Just what we need: a little more snow Forecasters say storm could strike by Friday

Blizzard Of 1996

January 09, 1996|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF

Keep your shovels handy. Maryland could get at least a couple of inches more snow by Friday.

Even as Marylanders were digging out yesterday from their third-deepest snowfall of the century, weather forecasters were picking up early warnings that another storm might be headed this way.

It's too early to be sure, but indications are that the new snowstorm -- if it hits at all -- will be tame compared with the blizzard that buried the region over the weekend.

The 22.5 inches of snow measured at Baltimore-Washington International Airport yesterday just missed matching the 22.8 inches that fell Feb. 11, 1983. The heaviest snow this century was Jan. 27, 1922, when 24.7 inches blanketed the city.

Much of Maryland is likely to see flurries today or tomorrow as a minor disturbance follows in the wake of the storm that swept up the East Coast from Saturday through yesterday, said Dick Diener, a forecaster with the National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

But the service's computer forecasting models have detected a potentially bigger disturbance, a new weather system gathering moisture from the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Hatteras, N.C.

"There is a low-pressure system that's going to be moving out of the Cape Hatteras area sometime late Thursday or Friday," Mr. Diener said. "It should work its way up the coast, [though] maybe not as close."

Mr. Diener and other forecasters were reluctant yesterday to predict what path the storm would take or how severe it might be.

Forecasters "don't really have a good track on it yet," said a tired Mr. Diener, who had been at the BWI station since the storm hit about midnight Saturday.

"If it follows the track that it's predicted to," Mr. Diener said, "there will be less moisture than was involved in the storm that just passed, and temperatures will be 15 degrees warmer."

Pressed, Mr. Diener ventured that the new storm could produce "a couple inches or so" of snow late Thursday or Friday.

But "anything can happen between now and then," cautioned Jim Decarufel in the Washington region forecasting center in Sterling, Va.

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