First snow of the season due this morning

November 13, 1997|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,SUN STAFF

A low-pressure system that was developing along the Gulf of Mexico yesterday was expected to spin up the Atlantic coast in time to greet early morning commuters in Baltimore and Washington today with intermittent light snow -- the first of the season.

This "conversational snow," as the weather service classified it, was forecast to begin in southern Virginia and track northeastward, reaching Washington by dawn and Baltimore after daybreak today.

Accumulations, if any, were not likely to cause traffic problems.

Sprinkles, rain, flurries or snow remain in the forecasts through Sunday morning, with highs in the 30s and 40s.

Clearing skies were likely for later Sunday.

November snowfalls are not unusual in Maryland. But they are typically mixed with rain or sleet, and melt quickly on still-warm streets and yards. "Significant" accumulations -- 4 inches or more -- are rare.

Over the past 100 years of record-keeping in Baltimore, four November storms of 4 inches or more have occurred -- an average of one every 25 years. The biggest was an 8.4-inch storm on Nov. 30, 1967, according to the National Weather Service.

The others include a 6-inch storm on Veterans Day 1987; a 5.5-inch snowfall on Nov. 6, 1953, and a 5-inch storm on Nov. 24, 1938.

The snowiest November in Baltimore was in 1898, when 9.7 inches of snow was recorded.

The state police have increased their patrol fleet for heavy snow this winter.

The troopers have purchased 39 4-wheel-drive Ford Explorers to replace sedans. A quarter of those will be assigned to the Western Maryland barracks, where snow is typically heavier and temperatures lower.

The State Police have also acquired more than 30 surplus military vehicles with 4-wheel drive, which have been assigned to all barracks.

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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