February 28, 2012

New blogger and new blog home

This week Scott Dance joins The Baltimore Sun as its new weather blogger. As other Sun blogs have moved over to a new platform, it's time for Maryland Weather to join them. Starting today Maryland Weather will have updates here.

Dance, a Timonium native, comes to The Sun from the Baltimore Business Journal. He was a regular reader of this blog and was inspired to take a weather-spotting class after Frank Roylance wrote about it.

Learn more about him in his first post and join the conversation. He's eager to hear from regular readers about what they want to see on the blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @MDweather.  

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:19 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 26, 2012

Hot days in February

From the Sun's print edition:

Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell offers this post:

"Warmer In Baltimore Than In Miami” was the headline from The Sun on Feb. 26, 1930, after temperatures reached 83 degrees. (It was 76 degrees in Miami.) This record still holds for warmest day for the month of February. In February 1930, Baltimore was experiencing a premature spring, and the month still holds three records for warmest days: Feb. 20 it was 76, and Feb. 21 it was 74. February 1976 holds the record for warmest February in metropolitan Baltimore, according to the National Weather Service. The mean temperature for the month was 44.1.

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:03 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 25, 2012

Wind advisory in effect for Saturday for Baltimore region

The National Weather Service has a wind advisory in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday for the Baltimore area.

A wind advisory means that wind gusts over 45 mph are expected, and can make driving difficult, especially for “high-profile” vehicles.

The weather service is forecasting winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph. Forecasters say the strongest winds will be Saturday morning and afternoon. They advise motorists to use extra caution.

Otherwise, the weather service is calling for Saturday to be mostly sunny, with a high near 49. There is a slight chance of showers before 2 p.m., then a chance of scattered showers and snow showers between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Little or no snow accumulation is expected.

Baltimore Gas and Electric said it was “closely monitoring the winds, which the utility said in a statement “could very likely cause trees and tree limbs to fall onto power lines and other electric delivery equipment.” BGE has increased the amount of repair workers in the field.

Around 11:30 a.m., the utility reported 1,143 outages in its coverage area.

Saturday night is expected to be mostly clear, with a low around 33 and west winds between 10 and 20 mph.

Sunday is expected to be sunny, with a high near 47 and northwest winds between 5 and 8 mph, becoming southwesterly.

Sunday night is expected to be mostly clear, with a low around 34 and south winds around 5 mph.

Posted by Kim Walker at 11:34 AM |
Categories: Forecasts

Mild winter a bad sign for maple sugar

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporters Candus Thomson and Steve Kilar offers this guest post:  

Mild winter weather could take the sweetness out of this year's maple sugar season. Good sap production requires daytime temperatures in the 40s and nighttime temperatures in the 20s. Nothing turns off the flow like a stretch of four or five days of 60-degree weather.

"The trees think it's springtime already," said Mike Driesbach, owner of Savage River Lodge in Garrett County, which has a small maple sugar operation. Sugar maples depend on fluctuating temperatures from day to night, he said. "If it doesn't drop below 30, the trees aren't ready to start pumping that sap up."

"It's a commodity business. Produce less, prices go higher," he said. "We might have a real short season."

Oregon Ridge Nature Center will have a maple sugar weekend Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and its annual pancake breakfast on March 3 and 4 from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 410-887-1815 for details and reservations.

Posted by Kim Walker at 7:01 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 24, 2012

Some celesital wonders coming up

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post: 

If the weather cooperates, Saturday and Sunday night could provide a stunning view of a crescent moon dancing in the sky with two planetary partners. The first evening, the moon will be about two degrees above and to the right of Venus. Check the sky at about 6:30 p.m. On Sunday night at about the same time, the moon will be to the right of Jupiter. Early next month, on March 5, Mars will mark its closest approach to Earth and be its brightest.

Posted by Kim Walker at 4:50 PM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 23, 2012

Learn to be a weather spotter

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

How does the National Weather Service gather local information when conditions turn nasty? In part, it turns to trained volunteer spotters to report on weather threats to meteorologists. A free Skywarn Spotter class will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 26 at Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road in Westminster. The basic two-hour class covers thunderstorm threats, lightning, flooding, hail and tornadoes and is a prerequisite for other Skywarn classes. Participants will be registered in the spotter program. Find details at:

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:05 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 22, 2012

La Nina and tornadoes

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

Last year was the fourth deadliest year for tornadoes in the United States, with 550 fatalities, and the second most destructive, with 1,709 twisters touching down. Why? A very strong jet stream powered by La Nina conditions generated powerful super-cell thunderstorms that often spin off tornadoes, says During 2011, many tornadoes touched down in densely populated areas east of "Tornado Alley" that lack the kind of storm awareness and shelters typically found in states from Texas to Kansas. Unfortunately, that La Nina pattern remains in place.

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:49 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 20, 2012

Signs of spring this week


So the Baltimore area missed out on the holiday weekend snow, which hit Virginia and southern Maryland on Sunday.

Weather spotters in Saint Mary's County reported snow amounts of between 1 and 2.5 inches. But that was nothing compared to some Virginia counties: 6.5 inches in Ablemarle; 10 in Augusta; 5.5 in city of Charlottesville; and 10 in Waynesboro.

Instead of snow, the Baltimore area could get spring-like conditions this week. The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures in the low to mid-60s Wednesday-Friday.

Satellite image of snow over Virginia courtesy of the National Weather Service

Posted by Kim Walker at 2:58 PM |
Categories: Winter weather

February 19, 2012

50th anniversary of John Glenn's Friendship 7 flight

From the Sun's print edition:

Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell offers this post:       

"Godspeed, John Glenn." Fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter spoke those words 50 years ago on Feb. 20, 1962, during the launch of Mercury spacecraft "Friendship 7." On board was astronaut John H. Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth. He saw three sunrises and sunsets during a flight of 4 hours and 56 minutes. This spacecraft is on view at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The Mercury-Redstone 3 "Freedom 7," flown by astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, on May 5, 1961, is scheduled to leave the U.S. Naval Academy Visitors' Center the third week in March for the John F. Kennedy library in Boston.

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:19 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 18, 2012

Baltimore may see snow, but will likely miss big accumulation

While Baltimore might see some snow on Sunday, the latest forecasts are calling for the area to be spared from major accumulations.

According to the National Weather Service, the area could see light snow over the course of the day as a winter storm system moves through, but the heaviest snowfall will likely be concentrated southwest of Washington.

The chance of precipitation is 50 percent, and snowfall accumulations are expected to be under a half-inch over the course of the day tomorrow.
Posted by Kim Walker at 11:57 AM |
Categories: Winter weather

First data from Cross-track Infrared Sounder

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

The newest polar-orbiting satellite that will help scientists predict nasty weather days in advance is sending back its first data to Earth. The Cross-track Infrared Sounder, being managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, will produce high-resolution, three-dimensional temperature, atmospheric pressure, and moisture profiles. Scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe the enhanced information will help them decode climate changers such as El Nino and La Nina. Distribution of the new information is set to begin at the end of March.

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:17 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 17, 2012

WISE satellite one year later

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

On this date last year, NASA decommissioned its $320 million WISE satellite. With its 16-inch-in-diameter infrared-sensitive telescope, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer orbited the Earth 326 miles up and scanned the entire sky, discovering asteroids, comets, dying stars — called brown dwarfs — and distant galaxies. The 9-foot-tall satellite took more than 1.5 million images. Its final picture, taken on Feb. 1 of last year, shows a star-studded swath of the Milky Way. Next month, the WISE mission will be releasing data to the public from its all-sky survey.

Posted by Kim Walker at 2:14 PM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

Uncertainty surrounds weekend storm

Forecasters say it's much too early to determine where and how much snow will fall Sunday. But here is the speculation so far.

Update 4:30 p.m. The National Weather Service forecast discussion: 


Baltimore professional meteorologist Eric the Red is also feeling the uncertainty:

UPDATE 1 p.m.: 

"All the morning models have come in, and they have definitely gone lighter and farther south... except the Canadian, which has gone a bit wetter and a hair farther north.  So, ... 'Think low, Aim lower.'  I'll pull back my forecast amounts... and hope that I'm wrong.
North of MD - Nothing.
Northern MD - I'm thinking 1 to 3" may be generous, but I won't pull the plug entirely north of Baltimore.  I would not be at all surprised now if nrn MD ends up with nary a flake as well.  Man I hope I'm wrong.
Baltimore to DC - Here, 3-6" is my new take, and I'm afraid this also could be high.  Again, hope I'm wrong.
South of DC - 4 to 8

Previous quote below:

"The first real winter storm of the season is coming, but with serious, serious caveats.  ... Despite taking a very favorable track out of the Gulf to the Carolina Coast, an incredibly tight south-to-north precipitation gradient will set up.  We're talking that within the span of 20 miles or so, you could conceivably go from 6-12" of heavy wet snow to nothing.  Where this sharp gradient sets up is anybody's guess - I sure don't know - but we've got some ideas.  It appears the gradient will set up... yup, right across central Maryland, with northern portions of the state ending up on the light side, while central and southern portions of the state get smacked pretty good. ... This one is tough, and I do not envy the NWS forecasters out at Sterling, Va. on this one who have to issue a forecast for the entire region.  Storm will impact the area Sunday into Sunday night."


Posted by Kim Walker at 11:19 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Winter weather

February 16, 2012

Snow still a possibility for Saturday into Sunday

Baltimore Sun reporter Steve Kilar offers this guest post:
The National Weather Service is still predicting a decent chance of snow for Saturday night, going into Sunday morning, though the amount of new precipitation is expected to be slight.
The holiday weekend is predicted to start off partly sunny on Saturday with increasing cloud cover as the day moves on. The high will be around 50 degrees. There is a 50 percent chance of rain Saturday night that could turn to snow after midnight. Lows will be in the mid-30s.
"[The chance of snow] is going to depend on the exact track of a low-pressure system moving in from the Gulf [of Mexico] to the northeast" and how far north the pressure system goes, said weather service meteorologist Carrie Suffern, based in Sterling, Va., said Thursday night. Whether snow develops hinges on how quickly cold air moves in behind the system, she said. 
New precipitation Saturday night and Sunday is expected to be around a half-inch or less. 
Sunday has a 70 percent chance of a wintry mix with highs in the upper 30s.
President's Day on Monday will be sunny and in the 40s, dropping into the 20s at night.
Posted by Kim Walker at 11:07 PM |
Categories: Winter weather

Goddard explanation for Snowmageddon

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

So, what caused Snowmageddon—the three-storm punch two years ago that blanketed the region with 54.9 inches of snow? Three scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt think they have a clue. A combination of El Nino-induced warm sea surface temperatures and storminess with a reduction in the difference between the low-pressure field to the north and the high-pressure field to the south allowed bitter Arctic wind to sweep down across the North Atlantic and turn what would normally have been rain into feet of snow.

Posted by Kim Walker at 4:46 PM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

Holiday weekend snow possible

The latest wintry mix forecast of the season is for Saturday night. It all comes down to temperature.

The National Weather Service says, "A coastal storm system could impact the region with a wintry mix or all snow late Saturday into Sunday night. Snowfall accumulations may be possible"

Baltimore professional meteorologist Eric the Red's take:

"Models have come into much better agreement that a storm will form in the western and central Gulf and move northeast over the weekend, bringing a chance for rain and snow to much of the region.  As with just about every other storm this winter, there's not much cold air to work with, so I have some underlying fears that this may play out much like the last several rain/snow events... where your local elevation plays a big role in what type of pcp you see.  It's still several days away, so after being burned repeatedly this winter by storms that don't materialize, I will be slow to go all-in."  

Posted by Kim Walker at 12:21 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Winter weather

February 14, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count is Saturday

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

Take part in the national Great Backyard Bird Count on Saturday during a free ranger-led hike at Cunningham Falls State Park in Frederick County. Different species seen by hikers will be logged by park staff. The hike has some rocky areas. Binoculars are helpful. For children ages six and up. No pets. Meet the ranger at 10 a.m. at the Falls Trailhead lot in the William Houck Area of the park. The 1.2-mile hike will last about an hour and a half. Information: 301-271-7574.

Posted by Kim Walker at 3:49 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 13, 2012

Possible morning snow showers

The National Weather Service says there's a 40 percent of snow showers before 10 a.m. before turning to rain. Little accumulation expected.

Baltimore professional meteorologist Eric the Red has the details: 

"A weakening storm will swing thru Tuesday, perhaps triggering some light wet snow or rain; the best chance of a little light snow will be across the nrn portions of the region (from Baltimore-I-70 north). In a winter where little has broken in favor of snow, don't see anything with this one that would be any different. We're getting to the time of year where the longer days and higher position of the sun in the sky make it increasingly difficult to get snow to fall during the day."

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:03 PM |
Categories: Winter weather

February 12, 2012

Memories of February storms


From the Sun's print edition:

Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell offers this post:      

We are entering the part of winter that has brought some of our greatest snowfall totals. The blizzard of 1983 on Feb. 11-12 brought 22.8 inches. During the Valentine's Day storm on Feb. 12-14 1899, the area received 21.3 inches. The President's Day storm, Feb.18-19 1979, dumped 20.0 inches. The 2003 President's Day blizzard, on Feb. 16-18, is the No. 1 storm for snowfall of all time in Baltimore at 26.8 inches. If you're feeling the chill today, remember it could be worse. On this date in 1899, the high was 11 and low was 5 degrees.

Baltimore Sun 2003 file photo

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:20 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 11, 2012

High winds forecast for Sunday

With a night of howling winds up to 47 miles per hour and some flurries in the forecast, utility crews were preparing Saturday for potential power outages, Meredith Cohn reports.

Mostly sunny skies were forecast for the Baltimore region on Sunday, and the daytime high was expected to reach 35, according to the National Weather Service.

The winds were expected to continue blowing throughout the day and into the evening, with gusts up to 37 miles per hour, according to the service. Conditions, however, were expected to improve during the work week, with high temperatures after Monday in the 40s, reaching 51 on Thursday, when there is another chance of precipitation.

But the high winds forecast for Saturday night and Sunday led Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to prepare for power outages. Gusts could bring down trees and limbs onto power lines and other power equipment.

BGE said it has crews on hand to respond. "BGE is proactively preparing for the likelihood of wind-related power outages by not only keeping a close watch on the weather, but also by increasing its number of field personnel overnight to assist in restoration work should outages occur," said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE, in a statement.

"Restoration work involving the removal of tree debris can be labor and time intensive," he said. "In addition, windy conditions could limit restoration work involving bucket trucks. We thank our customers in advance for their cooperation and understanding."

BGE officials warn that special needs customers should make arrangements and those with generators should make sure they are well ventilated.

Customers can report outages at 877-778-2222 and downed lines at 410-685-0123.

Posted by Kim Walker at 7:43 PM |
Categories: Forecasts

Accumulating snow expected Saturday

The Baltimore region can expect around an inch of accumulating snow Saturday, likely in the mid to late afternoon.

Areas along the Pennsylvania border are under a winter weather advisory through 7 p.m., including northern Baltimore and Harford, Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties. According to the National Weather Service, those areas could see more snow — up to three inches.

Unofficial precipitation reports to the National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration recorded up to two inches of overnight snow into Saturday. The highest report was in Laytonsville, on the border of Howard and Montgomery counties. A total from Long Green in Baltimore County showed one inch of snow.

In the area around the city, forecasters are predicting a breezy day, with snow beginning around 3 p.m. Winds could hit 21 mph at their peak. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 30s. The weather system is expected to clear out after midnight.

Posted by Kim Walker at 8:47 AM |
Categories: Winter weather

See the International Space Station with your sweetie on Valentine's Day

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

Get those neck muscles in shape, International Space Station watchers, you're got some looking up to do next week. Weather permitting, folks in the Baltimore area will be able to see the station overhead on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, the spacecraft will appear at 7:13 p.m. low in the western sky. For two minutes it will make its way to the north. On Valentine's Day, at 6:15 p.m., the space station will enter from the southwest and will cruise for five minutes to the east-northeast.

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:56 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 10, 2012

More rain and snow this weekend

The second rain and snow event of the week is upon us, but little or no accumulation is expected in the Baltimore metro area. The National Weather Service says rain will start tonight, with rain and snow happening after 4 a.m. There is also a chance of rain and snow Saturday, but still no accumulation expected.

Update: A winter weather advisory is in effect from midnight tonight-7 p.m. Saturday for Washington, Frederick, northern Baltimore, Carroll and Harford counties. Accumulations of 1-3 inches possible in these areas.

Here's Baltimore professional meteorologist Eric the Red's forecast:
"Rain changing to snow tonight, with an inch or two possible across northern portions of MD.  Closer to town, a coating is possible by tomorrow morning along and west of I-95.  To the east of I-95, just rain. ... If there's a twist, it's the period of light snow/snow shower that looks like a good bet late Saturday afternoon as the actual arctic front blasts thru, which might be enough to coat the ground with another trace to half inch in the late afternoon and early eve on Saturday."

Posted by Kim Walker at 12:20 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Winter weather

Maryland stocks trout streams, ponds

From The Sun's print editions:

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson offers this guest post:  

Warm, dry weather has meant one thing for anglers: the state has begun its spring stocking of approximately 326,000 rainbow and brown trout into streams and ponds. The stocking trucks will work their way east to west, said Assistant Fisheries Director Don Cosden. Some fish being released are as large as 8 pounds.

One caveat, though. The Put-and-Take closure dates for certain areas are incorrect in the 2012 Maryland Fishing Guide. Check the Department of Natural Resources website ( for both the correct days and the stocking schedule.

Posted by Kim Walker at 6:21 AM |
Categories: From the Sun's print edition

February 9, 2012

Snow totals in Maryland

Accumulations from Wednesday's snow event, such as it was, ranged from a trace at BWI to 2 inches in Frederick County, according to the National Weather Service

Most people if they were lucky saw a dusting on their lawns. Trained NWS spotters reported 0.8 inches in Glyndon, 1.5 inches in Eldersburg,  1.5 inches in Columbia and 0.5 inches in the Pimlico area of the city.

So were you relieved or disappointed in the lack of snow Wednesday? 


Posted by Kim Walker at 1:20 PM |
Categories: Winter weather
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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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