A look back at snowmageddon, the February 5-6, 2010 blizzard

The car says it all. When I got home after working 5 long days in a row, not knowing I had to be back at work for 8 more for “Blizzard Two,” I just thought to myself, “Really… well this should be fun. Nice knowing you, back.”

This weekend is the{ }first anniversary of “Blizzard One” in the D.C. area from February 5 to 6, 2010. If you remember, “Blizzard Two” came just three days later on February 9 to 10. Throughout the D.C. area, reports of 20-plus inches of snowfall were quite common, with 17.8 inches reported at Reagan National Airport, 25.0 inches reported at BWI Thurgood Marshall and an astounding 32.4 inches reported at Dulles Airport. This made for the greatest two-day snowfall total at Dulles, the second greatest at BWI and the fourth greatest Reagan.

Low pressure formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 5 before moving to the East Coast and intensifying as it moved north toward our region on the 6th. Here is a look at the surface map from 1 p.m. on Feb. 6 showing a 982mb low off the East Coast over the Atlantic, with a very tight pressure gradient (black lines) over the D.C. area helping create the consistent 35 m.p.h. winds with higher gusts. This is why the region was under a blizzard warning for the entire event.

Another great feature the web has to offer is NEXRAD, which shows a large composite of historic images across the country from the 159 WSR-88D Doppler radar stations operated by NOAA. Here is a great look at the storm hitting the eastern United States from 7 a.m. on the 5th to 4 p.m. on the 6th. Just hit the animate button to see the animation.

The map of the storm was just unreal to look at and something I never thought I would see in my life after living through the 1996 storm, when I measured 24 inches in my backyard in Fairfax Station, Va. Two feet of snow ended up being common in this system and widespread amounts of over 30 inches were reported from West Virginia to Northern Virginia and just to the southwest of Baltimore. Talk about utter chaos. Now, who’s going to complain about this winter?