Guest Blogger: International Business Meteorologist, Krissy Klinger I DESPISE Winters like these! Perpetually mild, early Spring-type weather and about enough snow so far this season to make a single sno-cone drives weather geeks like me crazy. But alas, Presidents' Day weekend holds at least some promise for those of us along the East Coast yearning for snow. A cacophonous media buzz is already growing around the storm, but this wouldn't be the first time, and certainly won't be the last time, that a snowstorm captures news headlines during Presidents' Day weekend. Let's take a moment to reflect on some of the most memorable Presidents' Day storms for the Eastern U.S. and see if our reflection can conjure up some "good vibes" for this weekend's storm.
  • Presidents' Day Snowstorm I (17-19 February 1979): This storm packed quite a punch in the Mid-Atlantic states, including over a foot and a half of snow in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, and anywhere from 6-14'' of snow in the Philadelphia and New York City areas. At the time, the storm was considered the worst in 57 years to hit D.C. with snow falling at rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour and frigid temperatures in the single digits and teens. The storm was a bit surprising to forecasters as computer models at the time incorrectly handled the development of the storm. Forecasts called for a moderate snow event with 4-8'' accumulations, but turned out to be one of the most memorable storms in history for the Mid-Atlantic.

Snowfall Totals from Presidents' Day Storm of 1979. Source NOAA
  • Presidents' Day Snowstorm II (15-17 February 2003): Forecasters had a better handle on this storm which was a good thing as this ranks #4 on the list of top 45 high-impact snowstorms that have affected the Northeast urban corridor. Considerably larger and more disruptive than the 1979 storm, the 2003 system dumped a record 27.5'' in Boston and a staggering 28.2'' in Baltimore. Philadelphia and New York City also got slammed with 19'' and 19.5'' of snow respectively. An archived radar loop from the 17th shows just how massive this storm was, bringing severe weather to the Southeast and a wintry mess to the Mid-Atlantic and points northward. People were digging out for days with many school districts cancelling classes for the entire week and even the major airports shut their doors for at least a day. Needless to say, this storm was very disruptive for millions of people.

Snowfall Totals from Presidents' Day Storm of 2003. Source NOAA what have we got going for us this weekend? Well, we certainly don't have one of the ingredients that was essential to both the 1979 and 2003 storm and that's cold, Arctic air. Also, this storm will not be anywhere near as monstrous as the 2003 storm, in fact, precipitation may not even reach the Mason-Dixon line before the storm charges out to sea.

To keep a long meteorological story short, I'd be hard-pressed to find many similarities between this weekend's storm and the monsters of 79' and 03', but memories of historic Presidents' Day weekend snowstorms of past remind me that there's always next year.