The Baltimore region's spring-like weather suddenly moved aside today as nasty Old Man Winter marched in on chilling winds that were dropping temperatures rapidly toward freezing for later today and Christmas Day.
As an indicator of the sudden arrival of winter conditions, the temperature at 4:55 a.m. today in Baltimore was 64 degrees, tying a record for this date set in 1982. At the same time, a record high of 65 was tied at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, also established in 1982.
But within less than half an hour, a wicked cold front sweeping in from the West dropped the thermometer in the city to 53 degrees, said a National Weather Service forecaster at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
The temperature continued to drop throughout the morning; the mercury at BWI read 44 at 9 a.m.
Wind gusts of up to 35 mph were measured during the earlier 11-degree drop and gale warnings were posted on Chesapeake Bay. Special marine warnings were broadcast for a brief time off Ocean City after Coast Guard personnel there reported spotting several small waterspouts 7 to 10 miles offshore.
Forecasters, meanwhile, say it's going to get colder. And stay that way for a while.
Dick Diener, a weather service meteorologist, said today that temperatures would continue to drop and tonight could be in the teens. The cold will seem even colder when combined with winds gusting up to 15 mph.
Diener said Christmas Day will see high temperatures of about 32 degrees, but they again will feel much colder because of 10- to 15-mph winds expected to continue tomorrow.
Today's cold snap, brought on by a sweeping cold front ushered in from the West, is expected to continue into the weekend, Diener said.