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December 9, 2008

Weather Channel launches "Top Ten" series

Sun Photo/Lloyd FoxMy daughter used to be addicted to The Weather Channel. She switched it on as she was getting dressed, and fell under the spell of the goofy background music they play during the "Local on the 8's" segment. (An odd child... Me, I'm partial to the AccuWeather bloopers page.)

Okay, so TWC production values are a little sketchy, but when bad weather threatens, it's good to dial them up. 

This week, TWC is airing its "Top Ten Weather Events of 2008" series. They're not saying in advance exactly what they are. They want you to watch, of course. But the first - No. 10 on their list - aired last night. It was the March 14 tornado that struck downtown Atlanta. (The rest will air during the 7-8 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. hours, weeknights through the 19th.)

You know Hurricane Ike, the one that cleared parts of the Texas coast near Galveston, killed dozens and caused billions in damage a couple of months back, will be a contender (if not a shoo-in) for No. 1. TWC meteorologist Mike Bettes has his own list, which looks like a reasonable one for 2008.

How about an All-time Top Ten Weather Events list for Maryland? Here's a start, right off the top of my head. Feel free to rearrange them, or submit your own favorites.

1. Tropical Storm Agnes June 1972Sun Photo/John Makely (for sheer destructive power and lasting impact, here and elsewhere).

2. Blizzard of February 2003 (right) (For beauty, civic disruption and inspiring community spirit).

3. Tropical Storm Isabel September 2003 (For damage, surprise and surreal images).

4. Hurricane Hazel 1954 (Much like Isabel).

5. Great Hurricane of 1933 (the one that cut the inlet at Ocean City and changed everything for the resort).

6. Drought of 2001-2002 (For duration, crop losses, mandatory water restrictions).

7. The Knickerbocker Storm, January 1922 (98 fatalities in theater collapse in DC).

8. Heat wave, August 1918 (For 100+ days and sheer misery pre-air conditioning).

9. Ice storms of January-February 1994 (For the icy misery that wouldn't stop).

10. La Plata tornado, April 2002 (Top photo; for power, speed and staggering destruction).

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:51 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Events


Blizzard of '79! This was a HUGE event in my childhood. And that picture above looks like my neighborhood. Is that Hampden?

FR: Hampden it is. Powers Street near Elm, Feb. 18, 2003.

I think the blizzard of '96 deserves at least a footnote. All of the schools did not budget enough snow days and we (school kids at the time) were forced to have extended hours AND a few extra days.

FR: I actually had included the 1996 storm, but dropped it so I could include a non-winter event - the La Plata tornado. The NWS ranks it as Baltimore's 4th worst storm since 1891.

How about that small earthquake that occurred on December 9, 2003? I would add it simply for diversity.

I remember being at home (in Silver Spring, MD) and everything shaking for about 10 - 15 seconds and then wondering "what the heck was that?!". Then I found out later that it was a small earthquake.

That made me fearful for people that experience REAL earthquakes...

(here's the link)

How can you leave off Tropical Storm Floyd in 1999? I think Chestertown got something like 19 inches of rain in a 24-hour period - and wasn't there serious flooding up on the Elk River in Cecil County?

I would include the Blizzard of 1979, not just for the weather event itself (1996 was much worse) but also the aftermath. If you don't remember or wern't here, a segment of the city's population lost it's mind when it was realized that the police were immobilized. Imagine the post-Katrina looting in New Orleans, except with 3-4 ft of snow. I felt ashamed to be black that day.

Ugh... I remember the ice storms of 93-94. I lived on a hill and didn't always use my car. The hill would thaw a little during the day and then freeze back up as the sun went down. My tires were frozen in this mess. It was always an adventure getting to and from the front door.

Wow, I moved to B'more from Ohio in 1993 and have been here for 5 of the top 10!

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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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