WASHINGTON — This Veterans Day will be partly cloudy, breezy and mild, but 33 years ago, winter came early. If you were in town you remember the Veterans Day Snowstorm of 1987, where National Airport recorded 11.5 inches of snow as Dulles saw 11 inches fall. The 11.5-inch total at National is a daily snow record for the month, and the fact that it occurred during the month’s first half makes it especially impressive.
Thundersnow occurred east of town and some of the suburbs in Prince George’s County received 14 inches. It’s not too often when the heaviest band of snow is east of town. It snowed all day as far south as Greensboro, North Carolina producing a covering on the grass. This snowstorm is commonly referred to as the Veterans Day Snowstorm.
That’s just an easy-to-remember name given to an early-season nor’easter. Making this snow especially tricky to deal with across the region was the fact that it occurred in the first half of November when some leaves were still on the trees and those leaves that had already fallen had not yet been cleared.
It does not take much wintry precipitation to wreak havoc across the D.C. Metro area, but taking a considerable amount of snow – as this storm brought – and adding on top of it falling leaves, that created exceptionally treacherous travel conditions. Getting snow in November is rare, but not unheard of. National and Dulles Airports both average around an inch of snow in a typical November, making the Veterans Day Snowstorm totals one for the record books.