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August 17, 2011

Terrific rainstorm in downtown Baltimore

Rainbow over East BaltimoreIt's been absolutely pouring in downtown Baltimore since shortly after 6 p.m. There were no warnings from the weather service. There is almost nothing  showing on radar.

But the streets are full of water, the visibility is much reduced in heavy rain and lashing winds. And anyone caught outside will be drenched. 

The instruments at The Sun show almost three-quarters of an inch of rain have fallen, sometimes at nearly 7 inches an hour. 

And now, there is a full arch rainbow over East Baltimore as seen from The Sun building.

"It was just a shower that developed along the bay breeze," said Nikole Listemaa, a NWSRain meteorologist at the regional forecast office in Sterling, Va., The bay breeze occurs when sunshine heats the land, causing the air above it to rise. That draws in cooler air from the bay. The bay breeze collides with the rising air over the land. It rises, cools and its moisture condenses, triggering a thunderstorm.

This one was small, Listemaa said. "Looks like it actually missed BWI airport and probably missed Martin State Airport. It was just one lone shower or thunderstorm that stayed over the same area for a little while."

It was not severe, hence no Severe Storm Warning. There were a few lightning strikes, but not many, she said. Radar estimates  show an inch and a half of rain. "Looks like most of that fell over the Inner Harbor area."

(SUN PHOTOS: Frank Roylance)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:17 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Cool pictures, Events


that thing is tiny, i'm on greenmount right at 39th and got nothing

I was running from Otterbein to Canton during the worst of it; it came on suddenly. Just before it broke there were wind gust coming southward towards the harbor that were nearly blowing people (self included) off their feet.

I managed to park my car in a dry spot in Fells as it was starting. Waited it out in the car watching the radar on my phone, and it looked like the little bit of storm kept expanding and contracting, hovering right over downtown.

We had an amazing monsoon here in East Baltimore. Torrents of rain, lashing winds....

I was wondering how a storm like that formed. I took a look at the Doppler and it was just one tiny isolated dot.

It definitely missed BWI. I was driving on 295 from BWI into the city and it was dry almost all the way to Russel St..

FR REPLIES: The NWS/Sterling told me Wednesday it was a small thunderstorm (with little thunder or lightning) that popped up along the bay breeze front. Air heated over the land rises, draws in cooler, moist air off the bay. They collide, the air column rises, the water vapor cools and condenses, and falls as rain. Either that, or somebody in Federal Hill prayed for rain for their tomatoes.

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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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