National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration (NOAA) Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco has released the following statement:
An epic snowstorm has the mid-Atlantic region in its cross hairs. At this time, personal safety must be first and foremost. National Weather Service forecasters have been tracking this storm for the past week and now that the storm is here it must be taken very seriously.
Issued by The National Weather Service
12:34 pm EST, Fri., Feb. 5, 2010
... RECORD SNOWFALL FORECAST IN THE BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON DC REGION...
... EXTREMELY DANGEROUS WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS DEVELOPING TONIGHT...
GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 30 MPH WITH VISIBILITIES FREQUENTLY FALLING BELOW ONE-QUARTER MILE DUE TO HEAVY SNOW WILL DEVELOP TONIGHT TO PRODUCE NEAR-BLIZZARD AND EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. TRAVEL IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED TONIGHT AND WILL BE VERY DANGEROUS.
LOOKING BACK AT THE BIGGEST STORM OF RECORD FOR WASHINGTON DC... THE JANUARY 1922 KNICKERBOCKER STORM... 28.0 INCHES OF SNOW WAS PRODUCED FROM 3.02 INCHES OF LIQUID WATER. CURRENT FORECASTS FOR THIS EVENT HAVE TOTAL LIQUID FALLING FROM THIS STORM APPROACHING 3 INCHES... WHICH ACCORDINGLY WOULD CREATE A SNOWFALL THAT WILL RIVAL THE KNICKERBOCKER STORM TOTAL. GENERALLY ACROSS THE REGION... 20 TO 30 INCHES OF SNOW WILL FALL BY SATURDAY EVENING.
BALTIMORES RECORD OF 26.8 INCHES FROM THE PRESIDENTS DAY FEBRUARY 2003 STORM WILL ALSO BE THREATENED.
A FEW PRECAUTIONARY AND PREPAREDNESS ITEMS TO NOTE:
1. FOLLOW MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS WHEN OPERATING A GENERATOR OR AXILLARY HEATER. ENSURE PORTABLE GENERATORS ARE ADEQUATELY VENTILATED.
2. TRAVEL CONDITIONS TONIGHT ACROSS THE REGION WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING. HELP YOUR LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT FIRST RESPONDERS AND TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES BY STAYING OFF ROADS LATER THIS EVENING AND TONIGHT.
3. FOLLOW LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT EMERGENCY DECLARATION ORDERS. IF YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY... DO NOT TRAVEL ALONE. LET SOMEONE KNOW YOUR TIMETABLE AND YOUR PRIMARY AND ALTERNATE ROUTES. CARRY WITH YOU A WINTER STORM SURVIVAL KIT WHICH INCLUDES A MOBILE PHONE... BLANKETS... FLASHLIGHT WITH EXTRA BATTERIES... HIGH CALORIE NON-PERISHABLE FOOD AND WATER... AND A SHOVEL.
4. IF YOU GET STRANDED IN YOUR VEHICLE... DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR TO TRY TO WALK FOR ASSISTANCE... YOU CAN QUICKLY BECOME DISORIENTED IN WIND DRIVEN SNOW AND COLD. THIS STORM WILL SUBSIDE SATURDAY AFTERNOON... SO WAIT IN YOUR CAR FOR EMERGENCY HELP TO ARRIVE. PERIODICALLY RUN YOUR ENGINE FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES EACH HOUR FOR HEAT. ENSURE YOUR EXHAUST PIPE IS CLEARED OF SNOW AND ICE. CRACK YOUR WINDOWS TO AVOID CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING. TIE A COLORED CLOTH TO YOUR CARS ANTENNA TO BE VISIBLE TO RESCUERS. FROM TIME-TO-TIME... MOVE YOUR ARMS... LEGS... FINGERS... AND TOES TO KEEP BLOOD CIRCULATING.
5. AVOID OVEREXERTION WHEN SHOVELING SNOW. BREAK THE SHOVELING DOWN INTO SMALLER JOBS AND TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS.
6. IN CASE OF POWER SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS... HAVE AVAILABLE FLASH LIGHTS WITH EXTRA BATTERIES... EXTRA FOOD AND WATER... EXTRA MEDICINES.
7. ENSURE ANY PETS AND FARM ANIMALS HAVE PLENTY OF WATER... FOOD... AND SHELTER.
FINALLY... THE KEY TO GETTING THROUGH THIS AND OTHER PERIODS OF HAZARDOUS WINTER WEATHER IS WITH ADVANCE PLANNING AND BEING AWARE OF CURRENT CONDITIONS. THIS STORM WILL BE WINDING DOWN EARLY SATURDAY EVENING... SO DO YOUR PART AND LET YOUR LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS RESTORE ROADWAYS TO NORMAL CONDITIONS BY STAYING AT HOME.
5:50 p.m.: The blizzard warning, earlier in effect for only the far eastern suburbs, has been extended west through the District.
Snowmageddon is here and it's just warming up. So far, the snow has been light to moderate as temperatures settle to and below freezing. Accumulations through now are on the order of a dusting to around 1-2" and road surfaces are begining to be affected as temperatures cool and the sun sets. The real deal arrives this evening and overnight, when snow could temporarily fall up to 2" or 3" per hour, rivaling the most intense rates this region ever witnesses. About as thrilling of a National Weatherperson Day as one could put together, right?
Through tonight: Get ready (if you stay up) for some of the heaviest -- if not the heaviest -- snowfall rates you ever see around here. It will come down in buckets, perhaps with some thunder, most of the night after things intensify markedly by 7 p.m. or so. The heaviest focus is likely from around 10 p.m. through sunrise. While most locations should pick up at least 1 foot overnight alone, don't be surprised if some spots pick up a good bit more. Lows drop to the mid-and-upper 20s as northeast winds blow around 20 mph, with higher gusts, leading to near-blizzard conditions.
Tomorrow (Saturday): If the huge amount of snow on the ground in the morning is not enough, no worries, because snow continues through much of the day Saturday. Snow will be most intense early but we should see a lighter and fluffier snow with some moderate to heavy periods lasting into the early evening. Additional accumulations of 4-8"+ are possible before it winds down. Highs rise to the upper 20s to around 30. Winds remain gusty from the northeast causnig blowing and drifting of snow.