Monday's snowfall bumps seasonal tally to 16th-lowest on record

  • Teddy Werden, 3, foreground center, is surrounded by sled riders of all ages at Dumbarton Middle School.
Teddy Werden, 3, foreground center, is surrounded by sled riders… (Algerina Perna, The Baltimore…)
March 27, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

Depending on how you look at it, snowfall this winter was either a disappointment or an improvement in Baltimore.

The seasonal tally of 8 inches through Monday at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport ranks as the 16th least snowy season on record for Baltimore. It was more than four times as much snow as the winter before, but also the second-smallest season snowfall total in more than a decade.

After the winter of 2009-2010 -- that of "Snowmageddon", "Snowverkill" or whatever else you want to call it -- everything else pales in comparison. At BWI, 77 inches fell that winter, the heaviest on record by more than a foot.

No winter since has managed above-average or even average snowfall -- 14.4 inches two winters ago, 1.8 inches last year, and now 8 inches. The norm for BWI is about 18-20 inches.

There were seven days since November with measurable snow at BWI, for an average of just over an inch each time. Accumulations ranged from a few tenths of an inch to Monday's 3.2 inches. But for each of those days, there were others where snow forecasts failed to materialize as much as predicted.

Without Monday's snowfall, the season would have had little real snow "news". That event was the latest snowfall in Baltimore in a decade, and it was the snowiest March 25 on record. The only other Baltimore weather record broken this winter was one for a 47-degree low Dec. 17, the mildest low temperature for that date.

If not for Monday's snowfall, Baltimore might have been in for a record two-year snow drought, with back-to-back winters with barely enough to make a snowball out of.

But despite anything remarkable about the snowfall this winter, any snow lovers who were paying attention will remember there were predictions that this winter would bring heavy snows back to the region. 

There were early indications of an El Nino climate pattern brewing, which typically brings above-average snowfall to this part of the country. As late as November, even as El Nino was failing to develop, some called for weather patterns known to send snowy nor'easter storms up the coast.

But in the end, it was those who called for another winter light on snow who were correct. Assuming no more measurable early spring snow falls at BWI, Maryland Weather blog commenter "Sam T2" wins the snow prediction contest posted on the blog at the start of meteorological winter. Sam made the lowest prediction of all guessers, at 6.9 inches, and was the closest without going over. LJ Kirk was second, with a guess of 10.8 inches.

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