Anniversary of the 1996 blizzard

Posted at 7:39 PM, Jan 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-06 19:39:32-05

The period of January 6, 7 & 8 marks the anniversary of the blizzard of 1996.  Heavy snow fell during this stretch along with strong winds.  By definition, a blizzard is when sustained winds average 35 m.p.h. or higher *and* visibility is reduced to 1/4 mile or less for 3 consecutive hours.

Here is a map, courtesy of the National Weather Service in Wakefield, of snow totals for the storm.  The majority of our viewing area picked up one to two feet of snow, but isolated areas well northwest of Richmond had some three-foot totals.  Measuring the snow for this storm was quite difficult due to the high winds and significant blowing and drifting snow.

blizzard 1996

This major storm was followed by another snow event less than a week later which produced over a half-foot of snow in some areas.  The remainder of the month had many days above freezing and a few storms that caused significant rainfall.  The rain, combined with the melting snow, caused flooding on many Virginia rivers.