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Category 1 = A Nuisance — untreated roads are slick and school delays are possible
Category 2 = Disruptive — roads are slick, school closings and delays are likely, government operations adjusted, some flight delays
Category 3 = Significant storm — roads have ice or snow buildup, some are impassible, school closings likely, government operations adjusted, flights are delayed and some are canceled
Category 4 = Major storm — roads impassible or very hazardous, school closings are certain, the government is closed or impacted, significant airport and transit delays
Category 5 = Crippling/Historic Storm — travel difficult to impossible for days, schools closed for days, government shutdown for at least a day, airports and mass transit closed
Washington, D.C. seems to have a challenging time dealing with snow — particularly because the city is often located on the “rain/snow” line of winter weather, making it hard to predict and susceptible to a “winter mix” of snow, sleet, and icy rain. As Jason Samenow, who came up with the idea and the scale explains, when it comes to a winter storm, its severity depends on a number of factors such as “how cold it is before, during and after the storm, how long the storm lasts, and how hard the precipitation falls” (and I would add if there are multiple types — the rain-snow combo is particularly tough).
And for those of you reading this in the DC region, just an FYI, The Weather Gang predicted that today’s winter storm would be a Category 2-3, depending on where you are in the area, with more disruption the farther north and west of the city you are. The Gang intends to also evaluate the storms after the fact to see how they and the scale did.
Why This Matters: With climate change, extreme weather is going to get more difficult to predict — and snowstorms may not “act” the way they have in the past. So rating a winter storm by its impact rather than the traditional measures of snowfall totals is a good idea, in our view. Maybe this impact scale should be used in other areas of the country. We need more and better tools like this one to deal with the complexity of storms in the future. This sounds like a smart adaptation to us.
by Miro Korenha, co-founder/publisher of Our Daily Planet Like many West Coast transplants to the East, I’ve spent the past decade feeling torn between the city where my professional life is rooted and my home state of California where my family lives. This summer seemed like an opportunity to have the best of both worlds: […]
Yesterday at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to achieve “carbon neutrality before 2060” with the aim of hitting peak emissions before 2030. China had choice words for the Trump administration and its complete lack of international leadership on climate change action. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang […]
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