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Charlottesville bejeweled yet again by Mother Nature’s frosty, snow-white crown

Today, the last full week of March in 2014, much of the East Coast, including Charlottesville, is bejeweled once again with Mother Nature’s frosty, snow-white crown. While New England and Atlantic Canada brace for double digit accumulations and blizzard conditions, the Charlottesville area will experience a more tranquil snowstorm, with accumulations of only 2-4 inches predicted.

Skiing down the steps of the Rotunda? Yes, there was so much snowfall this winter season, University of Virginia students skiied the steps of the Rotunda.
Pamela Perkins Donnelly
Winter 2013-14 hit hard and early, starting in December 2013 and then blew through--and beyond--the vernal equinox.
Pamela Perkins Donnelly

Although March 20, 2014 marked the vernal equinox and despite local blooming crocus and daffodil heralding the coming of spring, a major snowstorm had just hit the Central Virginia region as recent as Mar. 17, three days prior. And today, Tuesday, through tomorrow, Mar. 25-26, more snow and icy rain is forecasted.

As the snow falls, once again, residents and travelers to Charlottesville have the rare opportunity to experience Charlottesville in its winter dress. Usually, the Central Virginia region will have a snowy day or two each winter, with higher accumulations in the mountain regions of the Blue Ridge Parkway and areas closer to West Virginia, but actual school closures have been rare the last several years. Students, however, continue to lose educational time each winter due to cold over-night temperatures creating dangerous black ice conditions, which force school districts to open 2-hours late.

Major snowfall and snowstorms in Central Virginia for Winter 2013-14 included:

  • 2013-14 Ice and snow: Dec. 8, 14, 18; Jan. 4, 17, 21, 30
  • 2013-14 UVA opens late: Dec. 9; Mar. 4
  • 2013-14 UVA closes: Feb. 13-14; Mar. 3, 17

While Charlottesville generally does not tend to get a lot of snow, the Winter of 2014 remains an exception. Since early in December 2013, winter temperatures lingered for weeks in the low 20s and snowstorms have continued to form with an eerie, and almost precise, weekly persistence. The University of Virginia actually closed its doors, to workers and students alike on 4 occasions, two days in February and a few weeks later two Mondays in March. The University also opened late on 2 separate occasions: 1-hour late on Dec. 9, 2013, and 2-hours late on Mar. 4, 2014.

Students took advantage of the free time in very creative ways. Igloos, snow forts, Daleks, and snow people were found on the Lawn. Ski jumps were created, and students skied the steps of the rotunda. The sledding hill at Washington Park had lots of visitors many times this winter season. Mountains of snow remain in parking lots, on the sides of roadways, and the ground is moist with potential for a vibrant spring.

Granted, the icy conditions belabor travel, and shoulders get tired of shoveling snow, but make the best of it and don’t miss this rare opportunity to discover the beauty of Charlottesville all decked out in white in these photos from Winter 2013-14.

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