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Best Mid-Atlantic winter storm of the last 40 years


PrinceFrederickWx
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Best Mid-Atlantic winter storm of the last 40 years  

248 members have voted

  1. 1. Best Mid-Atlantic winter storm of the last 40 years

    • February 18-19, 1979 - "PDI"
    • February 11, 1983
    • March 13-14, 1993 - "Superstorm of '93"
    • January 7-9, 1996 - "Blizzard of '96"
    • January 25, 2000
    • February 15-17, 2003 - "PDII"
    • December 18-19, 2009 - "Snowpocalypse"
    • February 5-6, 2010 - "Snowmageddon, part 1"
    • February 9-10, 2010 - "Snowmageddon, part 2"
    • January 22-23, 2016 - "Blizzard of 2016"


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I  voted for Feb. 5 2010,  but it was a tough decision between that and Feb. 2003.  I wasn't around for Jan 1996, so ignored that.

 

In Feb 2003, I was living in Baltimore and remember how it came as sort of a surprise. The evening news on that Friday was predicting like 8 to 12 inches -- a sizable storm, but  nothing to panic over.  And then on that Saturday,  it sort of seemed like the  storm could be a bust.  What little fell that morning was quickly cleaned off the streets. And i recall hearing news reports that night that the snow had hit northern Virginia. So I went to bed,  but woke up that  Sunday morning, like 5 a.m., and there was already like 3 inches on  the ground in downtown Baltimore. And  then thunder snow -- very loud .   And as the day progressed,  it just dumped snow for hours.  By evening, the  drifts in city streets were waist high. But  then about  10 p.m., it turned to sleet.  That  changeover was the only thing that kept accumulations in the city closer  to  2 feet instead of 3 feet or more.  By Monday morning, however, there was another quick burst of heavy snow that added an inch or two  o totals.  

 

And the streets in Baltimore were a mess for days.The snow and sleet compacted into thick hardened mounds that were nearly impossible to clear off. And the mayor at the time, maybe O'Malley??, had to request the National Guard. That was the only time I remember seeing National Guard Humvees deployed for a real  emergency.

 

Still, its hard to separate Feb. 5 2010 from what happened 4 days later, so I voted for that.  Plus, the build-up and model-watching for that storm gave you the true experience of preparing for a major storm.

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I can't choose between 1/96 and 2/5-6/10. I experienced both in the same house in Potomac, MD. 

1/96: more road accumulation-- there was no way to drive out of the neighborhood until the plows came, whereas in 2/10, we were able to use the tire tracks from early in the storm to form a driving trail two days after the storm before the plows came; colder; higher drifts 

2/10: more snow (26.5" vs. 24"); higher overall impact because we lost power for 30 hours (and unlike after Isabel, we couldn't drive to some place with power during the outage); higher snowfall rates 

 

The winds were equal in both (gusts to around 40 mph during the fiercest part). 

 

good point regarding road accumulation.  i felt like with 96 and 03 it was a legit snowed in situation.  instant accumulation on all surfaces during both storms.  i gotta give the edge to those over 10 even with the sleet because of just how cold those first two were.  doesn't diminish feb '10, which was still a great storm here.  

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Oops. Wrong ice storm. The poll had the sleet fest of February not the January one I was remebering.

 

94 was silly cold.  i remember the 4-6" of pure sleet.  for about 2 minutes it changed to heavy snow toward the beginning in the street lights and then i turned away, came back minutes later and it was back to sleet and pretty much stayed that way.  biggest sleet storm i'd seen though i was in ny in '07 and remember a pretty good one there, but it wasn't like the one in '94.

 

the freezing rain event that season was crazy.  i remember there was definitely about an inch of ice.  one of the few true ice storms i can recall here.

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Tale of the Tape, Blizzard 1996 vs 2/5/10, 

 

Location 

 

1996 - Silver Spring at DC Line - 300', 

2010 - Mt. Pleasant DC (4 miles due south of 1996 location) - 200'

 

Totals

 

1996 - 21"

2010 - 22"

 

Temperature at onset/min temp during storm

 

1996 - 20/15

2010 - 34/24

 

Duration

 

1996 - 36 hours

2010 - 30 hours

 

Max Sustained/Gust

 

1996 - 29/37

2010 - 25/35

 

Sleet?

 

1996 - Yes

2010 - No

 

Minimum Viz

 

1996 - 0.1 mi

2010 - 0.1 mi

 

For me, I give 1996 a slight edge.  Much colder storm.  Stuck to Beltway immediately (I was on it at 11pm).  Drier snow.  More Drifting. And in terms of intangibles, the 3-4" I got the next day made digging out futile.  

 

yea i was driving around 11pm as well when the 96 blizzard first started.  it was steady and sticking everywhere in silver spring.

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I don't recall 2/5/10 being a very windy storm around here.   The windy one here was 2/9-10 which made me think about Jan 96 but not quite as intense or long lived wind... Jan 96 wind out here was off the hook from Sunday evening into Monday noonish.  Jan 96 was rather windy the whole time, 36 hours, but it was the Sunday overnight when the biggest drifts were built and exposed places were scoured down to bare ground like around the corners of my house.  At least a foot of snow fell during that Sunday night/Mon. morning period alone.  Total was around 30".

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I don't recall 2/5/10 being a very windy storm around here.   The windy one here was 2/9-10 which made me think about Jan 96 but not quite as intense or long lived wind... Jan 96 wind out here was off the hook from Sunday evening into Monday noonish.  Jan 96 was rather windy the whole time, 36 hours, but it was the Sunday overnight when the biggest drifts were built and exposed places were scoured down to bare ground like around the corners of my house.  At least a foot of snow fell during that Sunday night/Mon. morning period alone.  Total was around 30".

2/5/10 overall was not very windy but there was about an 8 hour period from midnight to 8am where it picked upped pretty good. Some of my front lawn was bare by early Saturday morning.

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(snip)

 

I actually think the 1994 ice storm deserves more votes (counting the extreme cold that followed)  because of the way things got frozen in place like our garbage cans (best flash freeze /ice storm I ever experienced),and the fact that DC basically shut down because the boats could not deliver coal or whatever to the power plants. 

I have some unfond memories of how long it took to break into my car in 1994.  A selling point for remote car starters.

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Some, maybe. But, I and some others who have experienced both storms and posted in the thread already don't think '96 is a slam-dunk winner over 2/10. It depends, as always, on location and your priorities in a storm. 

 

it's not a slam dunk, but i would probably take that storm again over 2/10 due to the temps, wind, and how large of an area it snowed.  the combination of both feb storms would probably give the edge to 2010 though.

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it's not a slam dunk, but i would probably take that storm again over 2/10 due to the temps, wind, and how large of an area it snowed. the combination of both feb storms would probably give the edge to 2010 though.

What's interesting about wind, though, is that the two storms were very comparable throughout the DC area--- 2/5/10 was actually windier at DCA during the height of the snow than 1/96.

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What's interesting about wind, though, is that the two storms were very comparable throughout the DC area--- 2/5/10 was actually windier at DCA during the height of the snow than 1/96.

 

yea the wind wasn't it for me, though i do remember more drifting at the end.  it's the temps that won me over.  it was just colder and pure powder.  i also feel like it looked more epic afterwards than 2/10 did (just counting the first one).  96 and 03 made cars disappear.

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at the end of the day, it's hard to compare 96, 03, and 10.  they were the big dogs of the last 30 years.  from what i hear, 83 was up there too.  having to choose the order is tough, but based off of where i was at the time i would go 96, 03, and 10 in a close finish.

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I will say that Feb 79 had the heaviest snow rates I have ever witnessed for a period of time.  That time being roughly a 3 hour window between 7-10 am Monday morning.  I was in Baltimore for this one.   That intense snowfall, about 10 inches in that 3 hour span was combined with very gusty raucous winds.   But once that heavy band dissapated, the sun quickly came out and winds dropped to calm.    

 

Blizz of 83 - In Baltimore will always hold a special place in my heart.   It had an intense period or two of snow too with CG lightning/thunder for about an hour in the early afternoon.   Winds were stiff and gusty at times for most of the storm too.   It was the single deepest snowfall I had ever witnessed up to that point in time, about 22 inches IMBY, only to be blown out of the water by Jan 96 (in Westminster).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ash Wednesday Storm 1962.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday_Storm_of_1962

 

 

Homes, hotels, motels, and resort businesses were destroyed along North Carolina's Outer Banks from Cape HatterasNags Head, and Kill Devil Hills north to Virginia Beach, where the waves broke the concrete boardwalk and sea wall. Even some cities further inland such as Norfolk and Hampton in Hampton Roads were inundated with punishing winds and high water. Construction work underway on the new Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was dealt a severe blow, and a major piece of custom-built construction equipment called "The Big D" was destroyed.

At the Town of Chincoteague on Virginia's Eastern Shore near the border with Maryland, six feet (2 m) of water covered parts of Main Street, and most of the island was flooded to various depths. On adjacent Assateague Island, the Chincoteague Fire Company lost a portion of its herd of wild Chincoteague Ponies. Misty, the local pony made famous by Marguerite Henry's award-winning children's book Misty of Chincoteague and the 1961 movie Misty, survived by being brought inside a house. Also along the Delmarva Peninsula, at Wallops Island, a million dollars in damage was done to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

Further north, 60 mph (96 km/h) winds and 7.6 m (25 ft) waves struck Ocean City, Maryland. Waves more than 12 m (40 ft) high occurred at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware destroying the boardwalk and beach front homes. Sand dunes were flattened along the entire length of Delaware’s ocean coastline. In New Jersey, the storm ripped away part of the Steel Pier in Atlantic CityAvalon, New Jersey lost 6 blocks. Long Beach Island was cut through in several places. The decommissioned destroyer Monssen was washed ashore near Holgate. In New Jersey alone, an estimated 45,000 homes were destroyed or greatly damaged. In New York, on Long Island, communities such as Fire Island were decimated; 100 homes there were destroyed. Wave heights reached 12 m (40 ft) by the shore of New York City. Extensive damage to trees and structures and beach erosion was also reported along the southern New England coast, particularly along coastal Rhode Island, and in New London and Fairfield Counties in Connecticut, although less severe beach erosion was reported in MassachusettsNew Hampshire, and Maine.[1]

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