It's been 26 years since Baltimore has seen snow in October. Maybe global warming has erased the possibility. But the fact that it CAN snow in Baltimore in October is enough to rate a mention as we welcome the new month, which starts tomorrow.
A total of nine snow events have been recorded in October, record-keeping in Baltimore began in 1871. The earliest ever recorded occurred on Oct. 9, 1895. It was just a trace, nothing measureable. And that record was matched with another trace on the same date eight years later - in 1903.
The earliest measureable snowfall was 0.3 inch, on Oct. 10, 1979. It's been much longer since we've seen any appreciable accumulation in October. The weather service records show a 1.3-inch snowfall on Oct. 19, 1940. And 2.5 inches fell on Oct. 30, 1925. That's the record for October.
I've always felt October was the prettiest month in Maryland, perhaps in a tie with April. The temperatures are comfortable, the sun is warm, the leaves are turning and we generally shed all the humidity that can make summertime unpleasant.
Average daytime highs in October - using the 30-year average at BWI - range from 73 degrees as the month opens, to 62 degrees by Halloween. The average overnight lows slide from 50 down to 39 degrees.
But it can also be pretty warm, and very cold. The record highs range from 97 degrees (on Oct. 5, 1941) to 80 degrees (Oct. 25, 1902). The record lows start at 36 degrees (Oct. 1, 1947), and slip on down to 25 degrees (on Oct. 24, 1969 and Oct. 31, 1966).
The average October produces 3.16 inches of rain. It will be interesting to see how long this current mini-drought continues into the autumn. BWI has seen just 0.67 inch of rain since Aug. 28. The wettest October day was Oct. 10, 1929, when 4.38 inches were measured in the city.
The driest October was in 1963, when only a trace was recorded at BWI. The wettest was in 1976, when 8.09 inches were measured. We'll sum up September tomorrow.
For stargazers, October promises an increasingly impressive view of the planet Mars. We're moving toward the Earth's closest approach to the Red Planet since 2003 (on Nov. 3), and the nearest we'll see it again until 2018. It's already a brilliant spectacle in the eastern sky in the late evening. It's the biggest, brightest, reddest star-like object up there. You can't miss it.
Venus will remain a bright presence in the western sky after sunset all month. Look for the crescent moon to join her on the 4th or 5th.