In the Beginning…

… there was some snow

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

In the end, there will probably be a s***load of snow.  Consider these the “before” pictures.  We’ll have the “after” picture tomorrow afternoon.

Latest forecasts call for 20-30 inches across the warned area from DC/Baltimore west to the eastern slopes of the Appalachian Mtns.  The point forecast for yours truly adds up to 24-36 inches by tomorrow night.  This is probably a little extreme, but two feet is very believable.

Speaking of extreme, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a mesoscale discussion for the area stating that 2-3 inch/hour rates will be likely tonight into tomorrow morning.  I don’t think I need to explain how insane that is, but just in case… snowfall rates of that magnitude are often reserved for the most intense lake effect snow bands.  Luckily, it will happen overnight into the morning of a weekend, so the effect shouldn’t be as horrible had it happened mid-week, mid-day.

For you history-oriented individuals, this storm will likely rank in the top 2-3 storms in DC history.  The worst storm in history produced 28 inches of snow in DC in January of 1922.  It’s referred to as the “Knickerbocker Storm” since the Knickerbocker Theater roof collapsed killing or injuring hundreds inside.  This record might be threatened, but I don’t think it’s likely to be broken this weekend.

The other record to watch is that of total seasonal snowfall.  20 inches of snow from this storm would push DC past the highest Winter snow total in the past 100 years.  Now, they consider the 1898-99 54.4″ season to be the record holder for all time, but there may be some debate about that.  I’m not entirely sure, but I believe the site for recording weather moved from NW DC to what is now Reagan Airport around the turn of the century.  Reagan International is located across the Potomac River in Northern VA.  The move may not be more than a handful of miles, but it can result in lower snowfall totals since it is closer to the coast.  (Dulles Airport, about 35 miles west of Reagan, average 6 more inches per season.)  So, whether this season will be #1 or #2 may be up for debate, but it’s historic nonetheless.  Of course, another decent storm will eliminate all doubt.

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