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January 26, 2011

Heavy snow still due, forecast changed to 6-10"

Forecasters out at Sterling say the coastal low is deepening as predicted and some heavy snow and lightning was occurring closer to the storm's center. But they have trimmed their estimates of total accumulations for the Winter Storm Warning area in Central Maryland tonight back to 4 to 8 inches.

UPDATE 7 p.m. That National Weather Service is now calling for 6-10 inches for Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Northern Baltimore and Southern Baltimore. Forecasters are adjusting their estimates as radar shows evidence of mesoscale banding - very intense snow bands - crossing the region.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: The NWS has trimmed its forecasts for Baltimore again, this time to 3 to 6 inches. At the same time, forecasters said, "THE HEAVY SNOW WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES BELOW A QUARTER MILE WITH SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION RATES AT TIMES OF 2 INCHES PER HOUR. THIS

"Recent spotter reports indicate  2-inch per hour snow, so accumulations reasonable even though peak period may not be much more than 6 to 8 hours long," forecasters said in their afternoon discussion. "Expecting a rather quick end to snow tonight .... That should be a couple of hours on either side of midnight, earlier southwest and later for NE Maryland."


Here's a look at where the snow was (blue) on radar around 4 p.m. (Click to enlarge.)

The storm's center was located near Norfolk this afternoon. A rapidly falling barometer in Baltimore was an indicator of the low's intensification as it reached the coast. Reports of lightning near the central low also indicated a very energetic storm. 

Other signs suggested to forecasters that "if any precipitation begins as rainfall, which may happen east of I-95, it'll change over fairly quickly to snow. The upper level energy transitioning off the coast at the moment, and rapid cyclogenisis should be underway through [7 p.m.] and beyond."

The Maryland Department of Transportation's CHART traffic cameras showed slushy, snowy conditions on the interstates north and west of Baltimore after 5 p.m.  

Baltimore barometer

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:26 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Forecasts


Looks like ALL RAIN Se of 95 for now...

The Lighting and Thunder have begun! Neat!

The change over is complete in Mt. Airy, all snow now. Mama cooking up some of her famous meatloaf and the generator is working. Life is good! And the red vino ain't bad either.

It is POURING rain in Glen Burnie less that .25 of a mile from the airport. And lots of lightning and thunder. Actually with all the slushy stuff on the parking lot it appears that flooding might be an issue if this keeps up.

it's heavy rain here in Towson, Frank.

Doesn't look like we're getting any more snow.

FR: Patience... Check out the radar on the latest WeatherBlog post. Snow is just to our west.

It has been drizzling here in Owings Mills since around 2pm today. It's actually getting harder as I speak/write. But the radar map is looking promising. It should switch back over to snow any time in the next half-hour to hour.

Oops. Just turned into sleet. Onwards!

We had thunder-sleet here in NW Baltimore in the last half hour... that's a first by me.

A mix of snow, rain and sleet here in Odenton right now.

I also meant to say that the transition from rain began about 4:30ish in Odenton.

I take it back, Frank!

Thundersnow just kicked in!

It has been snowing HEAVY for about 20 minutes, road had melted clear by about 4:30 is now completely covered. Beautiful.
Weather is such great stuff!

Snow coming down in droves in the city now. It was preceded an hour ago by thunder snow (a term I learned from Eric the Red).
Help Frank! I am having PTSD thinking about Feb 2010 storms.

We've been getting thunder snow here in Owings Mills for the last half-hour. The kids don't get it at all!

The snow is extremely heavy. Visibility is less than a quarter-mile.

FR: Snowing now (5:25 p.m.) in downtown Baltimore, too. And "laying."

Meteorology math question: if it's going to snow at a rate of about 2" per hour for six to eight hours, how can they be lowering their forecast to 3-6"?

FR: They boosted the forecast again to 6 to 10 this evening as radar showed mesoscale banding forming and reports of thundersnow came in. Both mean more intense snowfall.

Where do you find that NWS Storm Total Snowfall map? Thanks

FR: On the NWS web site:

This is one of the "cooler" storms that I have seen. In Towson at 4:30, ran to my car in the pouring rain, drove 3 miles through pelting ice, and stepped up to my front door at 4:40 with heavy snow flakes. Awesome!

Thunder snow in Parkville at 7:40 pm! Awesome!

I left work at 5 PM and traveled 295 to 695 outer loop. It was all snow. Traffic was moving and most people were sticking to the right lane. Lots of spun-out vehicles were in the median of both highways though. Not understanding all the plows with their plows in the air though. It was snowing hard and wet everywhere I drove. Definitely some quick accumulating snow.

There's a thunder snow going on in Tanyard Springs right now. This is pretty neat! The lightning and thunder is being consistent too. Only thing that concerns me is the power acting up a little while ago. Come on...Brandon Shores isn't all that far away! Lazy BGE. =P

Thunder snow earlier in Reisterstown too. Just shoveled the driveway, looks like 7-8" already and still coming down hard!

Around 9" or so in Columbia from my estimate. Still slightly above freezing after all this time, so a very good "packing" snow. I expect a crunchy cover come morning when temps dip.

10pm and 9+" on the back deck here in OM. We had thunder snow for over an hour.

I had to head out briefly, and echo the question about the plows with their blades up. What the...? I saw two on Owings Mills Blvd. They were definitely Baltimore County plows.

8" on my deck (not cleared of morning's compacted by rain and sleet covering.) And a friend stuck for 7 hrs on the GW Parkway.

0015 in Westminster, and the party's over. Just coldish temps and a quiet, white-clad peacefulness out the back windows. Here's hoping all are home safe and warm tonight.

Between 11-13 inches total in Pikesville.

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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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