When does it snow in Washington, DC? Find out with this guide. You’ll learn the average snowfall, when it snows in D.C., and more! This guide covers the snowfall record by month in the city, as well as the time frame for each month. You’ll also learn where to find the cherry blossoms! In the Washington, D.C. metro area, it usually snows around 15 inches a year.
Winter in Washington, D.C.
While it’s true that Washington, D.C., can get chilly in the winter months, there are still plenty of things to do in the region during this season. While the average temperature doesn’t dip much below freezing, you can expect to see a lot of snow, which is easily cleaned away. You can enjoy ice skating and sledding, or go on a snowmobile tour.
If you’re planning a trip during the winter months, make sure to dress warmly. It can be chilly, but the air is usually moist and humid, making it feel much colder than it actually is. Bring plenty of warm clothes, including a scarf, hat, and gloves. And don’t forget to check out the performing arts scene in Washington, D.C., where dozens of theaters play host to plays, concerts, and theater performances. The city’s culture is vast and covers every type of genre from classics to modern and contemporary works.
The average amount of snowfall in Washington, D.C. is about 16 inches, and it typically snows a few days during December. In January, the city experiences 14 days of partly cloudy weather and 16 days of mostly cloudy weather. Fortunately, despite the rainy winter months, it is still relatively mild compared to the rest of the United States. There are no severe winter storms, but the area does get plenty of snow.
The average temperature in the D.C. area is about 67 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter. In April, the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, attracting large crowds to the National Mall. But don’t underestimate the unpredictable weather in Washington, D.C. During spring, the temperature can fall well below freezing. Pack some warm clothing and a light jacket for the evening. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid the cold months altogether.
While it might not seem like it, Washington, D.C. does get extremely cold. On average, it gets about 15 inches of snow per season. Compared to St. Louis, which gets about four inches, Washington, D.C. does have more than twice as much snow in the winter than St. Louis. If you’re a fan of snow, don’t expect to see much of it outside the holidays.
Monthly snowfall records
The District of Columbia has an interesting history of monthly snowfall records. They date back to 1884, when the National Weather Bureau and Signal Service offices in downtown Washington, DC, began recording the snowfall. In 1941, this record-keeping location was moved to National Airport, but repeated calls for its return have been made. As a result, the District sees an average of 15.4 inches of snowfall each winter. Despite the varying climate of the region, snowfall is an important part of the local economy.
The most recent monthly snowfall record in Washington DC was set in January 2016. In fact, this month was one of the snowiest ever. Dulles airport saw a record-breaking 54.9 inches of snow on January 23. If this record is set, it will break the all-time season snowfall record of 54.4 inches set in 1898-1999. This is an amazing achievement considering that the snowiest part of the winter is still ahead.
In addition to monthly records, GHCN stations also provide daily snow observations. These stations are listed in a general east-west and north-south pattern. Snowfall is organized by region so that cities in the same region can easily compare their changes over time. The snowiest decade is highlighted in red and the least in blue. These records are updated daily. And, thanks to satellite technology, the data are easy to find.
The most rainy month is May, while the driest month is October. In fact, October is the driest month, with an average maximum temperature of 5degC (or 58.9degF). The wettest month in Washington DC is July, with an average of 109mm of snowfall. In contrast, February has a low of 69mm. And, as you can see, there are five seasons with significant snowfall.
Timeframe for snowfall
Until Sunday evening, Washington, DC, has gone 709 days without more than one inch of snow. That could change this weekend, with a winter storm forecast that covers the Washington metro area for the next two nights. Forecasters say up to 10 inches of snow could fall in the D.C. area, with most of it falling Sunday evening and continuing into Monday morning. CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward says it could snow for five to ten hours in the city.
Snowfall amounts are variable, and may vary by the model. High-resolution NAM models expect a thin layer of snow between two and three inches, while American (GFS) and European (HRRR) forecasts a heavy coating of snow. Frederick, Leesburg, and Arlington may only receive a few inches before a thick layer of snow falls. Mountain areas may experience freezing rain instead of snow. The timeframe for snowfall in DC is dependent on when the storm is expected.
A low-pressure system over the mid-Atlantic is responsible for this weather pattern. A sleet-snow line will usually fall over the District. Once the snow begins to fall, a column of subfreezing air will keep it frozen. During the night of Saturday, heavy snow began to fall and didn’t stop until the mid-day of the following day. However, there is a chance of some ice accumulation as well, but it’s too early to tell.
A low pressure system formed on the Texas-Louisiana border, and a strong arctic high pressure over the eastern US provided a feed of cold air into the Mid Atlantic. On January 22, snow began to fall in the central Shenandoah Valley and moved into the DC metro area. As snow continued to fall through the night, it moved east of the low. The snow fell at a rate of one to two inches an hour until the low moved over the coast of Virginia on January 23.
The Bicentennial Winter in 1977, which had the coldest temperatures in the eastern United States since the founding of the republic, was a particularly brutal one for the Washington area. That storm was so heavy that the Knickerbocker Theater, on 18th Street and Columbia in Northwest Washington, DC, collapsed under the weight of snow. This storm is known historically as the “Knickerbocker Storm.”
Places to see cherry blossoms
The cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Washington, DC this spring. The cherry blossoms frame the city’s iconic monuments and make for a magical spring getaway. If you’re not visiting during peak bloom, there are a few other great places to see them. If you’re in the area, try catching a Circulator bus and walking along the Tidal Basin. You’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of the cherry blossoms in the country.
The US National Arboretum, located in Northeast Washington, is another hidden gem for viewing cherry trees. The US National Arboretum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll find cherry trees in many varieties, and you can practice your photography in the park. Don’t miss the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial, which are two iconic cherry blossom pictures.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, you can rent a pedal boat. The boat runs along the Tidal Basin, making it a nice way to see the cherry blossoms. But be prepared to make a reservation to avoid the crowds. There are only four of these boats for rent each year, so don’t delay! If you plan to go during cherry blossom season, make sure to visit these places early.
Tidal Basin: The most famous location for seeing the cherry blossoms in DC is the Tidal Basin, which boasts over three thousand cherry trees. The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial provide an amazing backdrop for photos. The Tidal Basin is also the location of the annual DC Cherry Blossom Festival. With its gorgeous cherry blossoms, this park is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
Hillwood Estate: Located near the National Zoo, the Hillwood Estate contains the largest collection of Russian Imperial art outside of Russia. Marjorie Merriweather Post, the cereal heiress, wanted the estate to become an art museum. The grounds are beautiful, and the park hosts events like Easter egg hunts and family days. This is a beautiful place to visit in spring. You’ll be happy you did