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October 30, 2009

Worst October snow ever struck in 1925

Parts of Colorado are digging out from two to three feet of snow today, the worst October storm in years for the Denver area. And that's why we don't live there.

The deepest Baltimore snowstorm ever recorded in October struck on this date in 1925, killing at least one person and blinding the railbirds at Laurel Park through all seven races.

The storm dropped 1 to 3 inches of snow across the region, with an official 2.5 inches in Baltimore. That remains the deepest October snowfall on record for the city.

The storm was born in the Gulf of Mexico and intensified as it spun up the east coast. The coastal low left snow on the ground from Virginia to southern New England. 

"Below-zero weather was reported at several places in the Middle West, where all October records for seventy years were shattered," The Sun said. "West Virginia and Eastern Ohio experienced almost blizzard weather and a considerable fall of snow. Heavy damage to late crops was reported in most sections of the Middle West and lakes Region."

In Baltimore, the snow began falling around 1 p.m. and continued into the evening, even as surface temperatures remained above freezing. The previous day's high temperature of 46 degrees remains the coolest high temperature on record for an Oct. 29 in Baltimore.

George Holritter, a 70-year-old Baltimore scissors grinder, was walking in snow on Calverton Road, near Frederick Avenue, when he was struck by a coal truck and killed instantly. The driver "told the police that snow on his windshield prevented him from seeing the man in time to avoid the accident," The Sun reported.

Elsewhere in the city, Mrs. Annie Weinlich, 76, of the 700 block of West Cross St., slipped and fell in the slush and snow on South Hanover Street and broke her leg. She was taken to South Baltimore General Hospital.Snow at Laurel Park Jan. 2003

Down at Laurel Park, The Sun's racing reporter described a "blinding snowstorm which made it impossible to distinguish colors."

"Despite the fact that all the horses looked alike, whether they were finishing, starting, rounding around the first or lower bend, or going down the backstretch, their admirers cheered for their favorites anyway. Many didn't even know the winners until the official numbers were posted," The Sun said.

(Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club, Jan. 5, 2003)

Here's how The Evening Sun recounted the event, in its report the next day, on Saturday, Oct. 31, 1925:

This is the first October day in forty-nine years on which Marylanders found snow on the ground and ice over the milk bottles when they arose, says James H. Spencer, forecaster.

There was ice on the milk bottle on his porch, where his thermometer showed twenty-six degrees before the sun began to warm things up. That is four degrees below the official record of the lowest temperature in the last twenty-four hours.

Mr. Spencer drops into poetry when he isn't working over weather maps. He became poetic today in describing snow-covered lawns, houses and trees glistening under the sun.

He says he never before, in any climate, saw the gorgeous oranges, scarlets, purples and browns of October trees covered with the white mantle of winter.

This October, the Weather Man declares, has been freakish, and the snowstorm of yesterday was the climax of its weirdness ...

"Does all this verify," Mr. Spancer was asked, "the prophesies that this winter is going to be a record-breaker for snows and severe weather?"

"Not at all," he answered. "Nobody is able to guess now what the weather is going to be through the winter. There is no foundation for those stories."

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:51 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: History


I'm really hoping we get a few good snows this year. I wonder if we'll get some more snow on Dec 5th (or is it 6th) as that seams to be the lucky day that past few years.

FR: The 5th. We'll be watching.

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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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