So far this winter: 6 feet, 7 inches of snow at BWI
For a city that sees 18.2 inches of snow in the average winter (and less than 12 inches in each of the last three winters), this can only be described as a jaw-dropping season. NO ONE predicted this, and no one could have.
So far this winter - and I say "so far" because there is more snow on the horizon - Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has recorded more than 6 feet, 7 inches of snow. That is nearly four and a half times our annual average. Plenty of locations in Central Maryland saw more.
We have had three big storms averaging 21.8 inches each at BWI. Nothing like that has ever been recorded here. We have witnessed the snowiest winter, the snowiest February and the snowiest month on record for the city.
And if you can believe these guys, Baltimore has just bumped off Syracuse, N.Y. for first place as the snowiest city in the U.S. this winter. We soared from 26th place just five days ago. Washington, D.C. is 10th.
And people are complaining that their street hasn't been plowed.
Here are the seasonal numbers, all from BWI, through Feb. 10:
December: 23.2 inches
January: 7.5 inches
February: 49.2 inches
Total: 79.9 inches (6' 7.9 inches)
Previous Record: 62.5 inches, set in 2002-03
Seasonal average: 18.2 inches
Here are the BWI stats for February 2010, through Feb. 10:
Feb. 2-3 storm: 4.9 inches
Feb. 5-6 storm: 24.8 inches
Feb. 09-10 storm: 19.5 inches
Month total: 49.2 inches
Previous Feb. record: 40.5 inches (2003)
Feb. average: 6.4 inches
Here are some early reports on 24-hour snowfall from the CoCoRaHS network. Here are more from NWS weather spotters. Frederick, Carroll and Baltimore counties seem to have topped the charts, with many locations reporting two feet of snow and more from the latest storm. Some have more than four feet on the ground.
You can see more on snow cover across the country, including the snow depth map at the top of this post, here.
One more thought. We're only 11 days into February - not even halfway - but so far we are running almost 7 degrees below average for the month, at 26.6 degrees through Wednesday. We have had just one day of above-average temperatures. If we ended the month this cold, it would be the fourth-coldest February on record for Baltimore. But surely the temperatures will rise in the next two weeks. Right?
Coldest Februaries in Baltimore:
1934: 24.3 degrees
1979: 25.6 degrees
1895: 26.2 degrees
2010*: 26.6 degrees
Average: 35.5 degrees
* - Through 2/10/10
I received this today from Frank Bonincontri, a Marylander now living in Wisconsin. His view of winter weather kind of puts things in perspective for us as we continue to dig out ahead of the next storm:
Thanks for your articles. I have been reading them along with the updates and honestly can say I am in disbelief of how people seem to be “demanding” their streets be plowed down to the pavement. First off, I was born and raised in Maryland and now live in Wisconsin. As I type this, it is currently 1 degree outside. I cannot believe how much snow Maryland had received the past couple days and can only imagine how difficult it must be.
Let me give you a perspective of winter out here and what I had to learn as “normal” out here.
I moved to Wisconsin in 1997 and experienced my first snow of 12 inches all at once. After that, it snowed every other day with accumulations of 3”, 7” and another 5”.
Needless to say, I spent every outing getting stuck, digging myself out of parking lots, driveways and everywhere in between. I had flat tires and eventually ruined the transmission on my car from getting stuck so much.
I drove a family filled car of people into a ditch (at slow speed, no injury) and also while driving home from work one night thought I saw my wife’s car in a ditch. After nearly getting sideswiped to make a u-turn and navigating back down a snow filled, slippery, white-out road, I drove two miles back to find it was someone else with the same exact car.
Here are some interesting things:
Schools here are only closed normally when the wind chill is below 0 or we have VERY high wind. Last year I experienced -35 with wind chill and still went to work, only school closed for a few days.
Schools and business only close when it’s about 20 plus inches of snow, or at the owners/boss discretion. Typically if there is 5-10 inches, you’re going to work.
The roads are ALWAYS bad. Marylanders need to understand this; after a storm, the snow is plowed but there still remains another layer on top. NO MATTER WHAT. It then becomes a “road on top of the road” and even has its own potholes! The snow gets plowed, but the slush and low temps do not allow it to melt 100%. We drive on roads like this for months. My street has been like this for about a month along with the majority of all side streets. Major highways are always priority, then secondary county highways, then residential. They do get plowed in a timely manner, and are usually well prepared fleetwise.
The wind is always bad and creates your negative temps. Sun or no sun. The wind creates a lot of drifting and when you have wide open spaces (farmland surrounds my county) you drive into unexpected drifts all the time.
In Minnesota, they only use sand (instead of salt) to put down, which makes it a slush filled wonderland of slippery roads. The speed limit is also 75 on the highway.
During winter, I typically see about 8-20 cars that slid off the highway and now occupy the ditch and are buried in snow. Tractor trailers are no exception.
My heating bill is typically 300.00 and up
The lakes are frozen along with rivers etc, and everyone drives, dirt bikes, trucks, cars, snowmobiles, parties, have bands play, races, and ice fish on them. Only in Wisconsin I drove my car 80mph on a frozen lake and did doughnuts.
In closing, your best defense is to have a snow blower, a 4 wheel drive vehicle and plenty of warm clothes. I have learned that this is all normal, but still remember when it was all new, crazy, and shocking back in 1997. I thought I would never survive and believe me, it is still very difficult.
The only advice I can give to you all is after the snow has gone, and summer comes around, is first, buy a snow blower on a deal. Your back and heart will thank you for it. Second, enjoy your time off and spend it with your family or friends. Being stuck inside isn’t as bad as it used to be right? We have TV, movies, internet, music, our cell phones etc. Can you imagine back in the 1970’s when you actually had to talk to each other?
Frank in WI