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Thursday, March 30, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: To live (and die) by snowfall predictions

Editor’s Notebook: To live (and die) by snowfall predictions

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The total inch count at Reagan National Airport — the region’s official measuring spot — was 6.7 inches for Monday’s “sneak-attack storm” (I like that phrase), bringing the season-to-date total there to 6.9 inches.

So that means that all those weather prognosticators and prognosticatrices who were predicting a lower-than-normal snowfall for 2021-22 are gonna have to see a very dry patch over the next two months to make their predictions come true.

The longterm winter average at the airport is 13.7 inches, so with just this one storm, we are more than halfway there. And we still have the rest of January, all of brutal February and that sometimes merciless March to live through.

(We’ve already surpassed last season’s snow total of 5.4 inches, which goes to show what one outlier storm can do to skew the data.)


The folks at the Capital Weather Gang of The Washington Post, who looooooove to use all their scientific doodads and thingamajiggies to come up with prognostications that seemingly are science-based, earlier in the season opined that Reagan National would gather 8 to 12 inches for the entire winter. Monday’s storm made that prediction seem like it is at risk of falling apart, sooner rather than later.

The curmudgeon in me points out that the same people who say they can divine a winter weather forecast are often the ones telling us what the weather-climate situation is going to be decades into the future. Of course, the advantage of looooong-term predictions that is that most of us will be horizontal by the time the day of reckoning comes around, so nobody gets held accountable.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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