70 by Saturday no record
The National Weather Service is predicting a high near 70 degrees on Saturday. That would sure be a welcome gift as we near the end of winter, a chance to take a long walk in the woods, down by the harbor or along a beach somewhere. Area bike trails will surely be busy as well. But we would not be breaking a record for the date.
We could come fairly close, though. If the skies are very clear, and the forecast is just 5 or 6 degrees too low, we could tie or break the 75-degree record high for Baltimore on a Mar. 11. That mark has stood for 46 years - since 1960. And, it's low-hanging fruit - the coolest record daily high for the whole month.
Most of the record daily highs are in the 80s by this time of year. We even reached 90 degrees - once - on Mar. 29, 1945. The biggest March heat wave in recent memory was in 1990, when daily records were set at Baltimore-Washington International Airport for four days in a row - Mar. 12-15. It was 86 degrees, 85, 81 and 82 degrees on those dates, respectively.
March 1990 remains the fourth-warmest since 1979, with an average temperature of 47.6 degrees. Baltimore's warmest Marches were:
1945: 55.7 degrees
1921: 54.6 degrees
1946: 53.0 degrees
1929: 50.2 degrees
1977: 50.0 degrees
The warmth of that March in 1921 ended rather quickly, and unpleasantly. Here's how the weather service remembers it:
"An early spring abruptly ended when a cold front passed through on the afternoon of March 28 and brought the greatest 24 hour temperature change to the state. Strong northwest winds ushered in the cold air and gave snow to Garrett County.
"On March 27, Westernport in Allegany County hit 90 F and Hancock in Washington County hit 91 F. By the 30th, Hancock would fall to 18 F. In Washington, it was 82 F at noon on the 28th, but after wind gusts to 50 mph behind the cold front, the temperature had fallen to 26 F by the morning of the 29th. A fall of 56 F in just 18 hours.
"It was typical across the state. The greatest temperature change of 67 F occurred at State Sanatorium in Frederick County. In College Park, the temperature fell from 83 F to 25 F and reached a minimum of 20 F on the 30th. The warm temperatures early in the year caused an early bloom on the fruit trees in the state. March was the warmest on record at the time. The sudden downfall of temperatures at the end of March into early April caused great damage to the crop (several millions of dollars - 1921 dollars) for the year."