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1st-6th…A blizzard battered the Mid-Atlantic region Saturday, with emergency crews struggling to keep pace with the heavy, wet snow that has piled up on roadways, toppled trees and left thousands without electricity. Officials urged people to huddle at home and out of the way of emergency crews. Forecasters said the storm could be the biggest for the nation's capital in modern history. A record 2 1/2 feet or more was predicted for Washington. As of early Saturday, 10 inches of snow was reported at the White House, while parts of Maryland and West Virginia were buried under more than 20 inches. Forecasters expected snowfall rates to increase, up to 2 inches per hour through Saturday morning.
Blizzard warnings were issued for the District of Columbia, Baltimore, parts of New Jersey and Delaware, and some areas west of the Chesapeake Bay. "Things are fairly manageable, but trees are starting to come down," said D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer, whose agency responded to some of the falling trees. No injuries were reported. Airlines canceled flights, churches called off weekend services and people wondered if they would be stuck at home for several days in a region ill-equipped to deal with so much snow. "D.C. traditionally panics when it comes to snow. This time, it may be more justifiable than most times," said Becky Shipp, who was power-walking in Arlington, VA, Friday. "I am trying to get a walk in before I am stuck with just the exercise machine in my condo." The region's second snowstorm in less than two months brought heavy, wet snow and strong winds that forecasters warned could gust near 60 mph in some areas along the coast. Hundreds of thousands of customers across the region had lost electricity and more outages were expected to be reported because of all the downed power lines. A hospital fire in D.C. sent about three dozen patients scurrying from their rooms to safety in a basement. The blaze started when a snow plow truck caught fire near the building. Authorities blamed the storm for hundreds of accidents, including a deadly tractor-trailer wreck that killed a father and son who had stopped to help someone in Virginia. Some area hospitals asked people with four-wheel-drive vehicles to volunteer to pick up doctors and nurses to take them to work. The country band Rascal Flatts postponed a concert Saturday in Ohio, but the Atlanta Thrashers-Washington Capitals NHL game went on as planned. In Dover, DE, Shanita Foster lugged three gallons of water out of a Dollar General store.
"That's all we need right now. We've got everything else," said Foster, adding that she was ready with candles in case the power went out.
Shoppers jammed aisles and emptied stores of milk, bread, shovels, driveway salt and other supplies. Many scrambling for food and supplies were too late. "Our shelves are bare," said Food Lion front-end manager Darlene Baboo in Dover. "This is just unreal." Metro, the transit system the Washington area is heavily dependent upon, closed all but the underground rail service and suspended bus service. Maryland's public transportation also shut down Saturday, including Baltimore's Metro. Maryland Transit Administration spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said the underground portion of the Metro could reopen later Saturday but it depended on the weather conditions. "We have trees on the overhead wires, trees on train tracks. We can't get anything out," she said.
Amtrak also canceled several of its Northeast Corridor trains Saturday, and New Jersey's transit authority expected to suspend bus service. As much as a foot of snow was reported in parts of that state. Across the region, transportation officials deployed thousands of trucks and crews and had hundreds of thousands of tons of salt at the ready. Several states exhausted or expected to exhaust their snow removal budgets.
Maryland budgeted about $60 million, and had already spent about $50 million, Gov. Martin O'Malley said. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has been in office less than a month, declared his second snow emergency, authorizing state agencies to assist local governments. As of early Saturday, some parts of Virginia had already seen more than 18 inches of snow. The snow comes less than two months after a Dec. 19 storm dumped more than 16 inches on Washington. Snowfalls of this magnitude - let alone two in one season - are rare in the area. According to the National Weather Service, Washington has gotten more than a foot of snow only 13 times since 1870. The heaviest on record was 28 inches in January 1922. The biggest snowfall for the Washington-Baltimore area is believed to have been in 1772, before official records were kept, when as much as 3 feet fell, which George Washington and Thomas Jefferson penned in their diaries. In Washington, tourists made the best of it Friday, spending their days in museums or venturing out to see the monuments before the snow got too heavy. A group of 13 high school students from Cincinnati was stranded in D.C. when a student government conference they planned to attend was canceled - after they had already arrived. So they went sightseeing. At the Smithsonian's natural history museum, Caitlin Lavon, 18, and Hannah Koch, 17, took pictures of each other with the jaws of a great white shark in the Ocean Hall. "Our parents are all freaking out, sending texts to be careful," Koch said. "Being from Ohio, I don't think I've ever seen that much snow at once."
A major, historic storm continued to pile snow on the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday. While snow diminished from west to east as the storm moved off the eastern seaboard and into the Atlantic Ocean, it did remain a problem for the middle portion of the coast. Winter Storm Warnings remain posted from the Ohio Valley through the Mid-Atlantic and many areas received well over 2 feet of new snow. This will make the current storm one of the strongest on record. As the storm moved away from the area in the afternoon, precipitation diminished and allowed the Nation's Capitol to begin the process of digging out.
Widespread clouds covered the northeastern quadrant of the nation today as a raging blizzard engulfed the northern Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. This strong storm continued to crank out heavy snowfall, blustery winds, and minimal visibility levels from Virginia through New York as it intensified off the Northeast coast. Significant two-day snowfall totals reported by airports in Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Dulles broke all-time seasonal snow records during the afternoon. With the 9.8 inch two-day snowfall total reported at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport during the afternoon, the seasonal snowfall total reached 54.9 inches. The additional 11.9 inch two-day snowfall total measured at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport brought the seasonal snowfall total for Baltimore to 72.3 inches. Finally, as of yesterday, seasonal snowfall at Dulles International Airport stood at 63.5 inches, breaking a previous record of 61.9 inches set in 1995-96. (*Official 2-day snow totals and seasonal snow total will be reported and updated after the current snow has ended.) As the storm strengthened, strong winds gusted over 40 mph across a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S., causing a larger region of blizzard conditions with blowing and drifting snow. This combination of hazardous weather activity continued to paralyze the Northeast and the northern Mid-Atlantic with delayed to grounded travel conditions, property damage, and power disruptions.
An active storm pattern over the Southern US continued on Thursday as another low pressure system developed in the Western Gulf. The storm brought heavy rain to southern Texas and Louisiana while snow fell from just southwest of Dallas north and east into Oklahoma and northern Louisiana. As of early afternoon, the Dallas area had seen anywhere from 3-8 inches and heavy snow continued into the late afternoon. Snow was expected to last into the evening then taper off after midnight. In addition to problems due to winter weather, this storm on top of the recent wet period helped to continue flood concerns throughout the Gulf Coast.
It was a miserable day across the southern states Friday as heavy precipitation fell throughout the region. A storm system tracked eastward across the Gulf of Mexico and continued to intensify. This system combined with large amount of Gulf moisture and cold air from the north resulted in areas of freezing rain and moderate to heavy snow from eastern Texas across the lower Mississippi Valley to northern Southeast. In addition, widespread rain and thunderstorm pounded through the Gulf Coast, southern Georgia and Florida Peninsula.
14th-20th…The large storm system that dominated across the East continued to produce widely scattered snow showers and coastal rain showers east of the Mississippi Valley Tuesday. This system intensified off eastern Long Island Tuesday afternoon and generated bands of heavy snow especially from Boston Metro area to Worcester Fitchburg and Lawrence. Another area of moderate to heavy snow was over western Connecticut and southwest Massachusetts. Counties like Tolland, Norfolk and Washington had received more than 4 inches of snow since Monday morning. Parts of West Virginia saw more than 10 inches of snow. Moving southward, the cold front that associated with this storm system pushed southeastward across southern Florida Tuesday morning and spread rain showers and scattered thunderstorms.
21-28th…A winter storm and it's associated fronts brought unsettling weather activity to the eastern third of the nation on Monday. Rich moisture associated with this storm combined with cold temperatures to produce swaths of snow, sleet, and cold rain from eastern Michigan through the Lower Great Lakes as the system trekked through the Ohio Valley. Periods of heavy snowfall fell through the afternoon and produced significant snow totals across the thumb of Michigan. The city of Brighton in Livingston County reported 7.0 inches of snowfall, while Garden City in Wayne County reported 6.6 inches. Port Huron also saw heavy snowfall and reported a snow total of 4.9 inches. Precipitation continued to advance eastward into the Lower Great Lakes during the afternoon, creating slick and hazardous roads for travelers.
Several weather systems brought plenty of active weather to the nation on Tuesday. In the East, several waves of low pressure dominated much of the Eastern Seaboard with areas of wet weather and cold temperatures. Moist, wrap-around flow from low pressure located just off the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts triggered a mix of light rain, sleet, and snowfall to eastern New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Meanwhile in the south, a winter storm system over the Southern Plains brought a mix of light to moderate rain and snow with freezing fog to the Southern Plains.
Out West, the first strong Pacific storm of the week reached the Pacific Northwest and northern California with moderate rain showers and high-elevation snow with locally strong winds.
A major winter weather outbreak struck the Northeast on Thursday as an intense low pressure system moved up the coast. This storm brought heavy snow to portions of the Mid-Atlantic and New York. Snow fall amounts in the region hadn't been exceptionally high, with 12 hour snow totals generally less than 6 inches, but as the storm lingers over the weekend, much more snow is expected to fall. In New England, snow hadn't been much of a problem due to strong winds blowing off the relatively warm ocean.
A major storm continued to ravage the Northeast on Friday with heavy snow and extremely strong wind. The storm approached the New England coast from the Atlantic Ocean and remained intense into the Mid-Atlantic where Wind Advisories were posted. Wind in excess of 30 mph and gusts over 40 mph were noted and will continue into the evening. The heavy snow that fell in Central Park in New York pushed the city past its record February snowfall. As of Friday morning, 36.8 inches of snow fell on the park for the month of February, passing its previous record of 27.9 inches set in 1934. Meanwhile many areas of the Northeast were under siege from heavy snow. Nearly two feet of new snow fell in parts of New Jersey, while widespread reports of snow in excess of one and two feet were reported throughout New England.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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