Colder weather ahead; rain/snow mix to our west
It looks like the first forecast this fall with the words "rain/snow mix" and "winter precipitation" in it. Seems way too early, but there it is.
The forecast discussion for Central Maryland, posted this morning by the National Weather Service forecast office out at Sterling, is predicting lows in the mid- to upper-30s Thursday and Friday nights for the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge mountains to our west. By Friday night into Saturday morning, there will be enough moisture and low-enough temperatures out there to produce a snow/rain mix at high elevations.
Down here in the lowlands, we're looking at a low close to 40 degrees by Saturday morning, with up to a quarter-inch of rain as storm systems approach from the Ohio Valley late this week, and a Georgia low moves up the coast.
In the meantime, the weather service has posted frost advisories for Washington and Allegany counties tonight, including the cities of Hagerstown, Frostburg and Cumberland, where lows are expected to dip into the 30s. There are freeze warnings up for Garrett County.
The cold weather comes to us courtesy of a slow-moving high-pressure system that is settling over the Great Lakes. The clockwise flow around the high will be drawing cold, dry air our way on north winds out of Canada. Friday's forecast high for Baltimore is only 49 degrees. If that holds up, it would be the first time since April 15 we've failed to break 50 degrees.
It was 42 degrees this morning out on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville. The house was 68, which was enough to drive us to plug in the electric blanket. But the furnace remains silent. It's our goal to keep it that way until Nov. 1. You?
The good news is that the US Dept. of Energy is forecasting lower prices this winter for fuel oil and natural gas. AccuWeather.com reports that the cost of heating homes nationally will be 8 percent lower this season. It's down 12 to 14 percent for natural gas and propane.
(SUN PHOTO/Doug Kapustin/McHenry, Md., October 2005)