Snow unlikely in city today, but it may fall in other areas

January 03, 1995|By From Staff Reports

Baltimoreans remembering last winter's icy precipitation may have let the colder temperatures that arrived with the new year blot out the more recent memory of the city's first snowless December in 16 years.

Forecasters said yesterday that there was about a 20 percent chance of light snow showers or flurries tonight in Western Maryland or north along the Pennsylvania border, but that Baltimore was unlikely to see any of that type of precipitation. "It looks like we might get some rain Saturday, as temperatures rise into the 40s, but in wintertime we never say there is no possibility of snow," said forecaster Amet Figueroa. He said 1978 was the last December that no snow fell in Baltimore, according to official records that go back to 1950.

"There's always going to be someone who says he saw some snowflakes, but no measurable snow was recorded as falling in the city or at the airport," Mr. Figueroa said. "We seem to blame everything on El Nino, so it might as well get blamed for the lack of snow."

He said an El Nino -- the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean off the South American coast -- was keeping cold air to the north and moisture-laden storm systems to the south, preventing their collision over the United States.

"The jet stream that normally meanders south during the winter has stayed to the north," Mr. Figueroa said.

He said December 1994 was drier and warmer than usual. The temperature last month averaged 5.9 degrees above the normal average of 36.7 degrees and the amount of precipitation last month was 1.43 inches below the normal December average of 3.41 inches.

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