It has become apparent this afternoon and evening, through multiple conversations with the weather observers at Reagan National Airport, that the snowfall totals submitted to the National Weather Service for that location have not been measured properly.
As of 8 p.m., 17.8 inches of snow had been recorded at National – Washington, D.C.’s official weather monitoring location. That reflects just a 0.3-inch increase in the three hours since 5 p.m. during which time light to moderate snowfall was being reported at the airport.
The National Weather Service has clear guidelines on how to measure snowfall for one, simple reason: snowstorms have a huge effect on the economy, life and property. They impact millions of people, and can result in millions of dollars lost. They also play an obvious important role in the historical record.
The way that the snowfall has been measured at National in this storm has led to snowfall totals that could be much lower than what has actually fallen, and may have unnecessarily withheld the storm from ending as one of the top-3 snowiest on record.