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October 19, 2011

Eric the Red calls for near-normal snowfall ahead

One of our regular forecast contributors here, a professional Baltimore meteorologist we call Eric the Red, has posted his winter weather forecast for the season coming up. And like the forecast issued a few weeks ago, he expects another near-normal snow total this time around.

The 30-year average snow total for BWI-Marshall Airport is 20.2 inches. Last winter saw 14.4 inches.

Taking account of the La Nina conditions developing in the Pacific for the second winter season in a row, as well as a basket of other climate factors, Eric says the signs this year point to "near- to below-normal snowfall, just like last year, but not a snowless winter."

Looking for winters when similar conditions prevailed, he found these Baltimore analogs: SNow Baltimore 2011

1950:  6.2 inches

1962:  19.6 inches 

1974:  12.2 inches

1985:  15.6 inches

2008:  9.1 inches 

"All these winters are consistent with the reasoning of near- to below-normal snow. In addition, La Nina is associated with near- to below-normal temperatures in the central and eastern U.S. and tends to be windy here, too," he said.

"The wild card is the NAO [North Atlantic Oscillation], which has been consistently negative (a blocking high over the northern Atlantic) for the past several winters ... and this can change everything. If and where the block(s) set up can throw a serious monkey wrench into the equation - think New England last year, our record-setting winter 2 years ago.

"A blocking high/negative NAO is almost essential for big snows around here, and forecasting this feature is not feasible beyond several weeks. Persistence implies that we will be dealing with it again, however."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue its winter weather forecast Thursday. Stay tuned.

(SUN PHOTO: Amy Davis, Jan. 26, 2011)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:06 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Forecasts, Winter weather


Are we having another snowfall guessing contest this year? Is it too early yet?

FR: Too early. Probably sometime in early December.

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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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