3 nor’easters, 3 strikes for DC snow fans: Wimpy winter nears end

WASHINGTON — While the third nor’easter of the month pastes parts of New England with more than a foot of snow, the D.C. area once again is left high and dry at the tail end of another wishy-washy winter with little snow to show for it.

It wasn’t the least snowy winter in Washington. That honor belongs to the infamous El Nino winter of 1997-1998 when the region only saw 0.1 inches of slush.

But, so far, with just 3.7 inches of snow falling in measly dustings at Reagan National Airport, this winter ranks as the 11th wimpiest winter on record.

The average seasonal snowfall at Reagan National Airport is 15.4 inches. Dulles Airport averages 22 inches of seasonal snow, but little more than 6 inches has fallen there so far.

With the exception of an early accumulation in December, the season’s six other snowfalls around the District amounted to less than 1 inch each. According to the National Weather Service, an average D.C. winter features snowfalls that produce an inch or more of snow at least five times.

The region expects to see at least three snowfalls of two inches or more. This winter there were none, leaving snow fans sulking.

It’s not over but snow chances are fading as the sun angle is rising. The average latest date of accumulating snow for the District has passed. By the middle of March, the odds of measurable snow decrease markedly.

Still, there could be one chance coming up: the National Weather Service’s forecasts for next week show that there is a chance of rain and snow Monday night.

“It’s been an active late winter for the East Coast. But storms have been forming too far north along the coast to give us substantial snow here. They’ve been clobbering New England,” said Chris Strong, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia. Although the cold season is in its final act, Strong cautioned that winter weather is still possible given the recent stormy weather pattern.

“Winter is definitely going out swinging. We’ll all have to keep a close eye on the weather through the rest of this month at least. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little more snow for us before it’s done. Even a more significant snow – while unlikely – isn’t entirely out of the question here,” Strong said.

Late season snow isn’t unheard of. About half an inch of snow fell across the D.C. region on April 7, 2007.

The latest measurable snow in D.C. occurred on April 28, 1898 when half an inch was recorded downtown.

Dave Dildine

A native to the Washington area, Dave Dildine is no stranger to the region's complex traffic and weather patterns. Dave joined WTOP in 2010 when the station launched its very own in-house traffic service. You can hear him "on the 8s and when it breaks" from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

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