Springtime brings snow to coat the region

March 23, 1998|By Sarah Pekkanen | Sarah Pekkanen,SUN STAFF

Just a day after spring officially began, a fickle Mother Nature dusted parts of Maryland yesterday with a glistening coat of snow that left Baltimore colder than Alaska.

But meteorologists say this isn't a sign Maryland will be paying for a warmer-than-average winter with an icy spring. Temperatures should inch back up this week and reach the 60s by the weekend, according to Bill Romine of Weather Central in Madison, Wis.

"Right now, generally the Northeast is going to be the coldest spot in the contiguous 48 states," Romine said, noting that yesterday's expected temperature for Baltimore -- in the 40s -- was colder than the Juneau, Alaska, forecast of highs in the low 50s. "But that warm air is going to come this way," he added.

The snow, absent for most of the winter, coated Baltimore-Washington International Airport with 0.6 inches and Finksburg and Riviera Beach with 2 inches, according to Weather Central, which takes readings from four sites in Maryland. But unofficial reports indicated that parts of Howard, Carroll and Baltimore counties received several more inches.

"I wouldn't blame it on El Nino," Romine said. "It's unusual in the sense that [temperatures are] so far below normal, but it's not that rare." Average highs for this time of year are in the 50s, he said.

"Tell everybody to bundle up for another day or two. There are just a few more days of Old Man Winter," Romine said. But he added with a laugh, "I never promise anything."

Pub Date: 3/23/98

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