The REALLY big one began five years ago today
A few flakes fell on Baltimore on this date five years ago. It wasn't much - just 2.4 inches by the time it ended. But it turned out to be just a prologue to the worst snowstorm since they began keeping snow records for Baltimore in 1883.
The first snow fell on a Saturday - the weekend before President's Day. It was a nuisance, but the city handled it well. It was the forecast that worried us more. Meteorologists said a new storm was gathering steam, and threatened to dump another 7 inches or so the next day. They were a tad off in the guesstimate.
By the time that Sunday, the 16th, ended, there was another 21.8 inches of snow on top of the first storm's leavings. The airport was buried. The roof on the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore had collapsed. Cars were buried everywhere. Highways and streets were narrow, rutted paths if they were open at all. It would take most residents days to dig out, and often even more time waiting for plows to show up. And when they did, they resealed everyone's laboriously dug openings to the outside world.
And even that wasn't all. The next two days - Monday and Tuesday - saw another 4 inches accumulate, bringing the four-day total to 28.2 inches. By the time the long, snowy month finally ended, the February total came to 40.5 inches. It was the snowiest month since records began, and the second-snowiest season on the books.
You can re-read some of The Sun's coverage of the Presidents Day Weekend Storm of 2003 by clicking here. There is also a gallery of Sun photos of Marylanders battling the storm. For a listing of the greatest snowstorms on record for Washington and Baltimore, click here. There are some narratives of great Maryland winters, and a wealth of winter statistics from the NWS, here.
And we invite you to share your recollections of The Big One, by entering a comment, below.