Looking Back

The weather of 2010 is something that most folks living in central Virginia won't forget! Here's a recap of the wild year of weather.

Living through central Virginia's weather in 2010 is something that most folks won't soon forget -- for good reason! We saw nearly every type of weather imaginable and our weather patterns went from one extreme to the other. I've compiled a list of events that stand out the most in my mind and I'll write about my experiences with them in this blog.

The year started off with a blanket of white on the ground from the "Holiday Punch" snowstorm that dropped up to two feet of snow on the area at the end of 2009. Our first significant snow of 2010 didn't arrive until late January, when a system dropped as much as ten inches of snow across our viewing area. This storm took a surprise last-minute jog to the north, bringing higher snowfall accumulations into central Virginia. Hot on its heels, another system brought up to 20 inches of snow on parts of the area in early February. This snow was heavy and wet and caused many power outages, forcing many people out of their homes until the power could be restored. By the end of the season, we had experienced our snowiest winter on record, with records dating back to the 1800s.

The spring and early summer brought their own fury as several rounds of severe weather affected the area. The most memorable storm for me was the microburst thunderstorm that affected most of Charlottesville in late June. This storm developed quickly and ripped through the city right around rush hour that Thursday afternoon. Trees and power lines were down all over the city and structural damage occurred in some areas. We received over one hundred viewer photos of the aftermath of this storm and because of these photos, wind damage analysis was done by the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service estimated some of the peak gusts with that microburst to be around 90 miles per hour -- the same force as a minimal hurricane or tornado. Power was out in some parts of town for days, with afternoon temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

The heat is another thing that many people will not soon forget about 2010. After nearly 70 days of 90 degree heat (or hotter), this summer went down as the hottest on record -- by a long shot. Several days saw triple digit heat and with the humidity factored in, heat index values soared to sweltering levels above 110 degrees. In addition to being the hottest summer on record, it was also one of the driest. Drought concerns ran high over the summer, with only five or six inches of rain being recorded at McCormick Observatory from June through August.

The weather did calm down a bit by the fall, with a lack of any real temperature or precipitation extremes. The wild weather came roaring back on December 1, with tornado warnings which occurred overnight. Then it was back to the deep freeze for most of December, with nearly every afternoon featuring temperatures that were well below the average.

The event I will remember most from 2010 is the microburst thunderstorm in June. I'll never forget going on-air as the storm was racing through the city and knowing how much damage it was causing. Looking at the aftermath across the entire city in the days that followed is something that I'll always remember. What weather event sticks out in your mind the most from 2010? Leave your answer as a comment on this blog and I may feature it on-air on CBS19.

Happy New Year!



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