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December 15, 2010

First measurable snow may come Thursday

BWI-Marshall Airport could see its first measurable snow of the season - barely an inch - Thursday as a weak low-pressure system begins to move out of the southern Plains states and heads our way. There's a chance for a bigger event this weekend, but forecasters and their computer models haven't quite figured that one out yet.

Light snow BaltimoreWhat seems most certain at this point is that our unusually cold December weather will continue to unfold well below the long-term average temperatures for Baltimore. The average high for this time of year is 46 degrees, and we'll have trouble breaking the freezing mark today.

In fact, we've broken 40 degrees on only six dates so far this month, with only two above-average days..

Baltimore City has declared another Code Blue for tonight, extending shelter hours and inviting anyone in from the cold who needs a place to warm up. Outreach workers will seek out the homeless and other vulnerable citizens.

"Extreme cold weather is a killer," said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Health Commissioner. "While we are primarily concerned about individuals experiencing homelessness, the elderly and chronically ill also are at risk for developing hypothermia should they lose heat or venture out in the cold without adequate protection. Please check in frequently on those loved ones, friends and neighbors who might benefit from the extra attention."

Overnight temperatures reached 19 degrees out on the Weather Deck in Cockeysville, and 21 degrees here at The Sun's weather complex at Calvert and Centre streets. BWI recorded a low of 19 degrees. Strong winds have made being outdoors downright painful. Record lows at this time of year range from 5 to 11 degrees.

AccuWeather.comThursday's storm will develop as warm air out of the southwest rides up and over the cold air at the surface we've been grappling with for days. That can mean snow, or at least mixed wintry precipitation. And it will be cold enough for either. Overnight lows will fall into the 20s, and the teens farther west.

Forecasters say the center of the clipper-type storm will pass to our south, and they're not entirely sure how far north the precipitation - which is expected to be light in any event - will reach.

They've settled, for now, on the theory that it will reach the Mason-Dixon Line, and fall as snow, with some chance for mixed precipitation to our southwest. It's likely to reach the Baltimore region in the afternoon, although the timing is still a little iffy. The official forecast calls for less than an inch of snow before it ends in Thursday evening.

Here's's take on the prospects. Foot's Forecast - the consortium of student forecasters that did so well with last winter's storms, is a bit more ominous about the prospects:Dec. 19, 2009 snow Baltimore

" ... [M]eteorologists, school officials and transportation managers are keeping close watch on a non-descript and fast-moving clipper system that has the potential to schedule a nightmare on Thursday from the Ohio Valley to the southern Mid-Atlantic.

"The unique alignment of suppressed northerly flow from central Canada, a squashed high pressure ridge off the southeast coast, and the 5,000 foot 0 degrees C line in North Carolina tomorrow morning means precip from Virginia and Kentucky northward should be snow. The Shenandoah and Blue Ridge mountains are likely to experience periods of sleet Thursday. For everyone else extending from Richmond to the PA line, prepare for a challenging day tomorrow."

Eric the Red, a professional meteorologist from Baltimore and frequent contributor here, says, "We're not talking major storm here. But the ground is frozen solid ... and with the snow likely to start after we're all at work/school, the afternoon trip could get a bit dicey. Or hellish. The dusting last Friday caused all sorts of issues, and this has repeat written all over it."

The next event out there begins Friday night as a new low forms off the coast and brings light snow to the counties to our south Friday night and Saturday. 

Foot's Forecast is ringing the alarm bells on that one, too. Sort-of:

"It looks to come right on the exact day 365 days ago when on December 19, [2009] Baltimore received its first Kahuna of the winter. The time frame for this storm, if impacted the area, would be Saturday evening through Sunday evening.

"Right now the team continues to analyze all the models, which shows both extremes. One extreme shows the potential for a repeat of last December's storm. Others show an out-to-sea situation which would leave us with no snow. We are fairly confident all precipitation with this storm will be snow, so the main thing to watch is how close to the coast this storm comes."

Eric the Red makes this observation: "Three of the [computer] ensembles have a major snow; four have a very close call, and the other five have nothing (too far offshore)." 

(SUN PHOTOS: Top:, light snow in Baltimore, 2008, Amy Davis. Bottom: Baltimore, Dec. 19, 2009, Karl Merton Ferron)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:13 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Forecasts


"In fact, we've broken 40 degrees on only six dates so far this month, with only two above-average days."

Global Warming. Talk to The Goracle. He's the expert.

I love the "It's so cold out! So much for global warming!" argument. Since when has the "globe" solely consisted of the Baltimore-metro area? For every record low being set, there is a record high being set somewhere else in the world. Furthermore, global warming is more about climate change and an increase in violent weather, rather than a singular focus on city temperatures. Go read a book.

Ok, Goacle is cute.

Glad I bought a new snow shovel! Looks like I may need it.

HarlanR, I'll speak slowly. Do you know what a "globe" is? If so, have you ever really looked at the globe? Can you point to where you are? Good job! If you look, you'll realize that there are places other than where you are right now and those places also have "weather." you know how your Mommy and Daddy have jobs? Well, there are people who study the globe as their job. Can you believe that? No, not that same exact globe, silly--the one on which you and I live. That's right! The one that sustains life of every form as we know it! Well, the people that study that globe you and I know as "Earth" are called "scientists." Specifically, "climatologists." Yes, it IS a big word! Well, they're the "experts." And they say there will be snow, and cold, and rain, and hurricanes-yes, hurricanes ARE scary!-and flooding, and sea levels will rise and drought will increase and--OH! Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry. It's okay. It's okay. Look! Look outside at the pretty white snowflake!

These global warming deniers are ridiculous. Those of us that understand the difference between climate and weather didn't come on here when we broke the record for above 90 degree temps this summer crowing about how that proved global warming was real.

If you haven't bought into the Global Warming theory yet - you must have serious psychological issues. Either that or you're just plain retarded. I guess the world is flat too, huh?

The lack of public awareness and education about the impact of climate change is unsettling, if we are ever to clean up our acts! "Climate change" is a more widely accepted and accurate term to describe the critical state of our earth's environment. Extreme fluctuations in temperature -- hotter summers and colder winters -- are just one of many effects of burning fossil fuels for energy. The idea that scientific facts on this issue have been politicized and are up-for-debate does not bode well for the futue of our planet, our home.

Can Frank please post a weather related item without it turning into a squabble about global warming? Please? The arguments here are so pointless. Neither side is ever going to admit the other is right, so let it go and live your lives.

FR: That's ok. The traffic is money in the bank.

I know it's your job, but come on. Is this really worth reporting? Call me when there is potential for a storm with at least 2-4 inches. Less than an inch? Is that even worth recording? Watch out folks...big storm coming on Thursday, accumulations will be between .4 and .8. That's tenths of an inch. You should be able to clear your walk by literally blowing it off...with your own breath.

FR: Judging from the mayhem that resulted from last Friday's flurries, I'd say yes. Any amount of snow in Baltimore is news. Not front page news, perhaps, but for the guy assigned to cover the weather, yes, it's news. And judging from the online traffic to stories about predicted snowfall, readers are interested and want the information. So we provide it. It's a business.

Thanks for the news Frank. Always enjoy the blog, even when the Global warming nazi's start spreading their fantasy's and then tell people they are "retarded" (very mature as always) when we don't beleive them. The earth through history has ebbed and flowed with temperatures and only the feeble minded believe a catastrophe is about to occur because they saw a picture of a polar bear on an iceberg.

FR: Glad you enjoy the blog. But it puzzles me that people who depend on and accept without question the scientific discoveries, and the medical and engineering technology that they produce, for their lives and well-being, and accept them without question, can be so casually dismissive of decades of scientific findings on this topic by thousands of scientists from all parts of the world. There's a lot more solid science there than photos of polar bears on icebergs. Just sayin'.

I had the pleasure of driving home early last Friday and DAMN glad I did. The little snow there was stuck to the roads and bridges where I live. Think sheet of ice.On big and large bridges and small ones. I wasn't the only one driving really slow.

Come off it, Jeff. You know it's not how much snow, it's whether people know how to handle it. Where I hail from, in the northern Middle West, a foot or two doesn't faze anyone. Everybody has snow tires, the cities have snow removal equipment, and everyone has lots of practice driving in rotten weather. If you only see snow once or twice a year, and your city can't afford snow plows because they only need them 2 x year, any amount of snow is an event. How many drivers here have experience steering into a skid? Or doing a 180 spin on an icy street? Or know how much they have to slow down to be able to brake on slippery roads?

Give the locals a break. Would you know what to do in a sandstorm?

Frank, any snow reporting is appreciated, whether it's just pretty snow or up-to-the-eaves snow. Last winter when we were snowed in, this blog was one great way to stay in touch.

FR: Thanks!

I think the blog/post is great Frank, you're not calling anything an epic storm, nor are you claiming anything is 100%. You're just giving predictions and providing reliable references and points of view.

And yes, an inch of snow is more newsworthy and relevant to me than 90% of garbage on the internet.

Huh? What is this Global Warming thing you all are talking about? Never heard of it.

Friday's minimal snow/ice changed my usual 40-minute commute into 3 hours, as Route 32 in Carroll County was shut down. So I for one do appreciate your alerts, even if the forecasted accumulation is somewhat less than the 38 inches we got in Elkridge last year!

woodchopper, I'll speak slowly: Can. You. Give. Us. Your. Interpretation. Of. The. Data. Obtained. From. The . Ice. Core. Samples. Taken. From. Greenland. And. Antarctica?
Gee. What a shock.

As cold & windy as it is i still see people having windshields replaced outside & wonder if they really know how much the windshield acts as a roll over safty bar,its 70% of the roof strength in a roll over & in temps, lower then 40 degrees it is a crap shoot to have done outside a controled form a 30 yr. installer.

So, here we go with another talk about global warming. My question is when are you liberals going to give it up? First off, let me explain something - the area of Baltimore is part of the globe. Just like western Maryland, the norther US, the south Florida region, Canada, South America (you get the idea). In fact, the polar ice caps have been melting and reforming on a yearly basis. But you don't want to discuss that because you are a KoolAid drinking liberal. let's talk about the one's that have started the whole "global warming" ordeal. Al Gore, for instance. He makes millions of dollars a year on selling his propaganda about global warming. He made hundreds of thousands at the height of his BS giving speeches about global warming. The so-called scientists you referred to receives millions of dollars in earmarks, from the government, of course, to study the progapaganda of global warming. Here's another question for you - if they are getting government grants to study global warming and it is proven wrong, where will there money come from? Enviornmentalists are a bunch of fruitcakes! Why? They have not yet realized one important fact - that they are insignificant in the realm of things. This planet is, at best guess, 5 million years old. The enviornment, as we know it, was inhabitable for us but there were living, thriving organisms, reproducing and carrying on with their daily existence. Billions of years later, more reptilian like creatures inhabited the planet. As best we can tell, they just died off for one reason or another - it may have been an astroid or just dinosaur farts which created so much gas that the delicate balance they required to survive no longer existed - who knows? One thing for sure, this planet will take care of itself. It didn't need humans on it for but maybe the last million or so years - I strongly doubt that a human industrial revolution (over the last 125 years) is going to come close to harming this great planet we live on. It has endured powerful events exhausting energy that human beings have not even come close to grasping in our existence. Here is an idea though, seeing how we as Americans have given every piece of knowledge we have discovered to other nations just to have them use it against us in some shape or form; why don't we move toward an alternative to oil? Shut the Arabs down, tell then we don't need their oil. Drill our own wells or find ways to harness wind, solar, nuclear or hydrogen energy. I figure this in itself may bring about world peace. Think about it, we as American consume more natural resources than any other nation; this may exclude the up and coming Chinese, but for now it is true. Without our money for oil, Egypt would be just some place our kids would learn about in geography and not a breeding ground for the next terrorist group; Iran, no more fear of nuclear weapons because they can't afford them; the Russian's won't invade Georgia for their oil; and the US wouldn't have to occupy a cess-pool region to make sure they retain an interest in it. Sounds peaceful, doesn't it? Here is one more thing about "global warming": you can't hurt this planet. It has survived through catastrophic events you can't begin to fathom so live hear and don't try to figure it out. When this planet is done having your insignificant self upon it, it will remove you. This is extinction for those that don't understand what I am saying.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

FR: Amazing ... Maybe we can just agree to disagree on climate change and agree to begin to move away from fossil fuels for the reasons you state. Everyone wins.

I loved your response to JB was great. He doesn't think that a weatherman should report that we are going to get an inch of snow. Some people just sit at home and look for crap online to complain about...I was annoyed with his post after the first 1/2 sentence.

Robert, the only fruitcake(s) is you, and your brethren.
What a nut!
And they let goofballs like you vote?
Yes, amazing.

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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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