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December 23, 2004

Frontal passage brings plenty of rain

The cold front sweeping across Maryland today has brought a gusty squall line and more than an inch of rain to some locations. There are reports of thunder, trees down, and BGE power outages totalling more than 11,000, mostly in Carroll and Baltimore counties. Some wind gusts topped 60 mph, even 70 mph in the mountains to our west.

Temperatures are beginning to fall across Maryland as the front approaches, but still linger in the 50s in most places. But it's already dropped to 34 degrees in Garrett County. Lows tonight in Baltimore will drop below freezing, so watch for icy spots.

Posted by Admin at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Observer reports
        

A petite full moon for Christmas

The moon will be nearly full for Christmas Eve and after sunset Christmas Day. But if it looks a bit smaller and farther away than usual, that's because it is. Here's why.

Posted by Admin at 11:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

December 22, 2004

Maryland from space, shot today

The "Smog Blog" has another beautiful shot of Maryland on their site, snapped today by the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Earth-observing Aqua satellite. If it's not at the top of the page anymore, scroll down to "Moderate AQ in Baltimore."

I'm betting those white streaky clouds just visible over northern New Jersey are jet contrails. I was watching several airliners over Baltimore this morning, leaving contrails that spread to cover much of the sky. Studies have found they can have a significant impact on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface.

Thanks to the University of Maryland Baltimore County for the image.

Posted by Admin at 5:46 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Cool pictures
        

Arctic "outbreak" due, but not like 1899

Another surge of arctic air is due here this weekend. But it won't compare with the "Great Arctic Outbreak" of February 1899. That one was so bad that ice flows in the Mississippi River made it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Here's how the National Weather Service remembers it:

"February 1899: The Great Arctic Outbreak of '99 and the Great Eastern Blizzard of '99 occurred this month. It was an incredible sequence of back-to-back snowstorms sandwiched by an extreme cold wave.

"On February 5 to 8, a great blizzard struck the Mid-Atlantic Region. Baltimore received almost a foot of snow and Washington 14 inches over 4 days. As the storm moved out on the 8th, temperatures fell below zero on the 9th. Record cold settled in by the morning of the 10th, Laurel recorded a low of -18 F and Washington -8. On the 11th, Washington, DC recorded a record minimum of -15 F and a record low maximum of only +4F. Fallston (Harford County) recorded -8F on the 9th and -14F on the 10th and 11th. Charlotte Hall in Southern Maryland reached -19F and Princess Anne -10F. A second blizzard struck on February 11.

"Temperatures near the start of the storm ranged from -15 to +11F. The storm dropped an additional 20 inches on Washington, 21 inches at Baltimore, and 9 in Solomons. An amazing 34 inches fell on Cape May, NJ. Snow depths reached 34 inches in DC and Baltimore, 24 inches in Princess Anne and as much as 41 inches at Cape May!

"Northwest winds of 48 mph created blizzard conditions and drove the snow into 10 foot drifts! These blocked transportation lines to the cities causing a major coal shortage that resulted in rationing. Food was also rationed, though not as severely as the coal.

"On February 16, an ice storm hit. Washington recorded its greatest monthly snow total with 35.2 inches and its greatest seasonal snowfall total with 54.4 inches. Frederick recorded 34 inches for the month. Baltimore had a record 33.9 inches for the month with a record 51.1 inches for the season. (This record stood for nearly a century until 1996).

(Ed.: The snowfall in 1995-96 totalled 62.5 inches at BWI. The 1898-99 mark was eclipsed again in 2002-03 when 58.1 inches fell. The 1899 snow record for February toppled in 2003, when 40.5 inches fell.)

"The winter of 1898-1899 was so cold over a large part of the US that ice flowed from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico! This has only been recorded one other time. On February 13, 1784, ice flows blocked the Mississippi River at New Orleans and then passed into the Gulf of Mexico."

Posted by Admin at 2:49 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1)
Categories: History
        

Grinch steals white Christmas

The law of averages has caught up with Baltimore after all. The forecasters have dropped all mention of snow, chance of snow or even flurries for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for our area. Now it's just cold. Very cold. Lows in the teens and 20s, high Saturday only 30 degrees.

Here's part of the forecasters' discussion:

"STRONG COLD AIR DAMMING AND TIGHT
PRESSURE GRADIENT INDICATE A BLUSTERY LATE FRI NIGHT INTO CHRISTMAS MORNING WITH COLD TEMPS. EXPECT SMALL CRAFT ADVISORIES LATE FRI INTO SAT. OUR MOUNTAIN NORTHWEST WILL BE BITTERLY COLD XMAS MORNING WITH 850 MB TEMPS CURRENTLY FORECAST TO BE MINUS 22C OVER ALLEGANY COUNTY"

Minus 22 degrees Celsius is a little colder than minus-7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Posted by Admin at 11:53 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

December 21, 2004

Chance of snow Christmas morning

What could be better? A little snow between midnight and dawn, just enough to whiten the place for Christmas morning. And then cold air all day to keep it that way. Perfect. And that's the forecast, so far. There's a new mass of frigid arctic air headed our way at week's end, and a storm is expected to form along the coast, bringing the the mid-Atlantic states a chance for some snow. Christmas highs are forecast for around 30 degrees. No firm word on how much snow yet. But with only a 1-in-10 chance for snow on Christmas Day around these parts, anything that makes Christmas white is a gift. (Last year it snowed on the 23rd and 24th, delivering about .68 inch.)

Here's AccuWeather's take on it.

Posted by Admin at 12:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

December 20, 2004

Winter arrives (officially) Tues. morning

Ushered in by Monday's frigid temperatures and bitter winds, Old man Winter arrives officially at 7:40 a.m. EST Tuesday. That's the moment when the Winter Solstice occurs. Astronomers say that's when the sun reaches its southernmost point below the celestial equator (the plane of the Earth's equator, extended out into space) and begins heading north again.

For the rest of us, it marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. It's the tipping point, after which the days begin, with agonizing slowness at first, to get longer. Spring is on its way.

That's why the ancients considered it the middle of winter, rather than its commencement, and a time of hope, rebirth and optimism. The Romans celebrated the solstice with the festival of Saturnalia, a week-long holiday marked by gift-giving and overindulgence. Christians are said to have co-opted the popular pagan festival for their own ends and assigned the Christmas observance - also a celebration of birth and hope - to the same time of year.

Of course, in the southern hemisphere it's the Summer Solstice. And Christmas is a summer holiday, after which the long, lazy days of December and January days get shorter.

Posted by Admin at 1:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Events
        

So, how cold was it?

It was 6 degrees outside my window in Cockeysville this morning. Now that's the kind of cold that gets your attention. With stiff winds to make it more miserable. Here is a quick check of the overnight lows and blows across Central Maryland.

Aberdeen: 10 degrees, winds 20 mph, gusts to 31
BWI: 9 degrees, winds 21 mph, gusts to 35
Frederick: 9 degrees, wind 24 mph, gusts to 30
Hagerstown: 6 degrees, winds to 29 mph, gusts to 39
Inner Harbor: 11 degrees (no wind data)
Martinsburg (for Cumberland): 8 degrees, winds 23, gusts to 32

The record low for BWI for Dec. 20 is 6 degrees, set in 1942. So, we were 4 degrees shy of a new record this morning. Wind chills, of course, were much more impressive - often in the single digits below zero and close to 30-minute frostbite territory at times. Here is a wind-chill chart.

Posted by Admin at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: By the numbers
        

December 19, 2004

"Arctic sea smoke" forecast for the Bay

That's one you don't see too often. The National Weather Service has issued a gale warning for the tidal Potomac and Maryland portions of the Chesapeake. They're expecting winds of 20 to 25 knots Monday, with gusts to 35 knots. But embedded in the warning is a reference to "arctic sea smoke" developing after midnight tonight and continuing Monday.

I had to look that one up. It turns out that arctic sea smoke forms when very cold air moves across much warmer water, causing the evaporating moisture to condense into a sort of fog. Here are some photos of arctic sea smoke on Lake Champlain.

In our case the forecast is calling for temperatures to fall tonight into the teens, with wind chills into the single digits in some places. Monday's high will do no better than 24 at BWI. The Bay water temperature, meanwhile, is still around 49 degrees F. Hence, arctic sea smoke. Learn something every day.

Be thankful you don't live just downwind from the Great Lakes. Lake effect snows there are causing plenty of problems as far downwind as Garrett County, MD, where they're expecting 5 to 8 inches of snow this weekend. Here's an example in western Pennsylvania.

Posted by Admin at 12:43 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Winter weather
        

Frizzle, then 1-2 inches of snow

A drizzle, then falling temperatures will change today's cold drizzle to a freezing drizzle - frizzle (or is it freezle?) - followed by even colder temps and finally snow, the weather service says. We can expect 1-2 inches at most, with strong winds and bitter wind-chills. Here's the advisory - the first Winter Weather Advisory of the season here.

"The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington DC has
continued a Winter Weather Advisory for the northern
Virginia... central Maryland... and the metropolitan areas of
Washington DC and Baltimore.

"Pockets of light freezing rain or freezing drizzle will occur through
early afternoon as temperatures hover near freezing. However... with
ground temperatures remaining relatively warm... roads are not
expected to form ice. Precipitation will change to all snow late in
the day... with the best time for accumulating snows from early
evening through early Monday. Snowfall amounts are expected to
average 1 to 2 inches. The best time for accumulating snows will be
from early evening through early Monday. Snowfall amounts are
expected to average one to two inches.

"Behind a rapidly moving cold front expect temperatures to fall
tonight into the mid teens. When combined with northwest winds of 20
mph the wind chill will feel like it is 0 to 10 above. If you will be
venturing out overnight and Monday morning dress warmly... in several
layers of clothing. Be sure to cover your head and neck."

Posted by Admin at 12:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather
        

December 17, 2004

Cold blast coming; protect your pipes!

The bitter cold expected to move in Sunday night could play havoc with exposed pipes. Here are some cold-weather tips from the Baltimore City Department of Public Works.

Posted by Admin at 5:05 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

Light snow, maybe; then colder for sure

Forecasters are still having a tough time with this weekend snow threat. It's still a tricky forecast, but the prognosticators seem to be coming together. They're being guided by computer models, which now seem to agree that the low pressure system expected to form this weekend off the Carolina or Virginia coast will track northeastward, far enough off shore to spare the Baltimore-Washington corridor the "major" snowstorm touted by AccuWeather earlier this week.

But that's not to say we'll get nothing. The sense of the forecasts and discussions is that a low-pressure system will move down from the Great Lakes in Sunday, bringing us "mainly light" precipitation on Sunday and Sunday night, starting as rain.

But then much colder air will push into the region, changing any precipitation to snow. Accumulations, if any, they say, will be light.

The bigger issue for Central Maryland now appears to be the cold. They're looking for lows in the low 20s Sunday night and teens Monday night. And Monday's highs will stick in the upper 20s, with windchills in the single digits and teens all day long. Add to that the expectation that any water on the streets and sidewalks will turn quickly to ice.

The view could become snowier by Monday on the Eastern Shore, closer to the offshore low. The NWS forecasters at Mt. Holly, NJ, who cover SE Pennsylvania, southern NJ, Delaware and Cecil, Caroline, Talbot, Kent and Queen Anne's counties in Maryland, are warning today that storm track errors "might lead to heavier precipitation in the form of snow affecting our area."

Whatever the outcome, they say, "the one certainty that has held about Monday and Monday night, it will become unseasonably cold and windy. What snow that does fall, will not melt and will make for slippery traveling conditions."

More snow chances in the long-range forecast for mid-week. Sorry.

Posted by Admin at 12:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

December 16, 2004

AccuWeather backs off snow forecast

The commercial weather info. provider has eased off its forecasts yesterday of a "major storm" for the East Coast Northeast Sunday into Monday. Here's AccuWeather's current take on the cold air and moisture headed our way:

"A storm combined with an arctic blast will bring significant snow to the Great Lakes and Northeast Sunday and Monday. The storm may not get its act together in time to produce a big dump of snow from Washington, D.C. to New York. However, eastern New England is not out of the woods. To the west, in the Great Lakes region, the storm itself will not bring much snow, but very cold air crossing the comparatively mild waters will generate lake effect. That means bands of heavy snow, more localized whiteouts and travel delays in the western Great Lakes Sunday and in the eastern Lakes Monday."

Thye National Weather Service, meanwhile, is still calling for only a "chance" of snow. Here's how they couch it:

"COLD AIR MOVING INTO THE REGION LATE FRIDAY WILL SET THE STAGE FOR
THE POSSIBILITY OF SOME WINTER WEATHER SUNDAY AND MONDAY. A LOW
PRESSURE AREA MOVING DOWN FROM THE GREAT LAKES COMBINED WITH LOW
PRESSURE DEVELOPING OFF THE ATLANTIC COAST WILL LIKELY BRING ENOUGH
MOISTURE FOR SNOW AT SOME POINT BETWEEN SUNDAY MORNING AND MONDAY
AFTERNOON.

"AT THIS POINT IT IS TO EARLY FOR SPECIFIC DETAILS ON EXACT TIMING OR
AMOUNTS. THIS IS ONLY A STATEMENT TO ALERT YOU TO THE POSSIBILITY OF
SNOW LATE THIS WEEKEND. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES ON FRIDAY AND THROUGH
THE WEEKEND."

Posted by Admin at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

2004 was fourth-warmest year on record

The World Meteorological Organization, an arm of the U.N., says this year has been one of the warmest on record globally. It's a trend. The planet's 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1990. Here's the story.

Posted by Admin at 11:09 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Dreaming of a White Christmas?

Who doesn't? But it's a statistical rarity in Baltimore. The National Weather Service says there's been only 12 Christmases in the last 120 in which Baltimoreans enjoyed a measureable snowfall. The last time was just last year, when an inch piled up on Christmas Day.

It's more common to have snow on the ground at Christmas. That's happened 29 times in the last 120 years, the elves at Sterling tell us. But it seems to be becoming increasingly rare. In the past 20 years, we've seen only two Christmases with snow in the air (2003 and 1993), and two with at least a tenth of an inch of snow on the ground. The most recent was 1989. Global warming at work here? Or just a swing of the pendulum?

Yuletide temperatures can be all over the map. It was 0 degrees on Christmas Day in 1983. Nineteen years earlier, in 1964, it was a balmy 72 degrees. For more on Christmas weather in Baltimore and Washington, click here.

Posted by Admin at 10:50 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: By the numbers
        

December 15, 2004

Forces align for Sunday/Monday snow

The National Weather Service now seems to be taking more seriously the potential for snow late this weekend, getting more in line with AccuWeather. Here's their thinking:

"MANY FACTORS ARE PRESENT FOR A SNOW EVENT ANYWHERE FROM DC REGION
NORTH TO MAINE. BASED ON THIS MORNING'S (COMPUTER RUNS) THESE
SOLUTIONS ARE PUTTING THE MAXIMUM IMPACT OF THE WINTER WEATHER NORTHEAST OF OUR (FORECAST AREA) ... MORE IN THE PHILADELPHIA-NYC-BOSTON CORRIDOR AND AREAS EAST. THE (BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON AREA) WILL LIKELY BE IMPACTED TO A LESSER DEGREE.

"HOWEVER...AT THESE OUT HOURS OF THE FORECAST (WE) NEED TO BE ALERT TO THE POTENTIAL FOR MODEL CHANGES AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE EVENT ..."

"SUNDAY WILL START WITH CLOUDY SKIES...WITH PRECIP MOVING INTO WESTERNMOST ZONES LATE IN THE AFTERNOON. SUNDAY NIGHT HAS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COASTAL LOW WITH THE TRANSFER OF ENERGY DIRECTLY OVER MASON-DIXON AREA...AND GOOD CHANCE OF PRECIP STARTING OVERNIGHT SUNDAY INTO MONDAY NIGHT. MONDAY TEMPS ARE FORECAST TO BE VERY
COLD WITH A GUSTY NORTH WIND...WITH POTENTIAL FOR WIND CHILLS IN TEENS AND SINGLE DIGITS."

Posted by Admin at 5:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

Chance of snow showers? Or a "big storm?"

The National Weather Service is calling it "snow showers." But AccuWeather forecasters - often more willing to go out on a limb than their not-for-profit NWS counterparts - are ginning up expectations for a "big storm" on the East Coast on Sunday and Monday.

Here's what the government meteorologists were predicting at mid-day Wednesday for BALTIMORE late in the weekend:

Sunday Night: A chance of snow showers after 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low near 27.

Monday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high around 39.

Monday Night: A chance of snow showers before 7pm. Mostly cloudy and blustery, with a low around 23.

Here's the AccuWeather take on the same weather data:

"There are some definite signs that a major storm will take shape along the Carolina coastline Sunday. From there, it will rapidly strengthen and spin northward up the coast Sunday night and Monday. Fuel for the storm will be a direct confrontation between very cold air charging southward through the Great Lakes and mild air streaming in from off the Atlantic Ocean.

"The clash of air masses will be the product of an unusually large amplification of the jet stream. This storm could have major impact on shopping and travel late in the weekend and early next week. When the exact track of the storm becomes more evident, AccuWeather.com will bring you the specifics on timing and actual snow accumulations."

They can't both be right, so the outlook will certainly change in the coming hours and days as weather computer models sort out the variables. Stay tuned.

Posted by Admin at 11:10 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

December 14, 2004

Coldest night Weds., snow chance Sunday

Throw another log in the fire. The National Weather Service is forecasting a low of 16 degrees Wednesday night at BWI. That would be the coldest it's been at the airport since last Feb. 16. It's more than 10 degrees below the normal low for Dec. 15 (27 degrees), but far from a record. The coldest Dec. 15 was in 1962, when the mercury at BWI reached 6 degrees.

Dec. 15 is also the average date for the first snowfall of the season in Baltimore. But there's none in sight until Sunday night (see forecast). Here are the stats for December.

Posted by Admin at 4:59 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather
        

Up to 8 inches of snow in W.Va.

Here are some snow totals from the first storm of the season. Thanks to the NWS:

LOCATION STORM TOTAL TIME/DATE COMMENTS
SNOWFALL OF
(INCHES) MEASUREMENT

MARYLAND

...ALLEGANY COUNTY...
HIGHER ELEVATIONS 3-4" 500 AM MD STATE POLICE
FROSTBURG 1.1" 700 AM NWS COOP REPORT

WEST VIRGINIA

...MINERAL COUNTY...
ROMNEY TRACE 500 AM PUBLIC REPORT
KEYSER TRACE 500 AM PUBLIC REPORT
KEYSER 0.2" 700 AM NWS COOP REPORT
SKYLINE MOUNTAIN 2-4" 100 AM WV HIGHWAY DEPT

...GRANT COUNTY...
MT. STORM 6-8" 500 AM PUBLIC REPORT
GREEN MOUNTAIN 2-4" 100 AM WV HIGHWAY DEPT

VIRGINIA

...PENDLETON COUNTY...
HIGHER ELEVATIONS 2-8" 500 AM PUBLIC REPORTS
FRANKLIN 1" 100 AM VA STATE POLICE

...HIGHLAND COUNTY...
MONTEREY TRACE-1" 500 AM PUBLIC REPORT
LANTZ MT. 6" 500 AM PUBLIC REPORT

Posted by Admin at 10:12 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather
        

Snow warnings again today in Allegany

The Weather Service has extended winter storm warnings today in Allegany County as arctic air and Great Lakes moisture combine to whiten western Maryland for the holidays. Sun's still shining in Baltimore, thankfully. Here's the warning for folks in Allegany, and those driving west on I-68 today:

"...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM EST THIS AFTERNOON...

A SURFACE COLD FRONT WILL CROSS THE AREA THIS MORNING ENHANCING
UPSLOPE SNOWFALL RATES ON THE WESTERN SLOPES OF THE ALLEGHENY
HIGHLANDS. 3 TO 6 INCHES OF ADDITIONAL SNOW WILL FALL ABOVE 2500 FEET
THROUGH 4 PM EST TODAY WITH SNOWFALL AMOUNTS RANGING FROM 2 TO TO 4
INCHES AT THE LOWER ELEVATIONS.

MOTORISTS...INCLUDING THOSE DRIVING INTERSTATE 68...SHOULD DRIVE
SLOWLY AND ALLOW PLENTY OF EXTRA BRAKING DISTANCE."

Posted by Admin at 10:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather
        

December 13, 2004

Winter storm warning for Garrett County

The first winter storm warning of the season for Maryland was posted today for Garrett County. Baltimoreans also face the coldest weather so far this season.

Some hardy Garrett Countians could see 3 to 7 inches of snow between 1 p.m. today and 10 a.m. tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service. Allegany could see 2 to 4 inches before it's all over. An earlier winter storm warning there (for 4 inches-plus)has been cancelled and replaced by a winter weather advisory (less than 4 inches). Their neighbors in Pennsylvania and West Virginia could see similar weather as cold Canadian air and Great Lakes moisture combine to make the place look more like Christmas. Wind, snow and cold are also on tap for upstate New York and Pennsylvania, and northern New England.

The I-95 corridor, including Baltimore and Washington, will see overnight lows in the 20s for the next few nights, and bitter wind-chills. Here's the low-down from the folks at Sterling:

"A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL PRESS EAST FROM THE APPALACHIANS EARLY THIS
MORNING...REACHING THE CHESAPEAKE BAY BY MIDDAY. WINDS GUSTING TO 35
TO 40 MPH ARE EXPECTED WITH THE COLD FRONTAL PASSAGE...PERSISTING
THROUGH THE MID AFTERNOON. THESE WINDS WILL BRING MUCH COOLER AIR
INTO THE REGION...ALLOWING TEMPERATURES TO FALL INTO THE 30S BY LATE
AFTERNOON.

THE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO SLACKEN DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON...BUT
WILL STILL REMAIN BREEZY ENOUGH TO ALLOW WIND CHILL VALUES TO FALL
INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS WEST OF THE BLUE RIDGE...AND TO NEAR 20
DEGREES ALONG AND EAST OF INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR INCLUDING DOWNTOWN
BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON.

COLD AIR WILL CONTINUE TO POUR ACROSS THE REGION THROUGH TUESDAY
NIGHT. TEMPERATURES WILL STRUGGLE TO RISE THROUGH THE 30S
TUESDAY...WITH HIGHS ONLY ECLIPSING 40 DEGREES SOUTH OF
FREDERICKSBURG TO ANNAPOLIS. WITH WINDS AT 15 TO 25 MPH ...IT WILL
FEEL LIKE ITS IN THE 20S ON TUESDAY.

ON TUESDAY NIGHT...TEMPERATURES WILL DROP INTO THE UPPER TEENS IN
THE INTERIOR SUBURBS...LOWER 20S SOUTHEAST OF WASHINGTON AND
BALTIMORE...AND MID 20S IN TOWN. WIND CHILLS WILL BE IN THE TEENS
ACROSS THE ENTIRE AREA.

ALTHOUGH THESE CONDITIONS ARE NOT UNUSUAL FOR DECEMBER...SINCE THIS
WILL BE THE FIRST COLD SNAP OF THE SEASON...RESIDENTS WILL NEED TO
TAKE A FEW PRECAUTIONS UNTIL ACCLIMATED TO THE COLDER TEMPERATURES.
MOST IMPORTANT WILL BE TO WEAR MULTIPLE LAYERS OF CLOTHING. AVOID
WEARING COTTON CLOTHING...AS IT TENDS TO LET BODY HEAT ESCAPE.
ALSO...A HAT AND GLOVES WILL HELP YOU STAY WARM.

Posted by Admin at 11:39 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather
        

Clear skies forecast for Geminid meteors

Have you seen any Geminid meteors in the last few nights? Leave a comment here and tell us about them. More are due tonight. With clear skies forecast, and the moon setting early, the seeing should be fine for the Geminids' forecast peak tonight. To check the "clear skies" forecast for your location, click here, and then click on the site closest to your location.

Calls to the newspaper and to local police all suggest that the pace of the annual Geminid shower has been picking up for several days. The Geminids are one of the best meteor showers of the year. Cold, dry air enhances visibility, but the cold temperatures also make them one of the least-seen. The Perseids, in August, are one of the most popular, but - in the East at least - humidity sharply reduces their visibility.

So bundle up, find a spot with dark skies and a low horizon, and have a look. Evening skywatching often catches some of the best "Earth-grazers" - bright, long-lasting, low-angle meteors that skip across the top of the atmosphere like a pebble hopping across a pond. But more meteors are likely to be visible in the late evening and early morning hours. Good luck.

Posted by Admin at 11:12 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

December 9, 2004

Year's best meteor shower Monday

The best meteor shower of the year is expected to peak early next week. The Geminid meteor shower occurs each year as the Earth barrels through the debris trail left by 3200 Phaethon. Astronomers say Phaethon looks like an asteroid, but could be the husk of an old comet nucleus whose ices have been baked out by repeated close turns around the sun.

The best time to see the shower, weather permitting, will be Monday night, Dec. 13. The forecast is for partly cloudy skies.

Observers who find dark spots far from urban lights could see a few dozen to a few hundred meteors per hour. They'll all appear to fly out of the constellation Gemini, which rises in the east around sunset, and climbs to the zenith - straight overhead - by midnight. Saturn is currently in Gemini, too, always a thrilling sight in a telescope.

Have a look anytime night skies are clear in the days just before and after Monday's peak. Early evening is when you'll spot the spectacular "Earth-grazers" as low-angle meteors streak across the upper atmosphere like pebbles skipped across a pond.

Read more at this NASA site.

Posted by Admin at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

More rain, and a wet rush hour

Looks like a rainy rush hour tonight, and more rain tomorrow before nicer weather, with highs in the 50s, moves in for the weekend. Here's the word from the NWS forecasters at Sterling:

"A storm system over the Mississippi Valley this morning will move
northeast into the Ohio Valley tonight. Rainfall associated with this
storm system will overspread central Virginia later this
morning and the Washington DC and Baltimore Metro areas... during the afternoon. Rain will continue through the first part of tonight... before tapering off after midnight.

"Rainfall totals associated with this storm will average one half of
an inch to one inch. While these amounts will not cause significant
flooding problems... the rain may produce ponding of water on roadways
and in low lying and poor drainage areas. The rain will also lead to
wet roads during the evening rush hour. Motorists should be prepared
for a slower evening rush hour commute.

Posted by Admin at 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

December 8, 2004

Balmy in Baltimore. Again.

The mercury at BWI reached 61 degrees Wednesday, after topping out at 62 degrees the day before. But balmy weather in December isn't really all that unusual for Baltimore. Temperatures reached 62 degrees two days before Christmas last year. And they reached the 70s on three dates in December 2001.

The record high for Dec. 7 is 77 degrees, set just six years ago, in 1998. The record for the 8th is 74, set in 1980, and the marks for Dec. 9 and 10 are 73 and 72 respectively, both established in 1966.

The record lows for those same dates are mostly far older. It was just 2 degrees on Dec, 7 two years ago. But the record lows for the 8th, 9th and 10th were all set in the 19th century - in 1882 (10 degrees), 1876 (4 degrees) and 1886 (1). Great grand-Pop always said it was colder when he was a lad. Guess the old boy was right.

Posted by Admin at 7:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: By the numbers
        

December 7, 2004

High winds this afternoon, overnight

The National Weather Service has posted high wind advisories for this afternoon west of the Chesapeake, especially in Maryland's Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. Winds will pick up in the afternoon with the passage of a strong cold front, and could gust to 45 mph. The winds will push toward the bay tonight. Behind the front: clear skies for Wednesday and Thursday. Here are the details:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC HAS ISSUED
A WIND ADVISORY UNTIL NOON WEDNESDAY.

A COLD FRONT WILL CROSS THE REGION AFTER MIDNIGHT. WINDS ALONG AND
BEHIND THE FRONT WILL BE STRONG AND GUSTY. SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL SWING
AROUND TO THE WEST...AND BRIEFLY GUST TO AROUND 45 MPH. AFTER
SUNRISE...WINDS WILL INCREASE AGAIN...TO AROUND 20 MPH...GUSTING UP
TO 50 MPH. EXPECT WINDS TO SUBSIDE DURING THE AFTERNOON.

Posted by Admin at 10:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

December 6, 2004

Staying warm in a Martian winter

It's slipping toward the southern winter on Mars, and NASA's rover Spirit is having to cope with ferociously cold weather, low sun angles (a problem for generating electric power), and even some clouds, as this page and pictures from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains.

Posted by Admin at 6:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather
        

December 3, 2004

The Chesapeake from space

Here's another striking image from NASA's Aqua Earth-observing satellite, courtesy of the Smog Blog at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. It was snapped Dec. 1.

Scroll down the screen and click on "December 2004." Now scroll down past all the California and Midwest stuff to the item about "High wind, clear sky" in Baltimore. Click on the photo at left. You can enlarge it a bit by moving your cursor over the picture, then clicking on the icon that appears in the lower right-hand corner.

Clouds obscure much of Maryland, but most of the Chesapeake Bay is visible, as is the Potomac River. Notice all the brown sediment running into the Potomac, the upper Chesapeake and some waters on the Eastern Shore.

Posted by Admin at 2:48 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Cool pictures
        

Baltimore sunsets are now at their earliest

Baltimore is now experiencing the earliest sunsets of the year. Beginning Thursday Dec. 2, the sun began setting at 4:43 p.m. That schedule will continue until the 12th, when it will finally begin setting later, and keeping the afternoons a bit lighter each day.

Mornings, unfortunately, will stay dark for a while longer. The sun continues to rise a bit later each morning until Dec. 28. On that date through Jan. 2, it will pop over the horizon at 7:26 a.m., the latest sunrises of the year. Then, thankfully, the mornings will begin brightening earlier each morning until June. To see all the sunrise/sunset data for your location, click here.

Posted by Admin at 2:24 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

Spectacular solar movies

Ever wonder what we're talking about when we write about "solar weather"? Well, movies are worth a thousand words. Here are some amazing clips from SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) satellite. SOHO, a cooperative project of NASA and the European Space Agency, is stationed a million miles sunward from Earth, staring steadily at Old Sol.

Some of the clips show the sun popping off like a string of firecrackers during late October 2003, blasting billions of tons of atomic particles and magnetic energy into space. Marylanders witnessed the results when the debris reached Earth and the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) lighted up the evening sky.

There are also movie images of Comet NEAT flying past the sun. You can even see the background stars drifting to the right as the Earth moves along its orbit. And there's the planet Venus (I think) - the bright "star" orbiting to the left around the backside of the sun.

Posted by Admin at 11:41 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

December 1, 2004

November ends warm and wet

Forecasters have closed the weather books on November 2004, a month that ended 3 degrees warmer than normal with nearly 2 inches of surplus rain.

Rainfall totalled just over 5 inches for the month. The average temperature was 48.5 degrees. The extremes ranged from 71 degrees on Nov. 7th, to 26 degrees just three days later, on the 10th. There were 6 clear days and 13 rated cloudy. The peak wind at BWI was 45 mph, on Thanksgiving Day. Here's the full rundown.

Posted by Admin at 2:14 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Winds reach 58 mph in Maryland

Wind gusts to 58 mph have raked the region today. Here is a report from the National Weather Service at Sterling:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
122 PM EST WED DEC 1 2004

...PRELIMINARY PEAK WIND GUSTS OVER 40 MPH SO FAR FROM ACROSS THE
NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION AND OTHER NEARBY AREAS FOR TODAYS WIND
EVENT...

TIME LOCATION PEAK WIND GUST

Posted by Admin at 2:03 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Events
        
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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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