anyone heard anything at all about improved monitoring and enforcement of any real toxins in the last 5 to 10 years? No. And not seeming to be any more effective at their job in the near future, either.

Wrong atmo. Maybe you first read before you make such claims. And even before teh EPA put CO2 on the list, it was clear that Co2 is a greenhouse gas.

Our Work - EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) manages programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (PDF) (106 pp., 263KB, about PDF) (TSCA Summary) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 (PDF) (10 pp., 39KB, about PDF) (PPA Summary). Under these laws, EPA evaluates new and existing chemicals and their risks, and finds ways to prevent or reduce pollution before it gets into the environment. We also manage a variety of environmental stewardship programs that encourage companies to reduce and prevent pollution. Read more basic information.
http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/index.html

Chemicals for which action plans have been prepared include:

* Phthalates
* Long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
* Penta, octa, and decabromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in products
* Short-chain chlorinated paraffins

Chemicals currently in the action plan development process include:

* Benzidine dyes and pigments
* Bisphenol A
http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/ecactionpln.html

http://www.epa.gov/oppt/aegl/pubs/rest139.htm
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Enter the lawyers ---->

First EPA CO2 Lawsuit Filed

"WHAT: Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) today filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), challenging the Endangerment Finding published by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Dec. 15, 2009. (filing available at www.epalawsuit.org)"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
382. Xyrus
Quoting Seastep:
344. AstroHurricane001

I also do not believe CO2 to be a very significant factor. You and drg obviously do.

We'll see who is correct, but so far, the evidence shows that the IPCC has overstated its importance. Why I am pretty convinced at this point that the predictions will not validate.

Again, 10 more years should make it pretty clear.

Gotta run to my weekly in-person appointment with God.


Water vapor IS more potent, but the water cycle is very quick.

The CO2 cycle in the atmosphere is not quick. That's the problem. We're throwing billions of tons of CO2 in the atmosphere and based on atmospheric concentration records just about none of it is being absorbed by the environment.

So as far as contributions to the greenhouse effect, CO2 is not the most potent. But it IS the longest lived. Water vapor will get precipitated. Methane breaks down. But CO2 just sits there and it keeps growing trapping a little more heat with every uptick.

One area of research is looking into the natural carbon sinks and determining whether or not they have the capacity or grow the capacity to eventually absorb the excess CO2. Right now it seems that if they can, they do so slowly (CO2 levels have done nothing but go up).

There are a lot of questions, hence all the research.

~X~
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
You want my opinion? I'd say we'll never get as high as 1% from global warming. But I posted the original link to prove that CO2 in high concentrations can be hazardous and whether or not it's a pollutant is irrelavent.

As soon as our US EPA got involved in it, the relevance of CO2 as a pollutant became real. We set up that agency to police the hazardous toxins released by industry and the public into our air, waters, and soils.

Yet has anyone heard anything at all about improved monitoring and enforcement of any real toxins in the last 5 to 10 years? No. And not seeming to be any more effective at their job in the near future, either.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Oh yea, and water holds and retains heat very well. Hmmm.....
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 563
Quoting atmoaggie:

6 Z GFS, close but no cigar:



Don't you know that smoking is bad for you?

Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Water is toxic as well if you drink enough.
So is it a "pollutant" also?


Nope...Link
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835

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

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