In my last edition of From the Editor, after an extended cold snap and two snowstorms, I wrote about how forecasters' predictions that the winter of 2009–2010 would be a doozy seemed to be spot on. Little did I know what the weather had in store for us in February. In a region known more for its hot, humid summers than its snowy winters, the two back-to-back snowstorms that hit the Washington, D.C., area in early February were, in a word, unusual. The February 5–6 nor'easter, dubbed “Snowmageddon” by the press, dumped as much as 36 inches of snow on the region, paralyzing the city and its environs and shutting down the federal government.
Just three days later, before the region even had a chance to dig out from the previous storm, another storm hit the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, dumping as much as 20 inches and prompting snow-weary D.C. residents to declare “Snoverkill.” The two storms, combined with the earlier snowfall from the so-called “Snowpocalypse” storm in December, broke seasonal snowfall records across the region: Washington, D.C.'s National Airport hit 55.0 inches (previous record: 54.4 inches in the winter of 1898–1899); Nearby Dulles Airport in Virginia reached 72.8 inches (previous record: 61.9 inches in the winter of 1995–1996).
The storms of this winter will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come, but it helps to have a record of such events to put them in the historical context. Weatherwise's annual Almanac issue is just such a record, allowing readers to look back on some of the biggest meteorological events of the year, all in one place. This issue features the 2009 Almanac, comprising analyses of the biggest snowstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, rainstorms, and other major meteorological events in the United States and abroad. As always, all of our authors from NOAA and elsewhere worked hard on the summaries, and I hope you see some of the events that affected you last year in the pages of this issue.