Storm updates: Snowzilla, biggest snow on record in Baltimore, top 5 in DC, fading – Washington Post

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*** D.C. area forecast: Blizzard rages today, ending tonight after giant snowfall ***

Key points:

  • Snow totals have reached 22-35 inches west, north, and northwest of the Beltway, 18-24 inches inches inside the Beltway, and 10-20 inches south and southeast of the Beltway.
  • Steady snow and gusty winds are likely for a few more hours, but little additional accumulation.
  • Snow tapers off by around midnight.
  • Blizzard conditions were achieved in D.C. late this afternoon, but have relented some.
  • This storm, named Snowzilla, ranks as the snowiest on record for Baltimore, second snowiest on record at Dulles, and is tied for fourth snowiest on record in D.C.

9:50 p.m. update: Where did the most snow fall in this storm anywhere on the East Coast? A mere two hours (100 miles) away in Berkeley County, West. Va., where 32-40 inches were reported.

9:30 p.m. update: Snowfall map from National Weather Service shows most locations north and west of I-95 received over 20 inches, where locations along and south and east of I-95 received 12 to 20 inches.

9:00 p.m. update: According to the National Weather Service, Baltimore (as measured at BWI Airport) received 29.2 inches, meaning Snowzilla has become its biggest snowstorm on record. Baltimore records date back to 1892.

Dulles Airport logged 28.3 inches, ranking second among its biggest storms. Dulles records date back to 1963.

8:40 p.m. update: The snowfall total of 17.8 inches at Reagan National Airport, which ties Snowmageddon as the 4th most on record, is in question – and very possibly an underestimate. Read Angela Fritz’s report: Washington, D.C., snowfall total called into question after improper measurement

8:25 p.m. update: It’s still snowing in D.C., gently… A nice video from Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston in Cleveland Park..

8:00 p.m. update: Reagan National Airport’s preliminary snowfall total through 8 p.m. is 17.8 inches, which ties Snowmageddon of 2010 as the 4th most on record. However, we are not convinced this is a legitimate total and will have more to say about it later.

Meanwhile, New York City Central Park has logged its snowiest day on record:

7:30 p.m. update: Great map shows incredible snow output from Snowzilla in Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, via National Weather Service:

Harrisburg, Pa. had its greatest amount of snow from a single storm on record:

7:20 p.m. update: Snow continues to fall steadily across the region, but has generally lessened in intensity from moderate to heavy to light to moderate. Over the next few hours, snow may continue but slowly become lighter. Models still suggest snow should wind down between about 10 p.m. and midnight or a little after.

6:47 p.m. update: Believe it or not, New York City has received even more snow than D.C. JFK has logged it snowiest single day total on record. Former Capital Weather Gang contributor Andrew Freedman, now science editor at Mashable, sends us the following report from Brooklyn:

Manhattan and the Bronx along with Newark are closing in on 24-30 inches. JFK now at 24. Some areas of northern NJ could exceed 35 inches. Unreal here, in terms of snowfall rates all day and the National Weather Service has been playing catchup.

It was clear days ago that this was an excruciatingly tough forecast for New York City, with a shift of 40-50 miles making a huge difference. Unfortunately for many people, that shift happened in the models with evening runs on Friday, catching people off guard on Saturday morning, and forcing forecasters to up totals every few hours.

Historic storm in NYC, and it’s still going.

6:28 p.m. update: How about THAT?

6:25 p.m. update: A few recent photos:

6:10 p.m. update: Between 3 and 5 p.m., the conditions outside qualified as a “blizzard” in the D.C. area. What exactly does that mean? I explain in this video:

5:50 p.m. update: Dulles Airport, as of 4:20 p.m., had tallied 26.5 inches of snow, second most on record there. It only trails Snowmageddon of Feb. 5-6, 2010, when 32.4 inches fell. Records at Dulles date back to 1963.

5:25 p.m. update: Here’s the latest snow total map assembled by the National Weather Service. Notice pretty much everyone north and west of the Beltway is over 20 inches. Many of these numbers are at least an hour or more old.

5:10 p.m. update: D.C.’s official storm total, as of 5 p.m., is 17.5 inches which puts it ahead of the Blizzard of 1996 and into 5th place among the top 10 greatest storms. Just 0.3 inches need to fall for it to pass Snowmageddon.

5:00 p.m. update: BLIZZARD! D.C. has officially met the criteria for a blizzard: Three straight hours with winds gusting over 35 mph, visibility of 0.25 miles or less and snow and blowing snow. At 5 p.m., National Airport, D.C.’s reporting station, observed heavy snow, winds gusting to 37 mph, and visibility of 0.06 miles.

4:45 p.m. update: Here are some recent snow totals:

Va.: Woodbridge 22″, Arlington 22″, Tysons-Vienna 23-25″, Leesburg 28-31″, Gainesville 27″, Fair Oaks 23″, Brambleton 35″, Great Falls 27″, Herndon 28″, Manassas 25″, Alexandra 21″, Fairfax 26″, Annandale 17″

Md.: Laurel 24″, Potomac and Rockville 24-28″, Silver Spring 28″, Pasadena 20″, Wheaton 22″, Eldersburg 34″, Greenbelt 20″, New Market 35″

D.C.: Petworth 19″, Mt. Pleasant 21″, Adams Morgan 23″, Navy Yard 19″

4:25 p.m. update: Let’s just say Columbia Heights is snowed under…

4:10 p.m. update: Reagan National Airport, D.C.’s official observing location, reports a storm total of 17.0 inches as of 4 p.m.  This puts this storm, Snowzilla, in 6th place among D.C.’s top 10 biggest storms, passing the Blizzard of 2003, which dropped 16.7 inches. It is poised to move further up the list.

4:02 p.m. update: D.C. (Reagan National) reports heavy snow and blowing snow, winds gusting to 39 mph and visibility of 0.25 miles at 4 p.m. If this persists for another hour, true blizzard conditions will have been achieved.

3:57 p.m. update: Look at the satellite (top) and radar (bottom) presentation of this storm. It’s just massive and isn’t done with us yet.

3:38 p.m. update: “This looks to last four more hours,” says Capital Weather Gang winter weather expert on this current blast of heavy snow and strong winds.  With snowfall rates of 1-2 inches an hour, you can do the math of how much more snow is possible.  Lighter snow should follow before the storm ends in the 8-11 p.m. window.

3:30 p.m. update: Pretty incredible snow totals not just in the D.C. area but into the Northeast was well.  These are an hour old and totals have probably increased 1-2 inches since!

3:26 p.m. update: Crazy near-white-out conditions in downtown Washington as viewed from Washington Post:

3:20 p.m. update: The following locations in Virginia and Maryland report an astounding 30 inches or more of snow…

Md.: Parkville (33″), Olney (30″), Point of Rocks (31″), Jefferson – Frederick Co. (40″), Germantown (30″)

Va.: Brambleton (32″), Haymarket (31″), Ashburn (31″), Lovettsville (32″), Hillsboro (37″), Purcellville (32″), Bristow (30″), Round Hill (31″)

3:00 p.m. update: This last phase of the storm is a knockout blow. Near whiteout conditions have overtaken much of the  region. Reagan National is reporting heavy snow, winds gusting to 36 mph and just 0.13 miles of visibility at  3 p.m. Do not attempt to drive in this.

Photos:

2:53 p.m. update: When does it end?  Here’s a simulation from the HRRR model, which suggests in the 8-11 p.m. timeframe this evening.

One caution is that sometimes in these very wound-up storms, the snow lasts a little longer than the models predict.

2:40 p.m. update: The National Weather Service has posted a map of totals, and they are impressive.  Bear in mind this map is an hour old now, but you can see the consistency of totals over 20 inches north and west of the Beltway… and these are just going to go higher.

2:20 p.m. update: In areas from I-95 and east, after an extended lull (6-8 hours), the snow is picking back up in earnest and winds are howling. Visibilities are extremely limited so do not attempt to drive in this.  Across much of the region, another 3-6 inches of snow is possible and potentially more depending on how long this heavy band persists over the region.

(For our previous updates,, covering 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. today: see, Snow continues through the afternoon, winds increasing)

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