« 44-foot waves, 203-mph gusts; Typhoon Nida roars | Main | 2009 Atlantic hurricane season ends today »

November 29, 2009

Will we get snow on Dec. 5?

It's that time of year again, when the WeatherBlog speculates about the chances for snow on Dec, 5. Why Dec. 5?

Well, because we've noticed a curious pattern - or coincidence - about some of the earliest snowfalls in Baltimore. It's just this: In five of the last seven years, Baltimore-Washington First snow WeatherDeckInternational Thurgood Marshall Airport has recorded snow - at least a trace of snow - on Dec. 5. And it's snowed in six of the last seven years if you fudge the criteria a bit and include Dec. 6.

Here are the stats:

2008:  None  (but we got 0.6 inch on the 6th)

2007:  4.7 inches

2006:  Trace

2005:  1.4 inches (and another 1.9 inches on the 6th)

2004:  None (something went terribly wrong)

2003:  3.0 inches (and another 3.8 inches on the 6th)

2002:  7.4 inches (and a trace on the 6th).

Okay, so there's probably no real science attached to this. Call it folklore. Local folklore (it sounds nice coming off the tongue). But it fits in nicely with the season, and our inevitable anticipation of the first snowfalls.

That said, the long-range forecast for Saturday (the 5th) is not very promising: Mostly sunny with a high of 42 degrees. We may need to call for a pajama campaign to pull it off this year. Kids? Better turn those jammies inside-out this week.

If anyone has some other family snow charms that have worked for you in the past, let's hear about them. Looks like we're going to need them this year.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 8:07 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Winter weather


My grandson was convinced last year that making paper snowflakes and taping them to the windows would cause it to snow. It didn't, but it did add a festive look, while we waited for the snow.

WBAL TV had Friday night into Saturday morning at a 60% chance for snow, on the weeklong forecast this morning. My kids heard at school that a spoon under the pillow will generate at least a '2hr delay" snow, couple that with inside out PJ's and you are guaranteed a good sledding day!

the latest gfs model (november 30 12z gfs model) for saturday shows snow (from the 120 hr time frame and on)!!

FR: Doesn't show up in the 7-day forecast out of Sterling yet. They say 42 and mostly sunny. They do show "upslope snow" in the western counties this weekend. But east of the mountains - and therefore at BWI - looks dry.

Welcome to December Frank!

Looks like the countdown is on to the fabled December 5 kickoff snow in Baltimore.

This year, evidence for that potential is being monitored not just by me... but also by nearly 100 students across the Baltimore region in three different schools. It's termed the "Climate Collaborative" and the kids will be making the call this time.

If they get it right, I hope you'd consider a short article on the effort at some point this winter. The two other teachers and I are hoping to use this first storm as training for the students so they'll be ready for the "Big Kahunas" in Jan - Feb.

My birthday is December 5th, and I would be SO THANKFUL to find a way the same Dec. 5th snowfall statistics at BWI (where I live in Linthicum Heights, by the way) back farther than 5 years ... to 10 years, or even 20 years. I pray for snow on Dec 5th every year ... it's like a birthday gift from God !!

Is there a website where I can get that info?

FR: Sure. The Baltimore Sun's online weather page has a tool (called "Detailed History and Climate" and carefully hidden below the almanac data for today's date) that can provide weather data for any day at the airport back to 1948. The data set is a bit inconsistent, with more detail in more recent decades. But there is a lot there, and certainly enough for your purposes. Here's a shortcut: Good luck.

Wait a minute...2008 and 2004 were both leap years! That explains why the snow was off by a day in 2008!!!

i was told on the news that it will snow i really so want to know i want it to snow but if it dont ill be sad but ill get over it i guess

Well its Dec 5th n we have snow...way to go inside out PJ's n everyone w/spoons under there pillows.Now Im just wishing for a big storm this year.I had just had my daughter in 2003 when we had that blizzard so that was very memorable for me.So its time for another 1 just like it so my lil girls can do some real playing in the snow.

Ok, some say coincidence, but I will beg to differ. Years ago, before our 2002 snow, I was missing my dad who died long ago. I prayed and asked God to send some snow on my birthday as a "gift" in memory of him. My birthday is December 5th. That year, we got snow and as each year passed, it seemed like almost every year on Dec. 5th, we also got snow. So, of course, I was not at all surprised to come out of church today and hear someone say, "I think I see snowflakes." You can call me whatever you wish, but I will tell you that in light of the Christmas season - God sometimes answers our most benign requests...and perhaps that answer comes as mere flurries on an early December day.

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