Forecasters warn of new round of snow Thursday

February 24, 2010|By Frank D. Roylance | Baltimore Sun reporter

As if we needed more snow this winter, the National Weather Service has warned that yet another coastal storm could drop winter precipitation on northern and eastern sections of Maryland on Thursday.

Winter storm watches calling for 5 inches of snow or more were posted Tuesday from Frederick County eastward and from Calvert County north, plus the Maryland Eastern Shore and all of Delaware.

"There is still a high level of uncertainty, some model disagreement, but there is the potential for 7 or more inches of snow" in 24 hours, said Jared Klein, a forecaster at the National Weather Service forecast office in Sterling, Va.

"The farther north and east you go, the better likelihood there is. There will be a real sharp gradient [in snow totals] somewhere. Exactly where that is going to set up is yet to be determined," Klein said.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has recorded 80 inches of snow this season, more than four times the annual average for Baltimore. More than 60 percent of that - 49 inches - has fallen in the past three weeks.

Although daytime temperatures Thursday will reach the low- to mid-30s, the storm is expected to be all snow in the watch area. "Temperatures indicate it could be more of a wetter snow, especially in the first half of the event," Klein said.

On top of the snow, the weather service is calling for northwest winds of 15 mph to 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph on Thursday.

The precipitation is expected to begin late today as a mix of rain and snow, changing to all snow between midnight and 3 a.m. Thursday.

While all this is bad news for the winter-weary, Marylanders should escape the worst of the storm, which is forecast to intensify off the coast and drive into upstate New York and western New England with snow measured in feet and winds approaching hurricane force.

Forecasters at were describing the storm as "a monster" and "a snow hurricane" for those in its path.

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