A touch of spring by Monday
It was a pretty frosty morning. Temperatures dropped to 24 here at Calvert & Centre streets, and into the teens out on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville. The official low was 18 degrees at BWI. But there's spring in the forecast.
Once we get past some rain late today and tomorrow, the sun will return on Sunday. And when that high-pressure system slides off the coast, we will fall under a more southerly flow around the back side of its clockwise circulation. That will push temperatures to a seasonable 50 degrees on Sunday and near 60 on Monday, under sunny skies.
The average high for Baltimore at this time of year is 49 degrees.
That should bring a lot of us out of hibernation. My wife is already after me to rake the rest of the oak leaves out of the front flower beds, to give the bulb shoots some breathing room. Plenty of litter to pick up, too, after high winds in the last few days got into the trash at the curb. They should outlaw styrofoam peanuts.
So, are we done with snow for the season?
The weather statistics are not entirely reassuring.
Snowfall has topped 10 inches in March in six years since they started keeping track of snow in Baltimore in 1883. The historic, record storm for March, of course, was the infamous Palm Sunday Snowstorm, on Mar. 29-30, 1942. That one surprised the region with more than 20 inches of wet snow on bulbs and blossoms. Baltimore measured 22 inches. Anyone out there remember it?
Here's how the National Weather Service describes it:
"The storm began as rain but changed over to a wet heavy snow. The snow stuck to power lines, trees and shrubs damaging them under its weight. Many of the fruit trees had begun to blossom.
"Over 20 inches fell over northern Anne Arundel, Howard, Southern and western Baltimore County, Carroll County, eastern and northern Frederick County, and north-central Washington County. Maximum amounts reported were 31 inches at Clear Springs (just 12 days earlier the temperature had reached 79�F here), 32 inches at Westminister, 30 to 36 inches at State Sanatorium (Frederick County) and 36 inches at Edgemont (Washington County).
"Baltimore City received its greatest snow in 20 years with 22 inches measured. Hagerstown and Westminister reported 22 inches in 24 hours. Frederick had 17 inches in 24 hours. Washington, DC received a total of 11.5 inches of snow."
We also still run the risk of strong spring nor'easters - even without snow. Old-timers may recall the "Storm of the Century" on Mar. 6-7, 1962 that tore into the beach resorts on the Maryland and Delaware shores. And that was just a piece of the coastal devastation that occurred from the Carolinas to New England.
That storm struck during a new moon, and unusually high, storm-driven tides swept waves across the barrier islands to the bays. Water and waves, and floating debris demolished the boardwalks and many homes and hotels along the beach. Winds gusted to hurricane force. High water and waves flooded everything in 2 to 5 feet of salt water. And each high tide brought more damage. Cars were buried in shifting sands. Firefighters, the Coast Guard and National Guardsmen worked to rescue stranded residents.
Police and armed Guardsmen with fixed bayonets also stood watch over splintered homes and businesses to prevent looting.
Could this happen again? Does anyone out there remember this storm? Drop a comment here and share your recollections.