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Blizzard conditions slammed Washington, D.C., in January 2016 as Winter Storm Jonas brought more than 2 feet of snow to the region in one of the largest winter storms in the area’s history.
The storm, dubbed “Snowzilla” by giddy, hyper meterologists, walloped the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, closing schools for more than a week and leaving remnants that could still be seen when the next snowfall hit a month later. It was listed as the fourth largest storm at Reagan National Airport since the 1880s.
As the storm moved into the area, longtime friend Joe Frey and I embarked on a trip into the District of Columbia with plans to take pictures. The conditions rapidly deteriorated, however, and all of these photos were taken from inside the truck with the windows rolled down.
What’s memorable about this storm, which brought as much with it in one push as the back-to-back “Snowmageddon” that dropped 30 inches on the area within a six-week period in 2009-10, were the people who were walking around a mostly deserted D.C. At times, it felt like an episode of the “Walking Dead.”
Ian Livingston, who writes for the indispensible Capital Weather Gang on washingtonpost.com, noted that the climate for big storms appears to be changing, not just in the area but across the nation.
Over the past 130 years, Livingston says Washington has typically gone more than a decade without a single snowstorm dumping 12 inches on the area. Between 1900 and 1922 and 1936 and 1958, no storms of 12 inches or more were reported.
Since 1996, however, the propensity for huge snowfalls has increased. At least five such storms have been reported over the past 20 years. Denver has had two of its top 20 snowstorms on record since 2000, while New York has had six of its top 15 snowfalls in the past 15 years.