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February 9, 2010

Round 2 starts by mid-afternoon

Ready or not, here comes the region's second bout of brutal winter weather in five days. The National Weather Service says Central Maryland should expect the next two-day snowstorm will get underway sometime in mid-afternoon Tuesday.

It should start slowly, like the last storm, with no more than an inch or two east of the mountains before dark this evening. But then the storm will gather strength over the ocean off Cape Hatteras, pumping more Atlantic moisture into the equation overnight.

The forecast calls for 6 to 10 inches by daybreak at BWI, followed by 5 to 9 inches more during the day Wednesday. The heaviest snowfall should occur Wednesday morning, forecasters say. The peak should be early in the afternoon as colder air moves in, the atmosphere becomes more unstable and heavy snow bands move through.   

The Winter Storm Warnings first posted on Monday still call for 10 to 20 inches of new snow at BWI by Wednesday night, on top of the 24 inches or more that fell Friday and Saturday. Winter Storm Warnings for this impressive storm are also posted for Northern Virginia, all of Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as parts of 10 other states. 

Still diggingFor the weather geeks among us:

2 inches of new snow at BWI will establish this as the snowiest winter season since Baltimore began keeping snow records in 1883.

11 inches of new snow will make this the snowiest February and the snowiest month on record for the city.

- 18.2 inches of new snow will mark the third time this season we have received snow equivalent to our average annual snowfall - in a single storm.

- 26.6 inches of snow at BWI (God help us) would make this the deepest two-or-three-day snowfall for Baltimore, the longest recognized by the National Weather Service.

28.3 inches of new snow would beat the four-day accumulation during the series of storms on Feb. 15-18, 2003 - the deepest accumulation for any storm or series of storms on the official record.

Could it really get that deep? Maybe, if you believe some of the other forecasters in the area.

Mr. Foot's student team at (I managed to make that a "" in the paper School buses snowed intoday; been working too hard) is calling for 22.5 inches by midnight Wednesday at the Maryland Science Center, with less as you go south from the city.

They think the moisture content of this storm will be as high as 18-to-1, with 1.5 inches of rain equivalent on the way. If so, their forecast accumulation is conservative. has us in a 6-to-12-inch band, with more close by to our northeast. "Over a foot of snow will bring travel to a standstill along the I-95 corridor from Baltimore to New York City, where blizzard conditions could develop," they say.

The National Hydrometeorological Prediction Center says:


(Top: AP Photo, Carolyn Kaster/Bottom: SUN PHOTO- Barbara Haddock Taylor)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:44 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Forecasts


I feel like we're in the Candid Camera version of the Book of Job. Or maybe it's the other way around . . . ?

I'm in northern Carroll County, right at the PA line. The forecast high for us was 28, but it got to 45 at about 1 PM (verified on two thermometers), and is now 42 at almost 2 PM, with snow falling. We're at an elevation of about 800 feet, so perhaps we're poking up into some warmer air.

FR: Pretty odd. It's 32 at Frederick, 34 here at The Sun, 34 at Aberdeen, 31 at York. I'd say you have two bad thermometers, or two good ones in bad locations.

Bmore, D.C., Philly or NYC - Who do you think will get hit with the worst of this storm system?

FR: Baltimore. Sorry.

It started snowing here in north Baltimore at 2:00 on the dot.

By Anthony R. Wood

Inquirer Staff Writer

"People think this is unusual. It is," said Paul Kocin, a winter-storm specialist. He is a meteorologist at National Weather Service headquarters outside snowbound Washington, where white houses are everywhere these days.

As unbelievable as it might seem, meteorologically, at least, the storm that will affect the area from tonight through tomorrow might be more potent than the weekend two-foot special.

"This one, actually, in terms of intensification, is going to make the last one look like a baby," Kocin said.

God, if you're listening, PLEASE send global warming right now!

six weeks till baseball season

Baltimore City Schools just sent its employees a mass email stating that schools are closed for the rest of this week.

A ray of hope came this morning that totals could be a little lighter. The 7am (12z) NAM model came in keeping areas south and west of Baltimore to less than an 1" liquid and the 1.5" bulls eye moved north of the Mason Dixon.

Then the little voice sez-yea but the GFS has been for more steady in its handling of the system and it still clocks us in the 12Z run- giving Harford and Cecil over 1.5" liquid and Baltimore City and points north and east with 1.25-1.5".

The smug little &%*& inside my head also reminded me that the 15Z(10am) SREF looks a lot more like the GFS and its ensembles than the NAM. Ditto the Canadian model.

Then the voice of doom dropped this happy reminder... the GFS has been cranking up some hefty verticle velocities Wed morning just as the 850 temps start to drop, leading to the chance of thundersnow with liquid to snow ratios of 15-20:1. So that our period of heaviest snow intensity might occur when snow to liquid ratios are highest.

I smacked myself for even thinking that.
But its no use. That ray of hope is looking kinda dim right now...

Baltimore City gets 14-20"

Northern Baltimore:16-22"

Harford/Northern Cecil: 18-24"

Carroll: 10-18"

Frederick: 8-12"

Howard: 12-18"

AA Co Annapolis North: 14-20"

AA South/ Calvert/PG- 10-16"

Charles, St. Mary's: 6-12"

DC: 8-14"

Arlington to Leesburg:7-14"

Hope the winds stay down below 40 mph like the NWS predicts or there will be nasty blowing and drifting along with ice tray down your shorts wind chills.


We left BWI just in time and want you all to know that we southerners from SC are praying for you all and thinking of you! We were there for my appointments with Johs Hopkins and are grateful, but equally grateful to be back home! Again, sending many warm thoughts your all's way!

Sean O'Donnell, this is global warming -- or, more accurately, climate change. These are the consequences. Extreme weather disruptions.

FR: Or, more precisely, this is consistent with the predictions of climate change theory. These individual weather events are the result of many factors, including climate, weather, and big and little cycles such as El Nino, the North Atlantic Oscillation and more. You can't, or shouldn't really point to climate change as the proximate "cause" of any of them. But the more frequent the weather extremes like this (droughts, too) we see around the globe, the more valid the theory would appear to be.

ty beth. Hey frank i live in northern baltimore and its 39 here? verified by around 10 thermemoters in the neighborhood? is it supposed to cool down?

FR: Yes. I have no idea why you're getting such warm readings. It's 33 here at Calvert & Centre. Should be in the upper 20s tonight, turning colder tomorrow. Don't worry. You'll get plenty of snow.

It got up to 38 here in Annapolis, and yes, we have accurate thermometers. They were wrong on the temperature forecast, and I'm hoping they are wrong about this storm.

I've learned not to get caught up in the weather forecasts. Some are saying 6-12, others 10-20, still others, more than two feet.

No one has this down to a science. But since everyone else wants to get into the weather predicting business, I'll say Annapolis gets 13 inches.

When the storm is all over and you find yourself having to scrape after you've brushed off the snow....STOP for a second. When I lived in North Dakota, I knew there had to be a better way to do this. There is. Start your car. Turn on the defroster on the HIGHEST setting. Let your car run for 10-15 minutes or longer. The inside of the car will get nice and warm and that ice will slowly melt. The rest is easy. If this works when it's 25 below in North Dakota, it'll work great at 25 above in Maryland.

And if your car won't start, then you can put down the scraper until later!

FR: Just be sure to clear the space around the exhaust before you turn on the engine.

We starting to look like upstate NY with all this snow.....and also we getting these storms at the same pace as New Orleans getting Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I hope we have a blistering hot summer.

To folks who use this winter to discredit global warming: remember that for precipitation to occur you need a warm, moist (relatively) air mass to hit a cold front. Perhaps global warming is providing the warm front.

We also experienced moderate melting today, which helped to get an inch or two of snow off of the roof. It wasn't really supposed to get above freezing today. Since the sun really wasn't out today, the only way we could have experienced any melting is is the temp had gotten over freezing.

Frankly (pun intended), I'm more worried about the winds than the snow from this storm.

This is basically going to be equivalent to a winter tropical storm.

I saw several flocks of geese flying over and I'm starting to think I should have joined them. They were probably saying, "We're getting the hell out of here!"

I still think this is preferable to those awful humid 90 degree days in August...

Hey Stormy Day Friend,

I thought this was Frank's blog? It seems you're making it your own.

FR: Stormy's okay. Just a bit windy.

Is the city taking any precautions against flooding? Could flooding (due to all this snow melting, if it melts fast instead of slow) end up being a huge problem?

FR: It could be a huge problem if the meltdown is swift - with a few days of 60-degree weather, or a big rainstorm. Not sure what "precautions" the city could take. It would be wise for everyone to take some initiative and make sure the storm drains near their homes are clear of snow and ice. I remember, a week after the 2003 blizzard, digging in the rain to open a channel behind our townhomes so a torrent of meltwater could flow into the storm drain. It had threatened to back up into the basement. No local government could ever get to them all.

I would urge readers to take a look at Meg Fairfax Fielding's excellent blog Pigotwn Design, specifically her post called "Salvation," the photos there, and the comments on it. Meg lives in a small rowhouse on a tiny street in Pigtown, a situation that perfectly exemplifies why removing this snow is such a monumental task.

I emphasize again that city workers are busting their behinds trying to keep up with this, but it's an extraordinary, extraordinary event, and it's insane to expect that the city should be able to magically get rid of all this snow easily or quickly.

Hey Stormy Day Friend,

I thought this was Frank's blog? It seems you're making it your own.

Nope not at all. I like Frank and his work a lot. I'll try not to be so windy.

Sorry if I offended you Dave.

Have a good one.

I say we find the groundhog and have a little conversation...

I live in Tucson,Arizona and am glad to read this blog to keep up on the weather and going ons that my family there are going through. We get our snow here and the town goes crazy clogging up the one road to our mountain so that they can play in the snow. So you can shipped some of that snow over here and we will take care of it to help prevent flooding problems for you.

The last major storm I remember when I lived there before joining the Air Force was the one in 1979. As a 16 yr it was awesome! Now if I was there it would be a big pain. LOL!!

Stay safe all of you!

The grounhog saw his shadow and it's 6 more feet of winter.

Woke up early for some reason...just checked regional radar and the storm looks mostly to our North missed us? (would be fine with me...or is it wishful thinking...?)

FR: The latter. The storm is unfolding pretty much as predicted. More to come.

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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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