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December 19, 2009

Blizzard Warning up from Arundel, south

A potentially record-breaking December snowstorm is expected to escalate to blizzard proportions in Southern Maryland today, including Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Calvert, Charles and St.NWS/NOAA Mary's counties.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: The Blizzard Warning (orange on map) has been expanded to include Harford, Howard, Baltimore, Montgomery counties and Baltimore City.

The National Weather Service issued Blizzard Warnings early this morning for that region, meaning that forecasters expect low temperatures, strong winds and blowing snow will combine to whiteout  conditions that will make travel "extremely dangerous":

"Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle."

Some will have no choice. At BWI this morning, where they were reporting 6 inches on the ground:

"BWI has had all hands on deck since last night," said Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.. Dean said dozens of flights were canceled starting last night, though a few are taking off and landing.
Airport crews are plowing runways and working to clear roads and access points, he said. The airport encourages travelers to check with their airlines before starting to drive to catch a flight, he said.
"We don't want people on the roads unnecessarily."
The storm has postponed the Ravens/Bears game. Seems the Bears' flight from Chicago was cancelled. There's more at the Ravens Insider Blog.

The National Weather Service's definition of blizzard conditions includes sustained winds of 35 mph and visibilities of less than 500 feet in falling or blowing snow, all lasting for at least three hours. Temperatures aren't an official part of the definition, but when all the other criteria are met, temperatures are likely to be below freezing anyway. And it's enough to issue a warning.Weatherdeck in Cockeysville The decision to issue the warning reflects the strong winds near the bay, not heavier snow, forecasters said.

Snow accumulations had already topped 8 and even 10 inches by daybreak today in parts of Charles and Anne Arundel counties. here's a sampling:

Bryan's Road, Charles Co.:  10 inches

Annapolis, Anne Arundel:  8.8 inches

Garrison, Baltimore Co.:  6 inches

Tracey's Landing, Calvert:  7 inches.

You get the picture. We have over 5 inches now on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville. And the forecast has the snow continuing overnight Saturday into Sunday. The heaviest snow rates are expected between  8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday.

Accumulations across the region are forecast to reach 1 to 2 feet before it's all over in the Baltimore-Washington area. That would break all December records for both cities. The record snowstorm for Baltimore was a two-day snow that dropped 14.1 inches in 1960. The snowiest December in Baltimore was in 1966, when 20 inches fell.

Here's more from the weather service:

"HEAVIEST SNOWFALL AREA WILL MOVE FROM THE CENTRAL SHENANDOAH VALLEY UP TOWARDS DC/BALTIMORE...WHERE IT WILL CONTINUE TO SNOW HEAVILY THROUGHOUT THE DAY. TOTALS NEAR 2 FEET POSSIBLE WES OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, WHERE 15" WAS REPORTED AT 1 AM...AND BY THE END OF TONIGHT NEAR 20" IN THE I-95 CORRIDOR.

"BELIEVE SNOW WILL BECOME LIGHT TONIGHT IN THE SOUTHWEST...BUT EXPECTED TO CONTINUE AT A MODERATE PACE IN I-95 CORRIDOR DURING THE EVENING HOURS. TEMPS OVERNIGHT IN 20S ACROSS THE [FORECAST AREA] - WIND CHILLS IN THE TEENS."

This storm is not to be trifled with. That National Weather Service reminds us all:

1. Travel is not recommended on Saturday. Avoid traveling alone, take a survival kit and let someone know where you're going and the route you plan to follow.

2. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle. Run the motor 10 minutes every hour for heat, but open the window for fresh air. make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice.

3. If you use a portable generator, keep the area around it well-ventilated. Do NOT use it in the house or in an attached garage.

4. Do not try to shovel snow unless you are physically fit. Hydrate yourself often with water and take frequent breaks.

5. Make sure your pets and livestock are sheltered and have plenty to eat and drink.

6. Listen to NOAA Weather radio. Stay informed.

Here's a snow forecast map from WeatherBug.com:

(SUN PHOTO/Frank Roylance/WeatherDeck station)

WeatherBug.com

Posted by Frank Roylance at 8:20 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Winter weather
        

Comments

Top O' The Morning Mr, Roylance:

(or should I say, top o' the snow pile?)

My hearty thanks and appreciation for your diligent reporting in the article and deft showcasing of the students and their accomplishments

The blizzard warning is not a surprise to those whom have been tracking all this, but I'm sure it got the attention of more than a few people across our regions.

I commend your focus on the public safety aspect of winter storms and shall be highlighting your report on the forecast site.

Safety first, people always!

Noon, western Ellicott City (bordering Woodstock): 10.5 inches. We gained 2 inches in the last 2 hrs.

Top O' The Morning Mr, Roylance:

(or should I say, top o' the snow pile?)

My hearty thanks and appreciation for your diligent reporting in the article and deft showcasing of the students and their accomplishments

The blizzard warning is not a surprise to those whom have been tracking all this, but I'm sure it got the attention of more than a few people across our regions.

I commend your focus on the public safety aspect of winter storms and shall be highlighting your report on the forecast site.

Safety first, people always!

++

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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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