A Snowy Start to Spring

A+Snowy+Start+to+Spring

By Anya Sczerzenie

The days are getting longer, buds are bursting on the trees, birds are singing, and… a snowstorm is coming? That was what Leesburg experienced when Winter Storm Stella rolled through on March 13-14, 2017, depositing several inches of ice-crusted snow and cancelling school for the first and only time this year. LCPS students enjoyed two snow days on the 14th and 15th of March and a 2-hour delay on the 16th. It was “six more weeks of winter” when there never really was a winter in the first place.

After months of fluctuating temperatures, little snow, and not a single snow day, the students of Loudoun County were yearning to get that coveted call from Wayde Byard. People were looking at everything from Jay’s Wintry Mix predictions on Facebook to the weather apps on their phones to figure out just how much snow Stella would bring. Predictions ranged from no snow at all (and plenty of rain) to a whopping 18 inches. When Stella finally came to Leesburg, it was only about 4 to 6 inches of snow, according to Inside Nova– a milder version of the huge blizzard that blew through the Northeast. But it was a snowstorm nonetheless; the only one to hit Northern Virginia in the winter of 2016-17.

Really, snow in March is not a rare event in the DC region. There were March snowstorms in 2014 that led to “one of the snowiest Marches in 50 years” according to WTOP. Storms also came to the southern U.S. in that month in 1993, blanketing Washington DC in snow. So the question isn’t really why there was snow in March, it’s why that was the only snow Leesburg had all year.

Many people blame climate change for the warmer, less snowy winters. Earth’s temperatures are steadily rising, and this winter actually set records for high temperatures in the East Coast and Midwest. According to a CNN weather article, over 4400 record highs were reported across the country in February alone, with only 29 record lows reported during the same month. Anyone who walked outside wearing shorts during a month that should have been freezing will relate to this. Warmer winters (and hotter summers) in the U.S. are part of a larger global trend towards higher temperatures all over the world. Considering how much heat Virginia got over the winter, Winter Storm Stella was unusual, but many LCPS students feel that the snow days were the break they needed.