« Cold enough, and wet enough, but ... | Main | "Annular" eclipse photos show "ring of fire" »

January 26, 2009

Winter storm will start Tuesday as snow

This morning's snow flurries and showers demonstrate that the weather pattern that has set up around us is capable of delivering some snow. And it will in the next two days.

But this is not our ideal snow-making scenario. Temperatures will slide past the freezing mark as the events unfold. Accumulations throughout this period will be small, and what starts as snow late on Tuesday will morph into freezing rain and finally rain by lunchtime on Wednesday.

But it will look enough like a real winter that the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of Maryland north and west of Baltimore and Washington, including their Arundel, PG and Montgomery county suburbs. The watch begins around 6 p.m. Tuesday and continues into the early evening on Wednesday. It calls for  the familiar, and always popular "wintry mix." 

Here's the official forecast for BWI. Here's how sees it.

More immediately today, light snow showers are expected to continue off and on as weak disturbances track along the jet stream track that is flowing west-to-east along the stalled boundary between cold air to our north, and warmer, wetter air to the south. Nobody expects any accumulation out if this early phase of the week's winter weather. We may even catch a few glimpses of sun and sky between the clouds.

The next of these little stormlets will barrel through later tonight, with more light snow after midnight. This one will be a bit stronger than today's, so we may get an inch - maybe two - on the ground during the day on Tuesday. The overnight low at BWI is forecast at 24 degrees. Tuesday's forecast high is 30 degrees

Late on Tuesday, and into Wednesday, the pace picks up a bit more, but so does the temperature. Forecasters think the next low to roll along the frontal boundary will track to our north and west, from West Virginia into southwestern Pennsylvania. A secondary low is likely to form off the Delmarva coast. That will draw more warm, wet air into the region from the south, raising temperatures aloft and - depending on how much cold air hangs on at the surface - changing our precip from snow to freezing rain and plain rain during the day on Wednesday. The forecast high for BWI is 34. Here's a clip from this morning's forecast discussion from Sterling:

"The exact details of of the timing and track of this system are not exactly certain at this time," the forecasters caution. "And that will play a significant role in [precipitation] type. The main threat appears to be snow and ice near the Mason Dixon Line, with snow and ice changing to rain near the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas into Central Virginia."

However it works out for us, the storms should move off the coast late on Wednesday, drawing colder air from the north in its wake. That could end the event with more snow showers. Thursday looks sunny, but temperatures will continue to run below seasonal norms, as they have since mid-month. The next cold front passes by on Friday, kicking up a coastal storm that forecaster don't believe will affect us.

Sunny but cold is the prescription for the weekend.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:20 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Forecasts



Since it always seems to take one decent snow for people around here to remember how to drive in it, I envision chaos and mayhem out on the Beltway. Maybe it will only take me three hours to get home from work. But at least the icy conditions will lower average speeds to around 70mph - in the slow lane, that is. Come on Spring!!

Confound and bebother these conditions that are so inhospitable to Baltimore snow! A pox on this "wintry mix" nonsense! Significant accumulation or bust! I WILL NOT STAND FOR THESE SNOWLESS WINTERS MUCH LONGER!!

I personally am not that fearful when I hear the word snow, maybe the icy stuff, but even that doesn't make me panic. I moved here from Michigan last year, I giggle when I hear people at stores around here panicing, lol. Todd, if you're in need of snow...last year I lived in Michigan, we had from 7 am to 10 am 28 inches of snow fall...try driving in that, lol.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

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

Sign up for FREE weather alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for weather text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Maryland Weather Center

Area Weather Stations
Resources and Sun coverage
• Weather news

• Readers' photos

• Data from the The Sun's weather station

• 2011 stargazers' calendar

• Become a backyard astronomer in five simple steps

• Baltimore Weather Archive
Daily airport weather data for Baltimore from 1948 to today

• National Weather Service:
Sterling Forecast Office

• Capital Weather Gang:
Washington Post weather blog

• CoCoRaHS:
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Local observations by volunteers

• Weather Bug:
Webcams across the state

• National Data Buoy Center:
Weather and ocean data from bay and ocean buoys

• U.S. Drought Monitor:
Weekly maps of drought conditions in the U.S.

• USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
Real-time data on earthquakes

• Water data:
From the USGS, Maryland

• National Hurricane Center

• Air Now:
Government site for air quality information

• NWS Climate Prediction Center:
Long-term and seasonal forecasts

• U.S. Climate at a Glance:
NOAA interactive site for past climate data, national, state and city

• Clear Sky Clock:
Clear sky alerts for stargazers


• Hubblesite:
Home page for Hubble Space Telescope

• Heavens Above:
Everything for the backyard stargazer, tailored to your location

• NASA Eclipse Home Page:
Centuries of eclipse predictions

• Cruise Critic: Hurricane Zone:
Check to see how hurricanes may affect your cruise schedule

• Warming World:
NASA explains the science of climate change with articles, videos, “data visualizations,” and space-based imagery.

• What on Earth:
NASA blog on current research at the space agency.
Most Recent Comments
Blog updates
Recent updates to news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected