Baltimore on pace for record 2-year snow drought as storm eyed

  • LaMart Chase, 55, clears his and two of his neighbor's sidewalks in the 800 block of Belgian Ave. He explains that instead of each neighbor hiring someone to cut the grass or clear the snow, they take turns doing the work. "That's what we do," he said. Baltimore residents clean off cars and sidewalks after a covering of snow last night.
LaMart Chase, 55, clears his and two of his neighbor's… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
March 01, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore area may get one more chance at a significant snowfall next week, but if it fails to materialize, the region could be wrapping up a record two-year snow drought. No back-to-back winters have posted as little snow as last winter and this winter, to date, since 1883.

So far this winter, 4.8 inches of snow have fallen at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. If that figure stands, it would rank as the No. 11 least-snowy winter in Baltimore on record.

This follows a winter in which unusually mild temperatures helped contribute to a snowfall of just 1.8 inches, the third least-snowy winter on record for Baltimore.

The two years' combined total of 6.6 inches would fall behind the winters from 1949-1951, in which 6.9 inches of snow fell.  The combined total would rank among the 25 smallest snowfall totals in a single season in Baltimore.

Local meteorologist "Eric the Red" pointed out the chance for a record of sorts.

Snow lovers are hoping their chances for one more taste of winter (and a "real" one, at that) aren't over. Forecasters are eyeing early model predictions of a storm developing by the middle of next week, with yet another storm moving across the country, but this time perhaps into the mid-Atlantic rather than New England.

AccuWeather.com's Henry Margusity, in a blog post Thursday, called the possible storm a "pattern-changer" that could hit the mid-Atlantic coast. Still, he suggests it could end up being only rain for the Washington, D.C., area, which can sometimes mean a wintry mix for Baltimore but doesn't bode well for snow chances here, either.

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in College Park (soon to be known by the more wieldy name of Weather Prediction Center) is calling for snow from the northern Rockies to the Tennessee Valley to the central Appalachians and Carolinas. The snow is also possible to extend to the mid-Atlantic, though meteorologists added a caveat: "CONFIDENCE IS NEAR TO SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY."

Eric the Red expects the storm will stay to the south of Maryland, on the other hand. And though March snow isn't uncommon here, he suggests if none falls by about March 10, the window of opportunity will close.

The potential storm's timing has just fallen inside the 5-day forecast window for the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office, and the meteorologists are calling for a chance for snow turning to a chance for a wintry mix Tuesday night through Wednesday night. High temperatures are expected in the lower 40s.

The meteorologists' forecast discussion posted Friday morning suggests with the possible event still five days away, the forecast "leaves a lot of room for change." But a Friday afternoon update said "confidence in at least some late-season wintry impacts is increasing."

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