Wednesday warmth could threaten records, fuel storms

  • Chances of severe thunderstorms are highest to the southwest of Maryland but are possible in the Baltimore area as well late Wednesday.
Chances of severe thunderstorms are highest to the southwest… (Storm Prediction Center )
January 29, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

National Weather Service forecasters are raising predictions for Wednesday's warmth, from the upper 50s to the lower 60s and now, closer to 70 degrees. When a cold front reaches that mild air late Wednesday night, it could fuel storms, though they are not expected to be severe in Maryland.

The weather service is forecasting a high of 67 degrees at BWI Marshall Airport Wednesday. The record high for Jan. 30 is 72 degrees, set in 1914.

A record the airport could come closer to threatening is that for the warmest low temperature recorded, a 50-degree minimum on Jan. 30, 2002. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 40s at BWI by late Wednesday night, but the timing of that chill depends on when the cold front arrives.

Weather service forecasters expect the cold front to usher in storms between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. on this side of the Appalachians. More than an inch of rain is possible through the day, with heavy rain as any storms pass through. A coastal flood watch is in effect for the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay for Wednesday evening high tides.

Forecasters with the Storm Prediction Center in College Park predict about a 15 percent chance that the storms could turn severe in Maryland. Further south, across Alabama and Georgia, there is a higher chance  of severe storms with hail and tornadoes possible.

By the time the front moves across the Baltimore area, instability in the atmosphere is expected to have waned, limiting our chances for damaging winds. The weather service is forecasting winds of 35-40 mph wind gusts across most of the area.'s Henry Margusity is meanwhile expecting a long squall line of 50 mph winds that could stretch from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

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