Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snowzilla - The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016, or Snowzilla as it was dubbed by the Capital Weather Gang, brought nearly two feet of snow to our neighborhood.  One of the biggest snowfalls on record for DC, technically it was a bigger single snowfall than Snowmegeddon back in 2010, but that was followed quickly by a second storm with another foot of snow that gave us a greater amount on the ground.  However you count it, Snowzilla was a blast.  I started digging out the back with a plan to create a big igloo/snow-fort in the back yard, but Owen sliding down the steps gave me a better idea.  With a big pile of snow on the grass, linked to the snow covering the steps, and snow piled up down by the fence, we created an epic mini sledding run in our own back yard.  This was great of course, since we were able to avoid the trek and the crowds at Gallaudete, and the even bigger mess at the Capitol.

The timing of the storm was fortuitous.  The first rumors of a massive storm came the weekend before it hit, while we were up in Pittsburgh.  With all the models agreeing, and plenty of time to prepare for the blizzard, the area was surprised by a dusting of snow on Wednesday night (while we were at swim lessons) completely snarled the evening commute.  Between the epic forecast and the lesson from the surprise dusting, everything was closed well in advance of the blizzards start on Friday afternoon.  Elaine and I had lunch reservations on Friday at The Source, right around the time the snow was supposed to start, and Grandpa kindly watched the kids while we ventured out into the erie calm before the storm for a delicious lunch.  By the time we got home, the snow was really beginning to come down, and it wouldn't stop for another day and a half.  22.5" measured on Owen's deck (only 17" for the official count at National though, the 4th largest storm on record) fell by the time it was all over. It took a while to dig out (Dad and I did plenty of shoveling of the sidewalk and the alley), DCPS and the government was closed Monday and Tuesday, but some of the schools in the suburbs were closed all week and even into the next.  All told, I thought the city did a fine job of dealing with colossal amount of snow given the available resources.

With only six years between two of the biggest blizzards on record for DC, an interesting theory is that climate change, while shortening the snow season for DC and lowering the average amount of snow, actually contributes to more frequent mega blizzards when it is cold enough by warming the water in the ocean and providing more moisture and energy into the blizzard.  With any luck, we'll get another big blizzard before too long for all of us snow lovers :-)

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