How rare are March snows?

WASHINGTON — Spring is three days away but winter continues to storm Washington. The region has once again been bombarded by another sizable, late- season snowstorm.

The “St. Patrick’s Day Storm” has produced a broad swath of 5 to 10 inches of snow across the region. Although a March snowstorm of this magnitude is nothing to scoff at, the occurrence of snow this late in the season is not uncommon.

Snow totals have ranged from 3 1/2 inches in parts of Southern Maryland to 10 1/2 inches in the Hillandale area of Montgomery County.

The National Weather Service says that an average Washington winter features one to two days with measurable March snow.

This year, the metro area received 4 inches to 6 inches of snow on March 3 and 4.

Normally, chances for significant snow in the region quickly drop off after the Ides of March. However, 2- to 4 inches of snow fell last year on March 25, 2013. Two to 5 inches also fell during a storm earlier that same month.

Other recent late-season snows include a 6- to 10-inch snowstorm on March 1, 2009 and a few bouts with snow in March 2007. A storm dropped about 3 inches around D.C. on March 7, 2007 and flakes fell on several occasions later that month into April.

Particularly big storms, such as the 1993 Superstorm, are more of a rarity. The immediate metro area received anywhere from 8 inches to 16 inches of wind-driven snow on March 13, 1993 along with bone-chilling temperatures.

A surprise snowstorm on March 9, 1999 paralyzed the area under 8 inches to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow.

Since 1885, D.C. has seen 82 March months that included measurable snow.

What is unusual about this month is the amount of snow that is piling up. This year’s “St. Patrick’s Day Storm” is remarkable not for its occurrence in mid-March but because it punctuates what has already been a relentlessly snowy winter.

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