Forecasters see snowy prospect for Baltimore's suburbs today

December 19, 1996|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Be prepared: Snow may make today's morning commute treacherous.

The snow was expected to begin falling in Western Maryland in the early morning hours and move toward Baltimore, National Weather Service meteorologists said yesterday.

They predicted that the hardest-hit areas would be Frederick and Carroll counties, where up to 5 inches could fall. Totals of 1 to 3 inches were forecast for Harford, Montgomery and Howard counties and northern Baltimore County.

Baltimore City would be spared the brunt of the storm, the meteorologists said, and Baltimore-Washington International Airport might receive, at most, an inch of slushy snow, with temperatures reaching the mid-30s.

In preparation for the predicted storm last night, road crews reported to work at 10 p.m. for deployment to Western Maryland roads, said Valerie Burnette Edgar, spokesman for the State Highway Administration.

"They've already gassed up the trucks and got the salt stocked," Burnette said.

The villain in this latest spate of wet weather is an area of low pressure that tapped into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and moved up the East Coast, bringing cold weather, said Brian Smith, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sterling, Va.

"The blustery and cold weather will remain until Sunday," Smith said. "It will be in the mid-30s [today] and then drop to the 20s until Sunday when temperatures are expected to reach about 40."

The storm is not expected to make 1996 the wettest year in the recorded history of Baltimore because it takes about 10 inches of snow to equal an inch of rain. Meteorologists began keeping city precipitation totals in 1871.

The wettest year was 1889, when 62.35 inches of precipitation fell in the Baltimore area. This year, BWI would have to get 4.68 inches more before New Year's Day to claim the title.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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