Winter’s first snow fell on Jan. 7, the anniversary of one of Washington’s biggest snowstorms, the Blizzard of 1996. The dusting of snow – 0.4 inches at Reagan National Airport – was not a harbinger of more snow to come. Warm and snow-less weather prevailed for the rest of the meteorological winter, with only a trace of snow recorded in the District in February. The temperature rose above 70 degrees on six days and only dropped below freezing a few times, making February 2017 the warmest on record. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A fleeting glimpse of winter winter
The year’s highest winds roared across the region just before midnight on Feb. 12 when a powerful front swept through the region. Winds gusted to 65 miles per hour at Reagan National Airport and 73 miles per hour at Joint Base Andrews. More than 30,000 power outages were reported across Maryland, Virginia and D.C. The high winds toppled countless trees, including this mature hardwood on Thornapple Street in Chevy Chase, Maryland. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
High winds rip through region
The unseasonably warm weather gave rise to powerful thunderstorms at the end of February. The National Weather Service confirmed that Rare winter tornado a rare winter tornado struck Charles County, Maryland, on the final Saturday of the month. Shingles were torn, siding was peeled and a carport collapsed onto several vehicles as it tracked from Smallwood Shopping Center over the Huntington Apartments east of Waldorf. The twister was one of only three ever documented in the state of Maryland during the month of February. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Just as the page of meteorological winter turned to spring, winter weather decided to make a belated appearance. On March 14, an Spring growth stunned by late winter punch icy mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain stunned the plant growth coaxed into a early bloom by record warmth. A general 2 to 3 inches of snow and sleet glazed the early blooming cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. Approximately half of the delicate blooms were lost during the ensuing frost, according to the National Park Service. (WTOP)
Nature was not done tormenting the beloved cherries. Less than one month after a damaging freeze, a Menacing twisters in the District, Virginia tornado swept across the Potomac River, carving a path of damage across the Tidal Basin. The early afternoon whirlwind downed an elm tree near the George Mason Memorial and snapped and uprooted a couple of the ornamental cherry trees on the eastern side of the Tidal Basin near the paddle boat parking lot. Before lifting, the tornado skipped through the center of downtown Washington, damaging the roof of St. Aloysius Church on North Capitol Street. A weak tornado tracked into the District on a similar path in September 2001, the last time such a phenomenon was documented in the city. (National Park Service)
On April 21, an intense, rotating thunderstorm blew into the northern suburbs. Rotating supercell strikes Montgomery County The supercell storm produced hail stones the size of quarters and golf balls between Chevy Chase and Takoma Park and downed countless trees during the afternoon. The lone storm tracked over 70 miles across the region, from the panhandle of West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay. No injuries were reported. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
On April 21, an intense, rotating thunderstorm blew into the northern suburbs. Rotating supercell strikes Montgomery County, cont. The supercell storm produced hail stones the size of quarters and golf balls between Chevy Chase and Takoma Park and downed countless trees during the afternoon. The lone storm tracked over 70 miles across the region, from the panhandle of West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay. No injuries were reported. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The stormy spring continued with additional volleys of hail and high winds. A dramatic lightning show flickered across the skies above the region late on May 18. The storm clouds in many locations also boasted bubbly undersides known as mammatus formations. A few trees were felled by strong winds gusts in Burke, Woodbridge and Dumfries, Virginia, but the reported damage was relatively minor. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Dazzling May light show
During the summer, several episodes of monsoon-like rains drenched parts of the region. On Summer deluge July 28, 4.56 inches of rain was recorded at Reagan National Airport. Montgomery County, Maryland, saw the highest rainfall, with some areas receiving almost 7 inches; nearly half of that total fell in just 45 minutes according to the National Weather Service. Arlington County topped other Virginia counties at 5.45 inches. Several streams and river gauges reached flood stage or approached flood stage, including Rock Creek. The rain was so bad that it postponed Friday night’s Mystics game due to a leak at Verizon Center. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
In mid-August, back-to-back days with flooding rains pelted the District and the near suburbs. A severe storm moved from southern Fairfax County into Accokeek and Fort Washington on August 11, flooding numerous roads and causing an estimated $1 million in Summer deluge, cont. damage to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. The next day, relentless rainfall submerged RFK Stadium in several feet of water, leading to the cancellation of a DC United match. The wet period that began on July 28 and lasted through mid-August produced upwards of 15 inches of rain across some locales. (WTOP)
Freakishly warm, muggy weather impinged on the region in October and early November. It was the third warmest October on record the District. High temperatures frequently soared into the 80s during the first half of of the month. For three straight days, the nighttime temperature failed to fall below 72 degrees; the low of 75 degrees was the warmest low temperature on record for the month. The first two weeks of the month saw oppressive, summerlike humidity with dewpoints measured in the upper 70s at times. Dozens of runners at the Army Ten-Miler were Record-breaking fall heat treated for heat-related illness before the race was downgraded to a “recreational run” as a safety precaution. Cooler weather gradually settled into the D.C. area by the second week of November. The season’s first burst of arctic air swept over the mid-Atlantic on Veterans Day. On that Saturday, a daily record low temperature of 26 degrees was set at Reagan National Airport – the first record low established during the month of November since 1978. (WTOP/John Domen)
Following an abnormally warm and dry autumn, an Early December snow early season snowfall powdered the region on Dec. 9. Light snow fell for most of the day and by evening between 1 and 3 inches had accumulated on the ground. It was the first December snow accumulation D.C. had seen since 2013. The storm’s track and impacts were similar to the first bout with winter weather that grazed the region 11 months earlier, with the heaviest snow falling across southern Maryland, central Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula.
WASHINGTON — It was a year of seasonal delirium in the D.C. region; a warm and snow-less winter felt like fall, an icy start to spring was reminiscent of winter, a wet and mild summer felt like spring, a muggy fall felt like the dog days of summer. From whirlwinds during severe storms to whirlpools during flooding rains, the region was socked by a number of noteworthy weather events in 2017. WTOP takes a look at the top 10 weather days of the year.
Top weather events of 2017 (WTOP's Dave Dildine)
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