weather

Filed Under:DC

Washington's Record Low

Snow Removal in Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s. (Photo source: Library of Congress)It’s cold outside – by D.C. standards, REALLY cold. And, if you believe the area weather-folk, it’s going to be even colder overnight. Temperatures may reach zero and possibly a little bit below. (Thanks, polar vortex.)

But, even if your nose and extremities might suggest otherwise, we are still a fair ways off from the all-time record low temperature in Washington. That distinction goes to February 11, 1899. Around 7am that morning, the Weather Bureau at 24th and M St., NW recorded its lowest reading ever, a frigid 15 degrees below zero.

Filed Under:DC

President Grant's Wintry Inaugural Disaster

The great inauguration ball for Ulysses S. Grant, March 4, 1873, in the temporary building in Judiciary Square, from a sketch by Jas. E. Taylor. (Photo: Library of Congress)March 4th, 1873 — Ulysses S. Grant’s second inauguration — still stands as the coldest March day on record for Washington, and by all accounts it was an unmitigated wintry disaster.

Filed Under:DC

Apparently Predicting D.C. Weather Has Always Been a Fickle Business

Cartoon from Washington Evening Star, January 17, 1917. (Source: Washingtoniana, D.C. Public Library)Weren't we supposed to get snow today? At one point the word was that D.C. might get five or six inches... then it was down to an inch or two... then a dusting... now, nothing. It's a major disappointment for those of us who like the white fluffy stuff.

Well, it seems predicting the weather here has always been a little bit of a crapshoot. Check out this cartoon that ran on the front page of the Washington Evening Star newspaper exactly 100 years ago today, January 17, 1913.

A bunch of stocking-cap clad kids are ready to go sledding in Washington but, like today... NO SNOW, just clouds. I wonder if their grassroots "We Demand A New Weather Man" campaign had any impact?

Kudos to the folks at the D.C. Public Library's Washingtoniana division for pulling this gem out of the archives. If you haven't yet, go ahead and like them on Facebook. They are posting fun stuff like this all the time.

Filed Under:DC

Hugh Bennett and the Perfect Storm

A dust storm from the midwest blew into Washington in 1935, darkening the skies over the Lincoln Memorial. (Source: USDA website) Think the impacts of the Dust Bowl were only felt in the Great Plains? Think again. In the spring of 1935, a dust storm nearly blocked out the sun above Washington, alarming local citizens and spurring Congress to take action on soil erosion policy.

Filed Under:DC, Maryland, Virginia

The Black Cone of Death

A tornado like this one ripped through the D.C. area on November 17, 1927. (Source: Library of Congress)On November 17, 1927 one of the fiercest storms our area has ever seen touched down near Old Town Alexandria. With winds estimated at 125 mph, it ripped through Alexandria, D.C. and Prince Georges County within minutes, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

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