Trick or Treat? Five or more in. of snow due Sat.
This is some sort of cruel joke, right? The old weather guy goes out with not just a farewell cake, but an October snowstorm, too? Really?!?
Alas, that appears to be the case. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Watch for all of Western Maryland, and for the northern tier of counties including Carroll, Frederick, Harford and northewrn Baltimore County.
The Watch calls for the "potential" for five or more inches of snow in portions of the state on Saturday. It would begin overnight tonight as rain, then change over to snow Saturday morning and continue through Saturday afternoon.
The snow forecast map (clickable, above) is a bit less outrageous. It shows a small pocket of 6-inch accumulations in extreme northwestern Carroll and northeastern Frederick, surrounded by gradually diminishing totals of 4, 2 and 1-inch totals. For Baltimore and its immediate suburbs, they're looking for less than an inch. And to the south and east of I-95, there's just rain.
But, hey ... it's still October, already. Not even Hallowe'en. The snowiest day on record for Baltimore in October was the 2.5 inches that fell Oct. 30, 1925. In fact, there have been only four days since official record-keeping began here that ANY measurable snow has fallen on Baltimore.
Oct. 30, 1925: 2.5 inches
Oct. 19, 1940: 0.4 inch
Oct. 20, 1940: 0.9 inch
Oct. 10, 1979: 0.3 inch
An inch of snow at BWI this weekend could make this the second-snowiest October day on record for Baltimore.
Here's how AccuWeather.com sees the storm, which could deliver as much as 6 to 12 inches from western Virginia and Maryland to central New England. And here (below) is some of what Eric the Red and Prof. Jeff Halverson, at UMBC, are saying about Saturday's snow forecast:
Eric the Red: "The models agree that the storm will deepen rapidly and ride up the coast. If it takes a more westerly track, then we'll get into warmer air -especially aloft - and we'll see mostly cold rain, changing to wet snow befpore ending.
"If the storm tracks a bit farther east, many areas - especially north and west of I-95 and DC - will experience a rare significant October snowfall.
"The official forecast has northern Maryland in a 1-4" snow forecast, while locales closer to I-95 are in a Trace to an inch category ... I think the chance of accumulating snow is high across much of northern and western MD, while rain could dominate in the primary urban areas."
Prof. Halverson: "This storm is predicted to have classic, if not textbook, dynamics...including phasing of northern and southern jet stream energy, and it will tap very significant amounts of Atlantic moisture. It will be quite vigorous and is expected to "bomb out" or deepen rapidly off the coast, as it retreats north of Baltimore.
"The trend in the models has been towards a colder solution, with the snow
accumulation swatch creeping ever closer (southward) toward D.C./Baltimore. I still think the
bullseye will be just north of Mason-Dixon, w/ a 6"-12" swath running across eastern PA into
"Snowfall rates could approach 2"-3" w/ thundersnow, as one or more stationary
snow bands will likely set up along or north of Mason-Dixon. This will likely be a very wet,
dense snow. Because so many trees still bear foliage, there is the potential for unprecedented,
widespread power outages, and temporary closure of major interstates such as I-78."