DC snow hole: Fact or fiction, there’s no snow to show

As 2023 comes to a close, there still hasn’t been a chance for local residents to use their snow skis or snow shoes, much less snow blowers — and some blame it on the reputed “D.C. snow hole.”

Snow lovers have long said the D.C. area gets less snow than nearby areas, even those to the south of the nation’s capital.

“We only receive on average around 13 inches of snow,” said 7 News First Alert Meteorologist Steve Rudin. “Last season we didn’t have anything at all, and the year before that was also very low.”

Rudin said there are a few reasons that less snow gathers downtown.

“We have a lot of concrete, we have a lot of buildings, and we have a lot of traffic. We have the Tidal Basin, the Potomac River, and the Anacostia — all that can come into play when we see snowfall amounts,” he said.

Rudin said harsh weather often missed the downtown D.C. area during summer storms — he calls it “the D.C. split.”

“A lot of the storms will roll in from the west and then all of a sudden, they’ll fizzle out,” said Rudin. “Or, they’ll split to the north and split to the south and then miss inside the Beltway.”

However, Rudin’s not convinced that the suburbs surrounding D.C. get less snow than other jurisdictions.

“Our standards are very low at this point. When we have El Nino years, on average it turns out to be a little bit snowier. This is an El Nino year, compared to La Nina,” said Rudin.

Rudin said, “moving into the month of February, our chances are going to increase in terms of seeing at least the potential for accumulating snow.”

While Rudin expects to see some snow this winter, “Is it going to be a blockbuster kind of snowstorm? I don’t know. No one can tell, but we will know sooner, rather than later.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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