As I've been putting together this year's Almanac issue, I've had some time to reflect on the year that was 2010 in weather here in Washington, D.C. It was a year of extremes. Snowmaggedon, which buried the mid-Atlantic states under record-breaking snowfalls, dominated headlines in the early part of last year.
But here in D.C., what had been a spectacularly snowy winter morphed into a wonderfully warm—hot, even!—spring in which residents and tourists alike marveled at the 90-degree temperatures in April. The early warm-up turned out to be portentous: D.C. experienced one of the warmer summers we've had in years, and the good weather lasted until nearly December, making us forget, at least a little, the harsh realities of winter.
But, of course, all good things must come to an end, and by December of 2010, D.C. was back in winter's clutches and just getting started on what has turned out to be one of the coldest winters we had in years (though with considerably less snow than last year!). The local meteorologists have noted repeatedly the high number of below-average temperature days we've had since December. Sometimes it felt like winter would last forever. But now, as the days are getting longer, D.C. residents are looking eagerly for signs of thaw and spring. Temperatures are climbing up into the 40s and 50s on a regular basis now, and we even had a lovely period of 60- and 70-degree days. Spring is on the way!
But for some areas of the country, the wild weather is just getting started. In the Plains states, spring means tornado season. And hurricane season follows closely on the heels of that. It seems the cycle of severe weather is never-ending.
Weatherwise's annual Almanac issue is an excellent reminder of that never-ending cycle, covering all of the major weather events of the last year and placing them in a historical context. We try to cover the gamut of weather, from hurricanes, to tornadoes, to big snow events…concentrating on what happens to us here in the United States but also devoting an article to weather abroad from the past year. We have the same articles as in previous years, but as always, the weather we're covering is different. It makes for an exciting reminder of the year that was.
One difference you might notice is the lack of a Snow Report by David Robinson in this year's Almanac issue. Astute readers will have noticed that we actually ran the Snow Report back in January/February to take advantage of the winter season and provide a bit more of a timely piece. Please feel free to check out his excellent summary.
And, as always, enjoy the hard work of our Almanac issue authors. They start preparing their notes for each article more than a year ahead of time, and their diligence and enthusiasm for providing these summaries to you, our readers, shines through in every page.