The Answers Issue: Why do D.C.’s official snowfall totals continue to be measured at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Virginia?

Why do D.C.’s official snowfall totals continue to be measured at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Virginia?

Call it a staffing problem. Jason Samenow, of the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, agrees that Reagan National Airport isn’t ideal for representative snowfall totals, given its low elevation and its proximity to the warm Potomac River. But, he says, “Weather observations have been taken there since the early 1940s, forming a long-term record we wouldn’t want to interrupt.” Another key factor: “Professional weather observers are stationed at the airport as the measurements are important for aviation purposes. Resources probably aren’t available for another official observing location downtown,” Samenow says. Even meteorologists are spread thin sometimes.

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