|March 6-8, 1962 Snowstorm
Rockingham County, VA
Storm of March 5th-9th See the following address for my write-up on this storm! http://www.annandaleweather.com/links/digest/greatestsnow.htm See this address for the NWS write up.
It is known as the "Ash Wednesday Storm." It caused over $200 million (1962 dollars) in property damage and major coastal erosion from North Carolina to Long Island, NY. In New Jersey alone, it was estimated to have destroyed or greatly damaged 45,000 homes. The Red Cross recorded that the storm killed 40 people. It hit during "Spring Tide." When the sun and moon are in phase, they produce a higher than normal astronomical tide. Water reached nine feet at Norfolk (flooding begins around five feet). Houses were toppled into the ocean and boardwalks were broken and twisted. The islands of Chincoteague and Assateague, Maryland were completely underwater. Ocean City, Maryland sustained major damage especially to the south end of the island. Winds up to 70 mph built 40-foot waves at sea. Heavy snow fell in the Appalachian Mountains. Big Meadows, southeast of Luray, recorded Virginia's greatest 24-hour snowfall with 33 inches and the greatest single storm snowfall with 42 inches. Nearly two feet of snow fell from Charlottesville (21 inches) to Luray (24 inches) to Winchester (22 inches). Roads were blocked and electrical service was out for several days. Washington and Baltimore fell into the mixed precipitation zone.
The Ash Wednesday storm is noteworthy for producing devastating tidal flooding along the Atlantic Coast as well as record snows in the interior of Virginia. The extremely high tides and massive waves caused tremendous damage -worst in many of the hurricanes that have hit the region. National Airport received only 4 inches of snow with a liquid equivalent of 1.33 inches. However, close-in suburbs, such as Silver Spring, Md. and Falls Church, Virginia received 11 inches of snow. Outlying areas such as Rockville, Maryland received 19 inches of snow and Leesburg, Virginia received 20 inches of snow. Other snow totals included 15 inches at Richmond; 23 inches at Culpeper; 26 inches at Charlottesville; 32 inches at Winchester; and 35 inches at Fort Royal, Virginia and Big Meadows on the Skyline Drive top the list with 42 inches of snow. (p. 73-76 Washington Weather Book 2002 by Ambrose, Henry, Weiss)