The long warm spell may be all over now

November 27, 1991|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Evening Sun Staff

If this week's chilly weather seems like a slap in the face, you've been spoiled.

The cold temperatures are bringing an end to 13 straight months of warmer-than-normal weather here.

"This is probably the end of the streak," said National Weather Service forecaster Ken Shaver.

The average temperature for the month at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was 45.6 degrees through Monday, Shaver said. That's 0.7 degrees below the normal average of 46.3 degrees for November.

"The rest of the month is probably going to be a little below normal," he said, "so we'll probably end up a degree or so below normal."

If so, this will be the first month with below-normal average temperatures since September 1990.

The 13-month warm spell is believed to be the longest such period on record at BWI, where record-keeping began in 1950.

The National Weather Service has said the period from January through October this year was the warmest on record at BWI and at National Airport in Washington.

Now, if it would only rain.

Instruments at BWI have measured just 26.06 inches of precipitation so far in 1991. The airport would have to receive nearly 1.3 feet of rain in December to end the year with a "normal" amount of precipitation -- 41.84 inches.

The driest year on record at BWI was 1984, when the airport measured 27.89 inches of precipitation.

Downtown, precipitation has already surpassed the 1930 record low of 21.55 inches.

There is no easy explanation for the weather. Scientists generally agree that the planet has warmed up over the past century. The past decade was among the warmest ever in the United States.

But the experts have been unable to determine whether that's the result of atmospheric changes induced by human activities or "natural" climatic fluctuation.

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