Baltimore to get $2.25 million in federal funds for Dec. snowstorm

Snow totals taken by NWS-trained ‘cooperative’ observers helped city’s appeal

April 13, 2010|By Frank Roylance, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore will receive $2.25 million in federal disaster aid for a December snowstorm, thanks to a re-evaluation of the accumulations recorded for the city during the storm.

The city failed to qualify for President Barack Obama's initial disaster declaration for Maryland because of conservative storm totals. BWI Marshall Airport initially recorded 21.1 inches in the first storm. But the total was later revised to 18 inches after the discovery of measuring errors forced the weather service to use its most conservative airport measurements, according to Stephen Zubrick, science and operations officer at the National Weather Service's forecast office in Sterling, Va.

To qualify for disaster aid, the city had to have received at least 20.7 inches, said Baltimore's emergency management chief, Robert Maloney. Consultations with the weather service, he said, yielded additional measurements from NWS-trained "cooperative" observers, especially in the harder-hit southeastern and southwestern sections of the city. Those measurements ranged from 21 to 23 inches.

The city's revised numbers were filed with appeals from a number of other Maryland jurisdictions. Baltimore was accepted, resulting in the disaster aid for the December storm, Maloney said. The city expects at least $7 million more from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the back-to-back snowstorms that struck in February.


> Read Frank Roylance's blog on MarylandWeather.com
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