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November 4, 2010

NWS plans fewer winter weather alerts in Allegany

Hardy Allegany County residents just seem to deal with wintry weather without paying much attention to the stuff, much less caring about how the weather forecasters choose to define it.Snow in Frostburg

But the National Weather Service is acknowledging the frequency of bad winter weather in Western Maryland's mountain stronghold by requiring slightly more dire forecasts before they'll issue winter weather watches and warnings. The change puts the county into the same class as Garrett County just to the west.

Until now, the forecast for Allegany County - and for the rest of Maryland east of there - had to call for 2 inches of snow in 12 hours before the folks in Sterling would issue a Winter Weather Advisory. As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the criterion for Allegany (also Grant, Mineral and Pendleton counties in W. Va., and Highland County in Va.) will be 3 inches in 12 hours.

Similarly, the threshold for a Winter Storm Watch will be a 50 percent chance of seeing 6 inches over 12 hours (instead of 5), or 8 inches over 24 hours (instead of 7). An 80 percent chance would trigger a Winter Storm Warning.

Chris Strong, the warning coordination meteorologist at Sterling, said the thresholds are being upped "due to the higher annual snowfall (and Snow chancefrequency of snowfall) out there, their ability to tolerate light snowfall better, and local government wishes. They haven't seen a climatological increase in snowfall there over the past several years, but this criteria should better fit what constitutes a nuisance and a life threatening event out there."

And it's come just in time. Frostburg is expecting accumulating snow this weekend.

(SUN PHOTO: Doug Kapustin, Frostburg, Oct. 25, 2005)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 8:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather

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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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