Blog: Wild Winter Weather | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Blog: Wild Winter Weather

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Winter of 2010 sure brought some wild weather! Did you experience any unusual weather this winter? If so, we'd love to hear from you.

One reader from the Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, area reported 12.5 inches of snow on February 11!  In Washington, D.C., the city buckled under an early February blizzard dubbed Snowmageddon; according to one report, the area received five times more snow than balmy southern Ontario. As of this writing, Washington's National airport has received record snowfalls of 56 inches so far, and the inland Dulles airport has received 73 inches.

My brother and his fiance, who live in D.C., shared the photos below.

The “Before” and “After” Snowmageddon in Washington, D.C. (Feb 6, 2010)

"Before" Snowmageddon

They reported, “The entire city turned into playground of people building igloos, kids sledding with their parents, and young adults daring their buddies to sled into the river. As you can see, it brought out the kid in everyone.”


In New Hampshire, the weather's actually been relatively warm after a brutal start. Great snow and cross-country skiing weather! Overall, I'm just thankful that we did not experience another ice storm. (See my blog of a first-person account.)

Wondering why the weather was so wild? Look to a couple major climate trends:

  • First, the current El Niño warming the ocean waters finally grew big enough to add moisture to the air above. This fueled blizzards and storms in many areas. Certainly, the Vancouver Olympics were experiencing what it was like for the Pacific to be in the middle of a warm, tropical, El Niño. For them, the entire month of January 2010 may prove to be the warmest January on record.
  • Second, some of the winter snow in the mid-Altantic can also be attributed to what is called a “negative” Arctic Oscillation (AO). In a nutshell, this means that weak polar winds allowed cold air to escape far south.

Unusual weather sometimes creates unusual experiences in our daily lives. Sometimes it can even change history. (See our story about seven historic weather events that may have altered the course of American history!)

If you had any “first time” weather moments or have a good weather story to share, please comment below!


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