Saturday, March 19, 2016

Still Life with Robin: A Little Snow + a High & a Low

by Peggy Robin

Since receiving the City’s notice Snow Alert, which was posted on the listserv on Friday (see, I’m prepared for a few spring flurries. I would call them last-gasp-of-winter flurries, but if the snow accumulates any time after midnight, then it’s here on March 20, when it’s officially spring. That got me wondering whether it’s ever snowed appreciably in DC in the springtime. I was pretty sure I remembered a few dustings as late as mid-April, but I couldn’t trust my memory on this….and in the Age of Google, I never need to.

Here’s what I found:

April 1, 1924: This April Fool’s Day Storm produced the latest recorded major snowfall (4 or more inches). Baltimore recorded over 9 inches of snow and Washington received 5 inches. The latest snow ever recorded at Baltimore was a trace on May 9, 1923. In Washington, the latest snow was seen on May 10, 1906, when a trace fell. (  (And no, I wasn’t around for any of these events.)

What about the flip-side of the snowfall? The earliest recorded snow on record was just as easy to look up:

The earliest measurable snow on record was a small event on October 9-10, 1979 (0.3”). October also claims the earliest inch, with one event in 1940.

It’s going down to 35 degrees tonight, and if we’re lucky, it may warm up to a high of 44°F during the day on Sunday….but while we’re looking up weather records, take a look at the all-time highs and lows for March 20 in DC:

Temperature History - Mar 20  Historical Weather Data (
                3/20/16                Normal                 Record
High       44°                          57°                     83° (1945)           
Low        35°                          39°                     12° (1885)

Fortunately, our snow dusting won’t hurt the cherry blossoms, still on track to hit peak bloom next weekend. And if you just wait a few days, the Capital Weather Gang assures us it will be 73°F.

Happy Spring!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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