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February 10, 2010

NWS: Intense storm likened to a Cat.1 hurricane

The howling winds, swirling snow and plummeting visibility that drove plow drivers off the highways today are being driven by an intensifying offshore low-pressure system that meteorologists are likening to a Cat. 1 hurricane.

Winds topped 58 mph over part of the Chesapeake Bay, and 40 mph gusts were common across the region as the storm's center deepened and drifted slowly along the mid-Atlantic coast, AccuWeather.comforecasters said. 

"They have hurricane-force wind warnings up for that sector of the ocean, so for all intents and purposes, it's a ... Category 1 hurricane," said meteorologist Bryan Jackson, at the National Weather Services's forecast office in Sterling, Va.

Barometric pressure readings from an offshore buoy in the area sank to 28.93 inches, Jackson said. That deep low, along with the relative warmth of the offshore ocean waters, provided the energy that intensified the storm and drove the day's winds.

"We had some tropical storm-force winds for the southern part of the bay, off Solomons Island," Jackson said. Winds in Manassas, Va., gusted to 57 mph during a morning squall. An elementary school in Frederick County recorded a 52-mph gust, and a Reisterstown station reported a gust to 44 mph during the morning.

At BWI, winds gusted as high as 40 mph. Such winds and low visibilities created blizzard conditions, Jackson said, but until meteorologists can determine how long those conditions were sustained, they won't be able to put a "blizzard" label on the storm.

Asked to compare this storm with the 24.8-inch blizzard on Friday and Saturday, Jackson said the weekend storm carried more moisture. "That's why places will hit two feet [of snow] with this one, where they were getting two-and-a-half to close to three feet" over the weekend.

But "this one was certainly windier," he said, and for that reason "this has been more hazardous. They're reporting that plows were being pulled off the roads with snow squalls going through. It's just too dangerous having people on the roads."

"These are the most hazardous conditions of the winter, and it's been a very hazardous winter," he said.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:21 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Winter weather


I'm hearing that this thing is stalled. Any truth to that?

Also, it was good to hear you on public radio the other day along with Mr Foot. That was some good info.

FR: Thanks. It's slow, but not stalled. Barometer is rising again, so it's going away. Sunshine Thursday.

Snow has stopped falling here in west-central MoCo.

i normally think of politicians as "gangsters in suits" which comes from my uncle bud.
but i like martin o'malley:

Gov. Martin O'Malley gave a blunt warning to state residents that local governments will not be able to scrape their streets down to the pavement anytime soon.

Addressing citizens who have been complaining about the progress of plowing, he said: "Stop already with the, 'Scrape my street down to the pavement.' That cannot happen for the next 72 hours."

Frank, when do you thin we'll see the grass again?

FR: By Easter. I guarantee it.

It's just like August back home...

Frank, some of your Twitterers (or is it Tweeters?) are hilarious! Methinks we have many poets out there, or great vaudeville acts. This one just appeared:

Wed, Feb 10 at 5:54 pm: Although unplanned, I'm so glad 2010 has allowed me to experience life on the Hoth planet #mdsnow #snowpacalypse

I'm sorry there's no attribution (or I don't know how to see it at any rate, not being on Twitter). These people are very clever. Maybe a contest when this is all over? You could give out prizes.

Frank thanks for being such a trooper throughout this storm. Your blog was most helpful in keeping track of what was going on and what to expect. Hats off to the amazing Mr Foot and his team as well.
Another snowstorm Monday? Now THAT is insane.

FR: Quite a day. Blogging since 6 a.m., Tweeting, writing for the AM paper, on Rodricks' show at noon, shoveling the deck, the front steps, pouring hot water onto the heat pump to get it running again. Man, I'm whipped. Thanks for reading the WeatherBlog, but I sure hope things calm down soon..

Time for 3 orange whips. Eh Mr. Frank?

Thanks for the great coverage. It's been my go-to weather resource for the past week.

FR: Thanks, Jay Jay.

Yes - a big thank you Frank! You've been a source of information (and comfort!) to many of us!

FR: Thanks!

Only slightly off-topic: If you're pouring water on the heatpump, you'd be better served to switch it over to Emergency Heat and let it thaw on its own. It's too cold to run it under normal operations right now, anyway. Believe it or not, it's cheaper to run it on Emergency right now than to leave it running normal, anyway. Might want to have the unit checked once things settle down a bit, as well. Luck!

FR: Good advice. Thanks. We've been running it on emergency heat for several days. Seems to be okay now.

Thank you, Frank! You've done yeoman's duty (as have so many of the city workers, BGE crews, nurses, medics, bus drivers, police, fire, on and on). I'm drinking a nice Gavi; wish I could offer you some! But perhaps you, too, are enjoying a well-deserved drink right about now. Fingers crossed all our roofs hold up.

FR: Thanks! In the sack early, watching a very creepy Richard Widmark flik. Back tomorrow..

Thanks for al the info the past few days; very helpful and informative, indeed! Not sure where I am on the issue of global warming, climate change, whatever it is called now (way too much completely contradictory info for an open-layman to have an opinion) but I'll say this: these past few days have been historic. I love the snow, love the way it can slow us down (or should) as a society, giving us a chance to spend time with loved ones, enjoying the power and glory of God's handiwork (or Mother Nature's power, for those who go that way). You're my go to source for weather info. Keep it up! Noticed that 25% of the biggest storms in recorded Balto history have been in March; just sayin'. Hey, it's only Feb. 10.

I want to add my thanks too. i stumbled on your blog last week and have bookmarked it for up-to-the-hour regional info.. you did great work, and it's much appreciated. Enjoy your movie, you deserve it!

Frank, I also thank you for everything you've done with this blog over the past few weeks and for introducing me to Mr. Foot. You have been my go to source for these storms, which I hope will go somewhere else real soon!

Ron, I agree with you on the O'Malley statements. I am NOT a fan of his normally, but we were whooping and cheering during his press conference. I'm not letting my friends who haven't really been plowed since Friday know that, but for once I really agreed with him.

I must give Kudos to the NWS. For the first time in my memory, they called snow totals correctly more than 24 hrs before the first flake fell. I could nit pick that the 10"-20" they called for was exceeded in alot of areas, but I think most areas fell into the high end of their range.

Great blog! Heat pump, hilarious... Do they still allow builders to put those in homes?

I want to know if you had any thunder snow!?! I experienced thunder snow 2 times when living in Md but I think it was in March during snow storms.

FR: Have not heard about any T-snow for this latest storm, but we did have some during the weekend storm.

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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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