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National Weather Service EmblemMARYLAND WINTERS
SNOW, WIND, ICE AND COLD
by Barbara McNaught Watson



picture of typical winter low pressure system in maryland        Maryland's greatest winter storms are the "Nor'easters" or what some have called the "White Hurricane". It takes a certain set of ingredients to get heavy snow and wind across Maryland. First, an arctic air mass should be in place. High pressure builds over New England. Cold, arctic air flows south from the high. The dense cold air is unable to move west over the Appalachian Mountains and so it funnels south down the valleys and along the Coastal Plain. This is called "cold air damming". To the east of the cold air is the warm water of the Gulf Stream. The contrast of the cold air sliding south into the Carolinas and the warm air sitting over the Gulf Stream creates a breeding ground for storms. With the right meteorological conditions such as the position of the jet stream, storm development off the Carolinas may become "explosive" (sudden, rapid intensification with a dramatic drop in the central pressure of the storm).
        The ideal position of the jet stream has it entering the West Coast of the U.S. and then splitting. The north branch crosses the northern Rockies and Canada and the southern branch dips down to the Gulf Coast states. The south branch then turns northeast across Virginia and rejoins the north branch near Newfoundland. The north branch of the jet supports the southward sinking cold air. The south branch carries a disturbance from the Gulf Coast northeast to the Carolina coast where it intensifies into the Nor'easter. Winds around the storm center carry warm, moist air from over the Gulf Stream, up and over the cold inland air. The air rises, cools and snow begins. The storm's speed and exact track to the north become critical in properly forecasting and warning for heavy snow across Maryland. It is quite common for the rain-snow line to fall right over the Richmond-Washington-Baltimore-Philadelphia metropolitan areas.  The heaviest snow band generally occurs in a 50 mile wide swath about 150 miles northwest of the low pressure center (represented as an "L" on the diagram). Closer to the low, the warm ocean air changes the precipitation over to sleet, freezing rain, and eventually rain. If the forecasted storm track is off by just a little bit, it can mean the difference between heavy rain, freezing rain or sleet (marked as mixed precipitation in the diagram), and a foot or more of snow with a great impact to a large population of people.
        Winds around the nor'easter's center can become intense. The strong northeast winds that rack the coast and inland areas give the storm its name. The wind builds large waves that batter the coastline and sometimes pile water inland causing major coastal flooding and severe beach erosion. Unlike the hurricane, which usually comes and goes within one tide cycle, the nor'easter can linger through several tides, each one piling more and more water on shore and into the bays and dragging more and more sand away from the beaches.
        Looking at historical records, Maryland experiences a strong nor'easter with significant snow on average about once every other year. However, some years can go by with little happening and no coastal storms while other years produce several sigificant events. The oscillation between cold and warm phases of the Pacific Ocean in its equatorial region, known as La Nina and El Nino respectively, has played a large role. Years dominated by moderate to strong La Nina (cold phase) produce little if any coastal storms and below normal snowfall for Maryland. Years dominated by moderate to strong El Nino (warm phase) produce many coastal storms. However, not all El Nino years are able to get the phasing of the cold air in place over the southern Mid-Atlantic States before the storm moves up the coast. Like La Nina winters, El Nino winters tend to be mild. So without the cold air, Maryland get rain instead of Snow. About half of the El Nino winters produced snowfall of about 150% above normal while the other half produced rain, with snowfall only around 15% of normal.
picture showing how cold air damming works        In February 1994, a series of ice storms struck Maryland. The region had been long over due for an ice storm, but it was unprecedented to have several occur one after the other. Ice storms are not an uncommon event in the valleys and foothills to the east of the Appalachian Mountains. Utility company records show the frequency with which fallen wires need to be repaired. The set up is not completely unlike that for a snow storm. High pressure over New England funnels cold dry air south over the state. The air tries to push west but can not rise over the Appalachian Mountains and becomes trapped on the east side. A storm moves northeast from the southern plains or Gulf Coast region. Instead of passing south and east of Virginia, it moves up the west slopes of the Appalachians. Warm, moist air rises over the mountains and the trapped cold air on the east side. Precipitation begins (See diagram above).
        The type of precipitation depends on the depth of the cold air. At first it is often deep enough for snow, but as the warm air associated with the nearing storm continues to erode the cold air east of the mountains, the cold air mass gets shallower and shallower. Soon it is no longer snow, but rain, falling into the cold air. The rain droplets freeze into small ice pellets known as sleet. When sleet hits the ground, it bounces and does not stick to objects. Therefore, it is generally considered no more than a minor nuisance. However, during the February 1994 storms, several inches of sleet (5 to 7 inches over parts of Frederick, Carroll and Montgomery Counties) were enough to cause considerable problems on roadways.
        Eventually, the cold air mass is so shallow that the rain does not freeze until it hits the ground or other surfaces. Any object with a temperature below 32 F will suddenly find a glaze of ice accumulating on it. This is known as freezing rain and is very dangerous. Ice on roadways and walkways is treacherous. As the ice accumulates on trees and wires, the weight eventually causes them to break, knocking out power and phone service. Sometimes, so much ice can accumulate that structural damage can occur to buildings and communication towers can collapse from the weight. Southern Maryland and portions of the Eastern Shore were devastated by ice during the February 10-11, 1994 storm. Many people were without power for a week.

        In western Maryland, another type of snow storm can cause significant accumulations over Garrett County and Allegany County west of Cumberland. This is called "Lake Effect Snow". Winds out of the northwest blow across the Great Lakes. In the early winter, the lakes are still quite warm. As the air moves across Lake Erie, it is warmed by the water beneath. Evaporation occurs which increases the amount of water vapor (or humidity) in the air. The warmer, moister air off the lake's surface begins to rise (as steam would from a kettle). As the air rises, it cools forming clouds and snow. Streets of clouds or snow bands can be seen on satellite streaming off Lake Erie, across Pennsylvania, into the Appalachian Mountains in Maryland. These are called "Snow Squalls". One minute the sun is shining and the next it is windy and snowing heavily. As the air rises up the west side of the Appalachians into areas such as Garrett County, Maryland, the snow intensifies.
        Because of Garrett County's elevation above sea level, it is typically 10 degrees colder than areas to the east such as Baltimore. Combine the colder air with the lake-effect snow with upslope snow on the west side of the Appalachians and the county averages over 100 inches of snow per year. Oakland holds the seasonal snowfall total with 204 inches in the winter of 1995-1996. November brought many lake-effect and upslope snows to Oakland producing a November monthly record of 58 inches that to kick that season off to a very snowy start.

        Other types of weather systems generally do not cause major problems for Maryland. Storms such as the "Alberta Clipper," a fast moving storm from the region around Alberta, Canada, or a cold front sweeping through from the west, generally does not bring more than 2 to 4 inches of snow. An unusually strong clipper hit Maryland just a day after snow ended from the January 1996 Blizzard and dropped a surprise 4 to 5 inches from DC, northeast across Baltimore. On rare occassions, thunderstorms can produce locally heavy snow. Another small scale heavy snow event can occur when localized bands of snow become nearly stationary over and area such as occurred on March 9, 2000. Again, this is a rare event.

 


MARYLAND'S HISTORIC WINTER EXTREMES:

      Information on weather goes back a long time in the Mid-Atlantic Region, thanks to early record keeping by weather observers such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Listed below are some of the historic winter storms, cold waves, and dramatic temperature changes to impact the state. Data was gathered mostly from local weather records dating back to 1872. David M. Ludlum's Early American Winters 1604-1820 and Early American Winters, II 1821-1870 were also referenced and occassionally used.

18th and 19th Century Winters

January 27-28, 1772: This storm was named the "Washington and Jefferson Snow Storm" since both of their diaries recorded it. The storm left 30 to 36 inches of snow (3 feet) in the Washington area. Official weather records did not begin until after the Civil War. Therefore, this storm is not listed in the record books, but it did produce the greatest snow this area has seen since the early settlements. People were unable to travel for up to two weeks due to the deep snow pack left by the storm. It took 5 weeks for postal service to resume.

March 11-13, 1772:  An account from Carrollton in Howard County reported another significant storm to have dropped 17 inches of snow. More snow on the 20th brought the snow pack to 20 inches.

May 4, 1774:  Snow showers and a cold northwest wind noted by George Washington at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Snow showers were likely seen in Maryland as well.

Winter of 1779-1780: This winter was so cold that ice was piled 20 feet high along the Delmarva Coast and stayed there until spring! The upper portion of the Chesapeake Bay froze solid south to the mouth of the Potomac River. People were able to walk from Annapolis to Kent Island. Even sleighs and loaded vehicles made the crossing. Even the lower Virginia portion of the bay was frozen across.  Jefferson noted that such an extensive freeze of the tidal waters had not been noted before including the hard winter of 1740-1741.

Winter of 1783-1784: This was considered "The Long Winter" and while not as cold as 1780, it lasted longer into the spring making it harder for some of the settlers. The winter was thought to have ranked near the top of the extremes for both cold and snow depth. It began with snow at Christmas and was followed by cold and more snow. Jefferson noted morning temperatures in Annapolis of around 0 for four consecutive days. Later in the month colder days occurred that were too cold to be registered by his thermometer. The prolong cold froze up the harbors and channels of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore Harbor was frozen up on January 2nd and did not reopen until March 25th and then only with the assistence of an ice cutter! The Bay was reported to have frozen nearly to its entrance.  Many ships were lost from the ice.

May 8, 1803: Snow was observed around Washington, DC.

January 6-7, 1821: A nor'easter of great intensity hit the Eastern Seaboard from Charleston to New England. The band of deep snow stretched from interior Virginia to the southern New Jersey coast. A foot of snow fell across DC according to press accounts, though John Q. Adams thought it was more like 18 inches. Baltimore measured 14 inches. The storm was recorded at Fort McHenry starting around 1 pm on the 6th and ending about 9 am the following morning with temperatures hovering in the 20s throughout. Philadelphia saw 18 inches in 20 hours. An arctic air mass descended over the region following the storm and low temperatures dropped to around zero.

January 14, 1831:  This intense nor'easter was dubbed "The Great Snowstorm" in a Pennsylvania account. It was likely the biggest storm along the Atlantic Seaboard for the 19th Century in the sense of its extent of impact from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine. It produced the heaviest snowfall over the largest area of any storm studied by Ludlum. Marrietta, Ohio had 15 inches, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had 22 inches and Gettysburg had 30 inches. Winchester, Virginia had 8 inches, but it was said to be heaviest east of the Appalachian Mountains. At Baltimore, as deep a snow had not occurred since 1760 according to the local press. Baltimore had 18 inches and Washington, DC had 13 inches. Central Maryland likely saw 15 to 30 inches. A Columbia paper described the snow as being 3 feet deep with drifts to 12 feet high. Cape May, New Jersey and West Chester, Pennsylvania also saw close to 3 feet of snow. On the coast, high tides and waves caused considerable damage.

December 22-23, 1839: Snow began around 3 am on the 22nd in Washington, DC as a northeast gale intensified. The storm reached its greatest intensity around 9 pm that evening when the barometer dropped to its lowest point of 29.25 inches. The wind then backed to northwest and snow continued until morning with 10 inches accumulation in the city. The heaviest snow band was just to the north of the city covering much of central and northeast Maryland with its heaviest fall. Two feet of snow was reported at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Hagerstown reported it as the worst in 20 to 30 years meaning that for them it was worst than the January 1831 storm. Frederick reported two feet. All roads around Washington and Baltimore were blocked for two days. At Baltimore, about 16 inches of snow fell mixing with some sleet and rain to form a compact mass.

January-February 1852: National headlines were made in January-February 1852 when traffic across the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland was interdicted for a period of 8 weeks as the river froze solid. Here, the river near its mouth into the Chesapeake Bay, is 8 tenths of a mile across. The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad employed a ferry to connect the rails on either side. The railroad, facing a great loss of revenue, tested the ice and found it to be quite firm. At first, a boardwalk was laid across the ice which people walked across on foot and then mail was hauled across on sleighs. A connecting train on either side carried the passengers and mail to their destinations. Finally, an ice bridge was built and train cars were hauled across using ropes and horse-drawn sleighs. The bridge was completed on January 15. As many as forty cars were hauled across in a single day. In all, over 1300 cars and over 10,000 tons of mail and merchandise were moved by this means. It was a cold winter. On January 20th, following a fresh lay of 6 to 8 inches of snow, the temperature dropped to -5 in Baltimore and -12 in Annapolis. The Susquehanna River ice bridge at Havre de Grace broke up after 40 days of use on February 24. Ferry traffic resumed on March 3, some eight weeks after it had been halted.

January 1857: This was "The Great Blizzard and Freeze".  A severe cold set in the first two weeks of January. The second half of January saw the first of three arctic outbreaks that would set records from the Plains to the Eastern Seaboard. On the morning of  January 18, temperatures fell to zero through central Maryland and areas to the west. With the arctic air in place, a disturbance moved northeast from the Gulf of Mexico and a nor'easter was born. It rapidly deepened and moved north-northeast up the coastline. Snow began in Washington that morning. The heaviest snow fell closer to the coast than is usual. It stretched from central Virginia northeast across the Delaware Bay. Washington estimated 18 to 24 inches of snow with drifts to four feet. At Baltimore it was two feet deep with some drifts as high as six to ten feet. Strong winds caused structural damage on land and wrecked ships at sea. Great drifts blocked transportation through the state. Richmond was cut off from Baltimore and Washington for seven days. Norfolk, Virginia was buried under 20 foot drifts of snow!  The cold became so extreme that all Maryland and Virginia rivers froze. Frederick recorded a mean temperature of 20.4F which was their coldest of record even through the cold winters of 1903-1904 and 1904-1905. The Chesapeake Bay was solid ice a mile and a half out from its coastline. At Cape Henry (at the mouth of the Chesapeake), one could walk out 100 yards from the lighthouse on the frozen ocean.

March 20-21, 1867:  A severe snowstorm struck the Eastern Shore in time to welcome the start of Spring. It began around 6 pm on the 20th and continued until 10 am on the 21st. According to a correspondent in Georgetown, Delaware, an amazing 32 inches of snow fell in just 16 hours. Milford measured 27 inches with drifts of 15 feet near Lighthouse. In a belt across southern Delaware, he thought 30 inches had fallen. The recorder was experienced at measuring snowfall and an open critic of those who exaggerate amounts. The heavy snow band from this storm likely impacted the Maryland central eastern shore counties and Southern Maryland.

December 30 1880-January 1, 1881: The "New Years Deep Freeze" began with parts of western and central Maryland receiving nearly two feet of snow. The fresh snow aided in plummeting temperatures. The coldest temperatures occurred between December 30, 1880, and January 1, 1881. Baltimore dropped to -6 F, Emmitsburg -19 F, and Woodstock (Howard County) -17 F.
Washington, DC recorded low temperatures of -7F on the 30th, -13F on the 31st, and -14F on New Years Day. Only the "Great Arctic Outbreak" in February 1899 would be colder than this episode.

April 9, 1884: A late season snow storm surprised the Baltimore area with 8 inches of snow.

March 11-13, 1888: The Blizzard of '88 was also known as the White Hurricane. The storm began in Maryland the morning of March 11 and by evening, the Baltimore-Washington corridor and surrounding area was an ice-entangled mess with fallen tree limbs, electric lines and downed telegraph poles. The city was completely blacked out with the exception of a few gas lights. On the morning of the 12th, people arose to find a half a foot to a foot of snow and ice blanketing the city with up to a foot outside the city. Winds blew up to 48 mph taking down any utility poles left standing. All communication was cut off to the outside world. It took a week to restore the links and for Washington to find out that Baltimore and New York had been hit even harder. By storms end, New York was buried under 21 inches of snow. Temperatures had been in the single digits and teens and the wind roared at 35 mph with gusts up to 75 mph blowing drifts to 20 feet deep burying some homes and buildings.
        The strong northwest winds behind the storm blew so hard that they emptied the Tidal Potomac. Boat builders said that low tide was five feet below normal. Only a small channel down the middle of the river contained water that soon froze. Dust was seen blowing along the dried out riverbed! In Baltimore, the low tides grounded ships at their docks. Without telegraph, officials reverted to sending messages by signal lamps from one old watch tower to another. On the Chesapeake Bay, the water was at its lowest tide on record preventing ships from sailing up it. Most of the craft that were on the bay were driven to shore in the winds causing serious damage or complete loss. At least 40 mariners died, most of which were on oyster dredges that either capsized or were thrown onto the shore. On the coast of Maryland and Virginia, there was flooding that submerged an entire island washing away a large herd of cattle that had been wintering there.

March 15-18, 1892: Sixteen inches of snow was recorded in Baltimore. Washington, DC had 7.8 inches.

April 10-12, 1894: What made this Mid-Atlantic nor'easter unique was how late in the season it struck. The whirling snow and gale winds made the storm the most severe in many years in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Fallston (Harford County) recorded 24 inches of snow. Baltimore had 5.0 inches.

picture of cold wave temperatures of February 1899February 1899: The Great Arctic Outbreak of '99 and the Great Eastern Blizzard of '99 occurred this month. It was an incredible sequence of back-to-back snowstorms sandwiched by an extreme cold wave. On February 5 to 8, a great blizzard struck the Mid-Atlantic Region.   Baltimore received almost a foot of snow and Washington 14 inches over 4 days. As the storm moved out on the 8th, temperatures feel below zero on the 9th. Record cold settled in by the morning of  the 10th, Laurel recorded a low of -18 F and Washington -8. On the 11th, Washington, DC recorded a record minimum of -15 F and a record low maximum of only +4F. Fallston (Harford County) recorded -8F on the 9th and -14F on the 10th and 11th. Charlotte Hall in Southern Maryland reached -19F and Princess Anne -10F. A second blizzard struck on February 11. Temperatures near the start of the storm ranged from -15 to +11F. The storm dropped an additional 20 inches on Washington, 21 inches at Baltimore, and 9 in Solomons.  An amazing 34 inches fell on Cape May, NJ. Snow depths reached 34 inches in DC and Baltimore, 24 inches in Princess Anne and as much as 41 inches at Cape May! Northwest winds of 48 mph created blizzard conditions and drove the snow into 10 foot drifts! These blocked transportation lines to the cities causing a major coal shortage that resulted in rationing. Food was also rationed, though not as severely as the coal. On February 16, an ice storm hit. Washington recorded its greatest monthly snow total with 35.2 inches and its greatest seasonal snowfall total with 54.4 inches. Frederick recorded 34 inches for the month. Baltimore had a record 33.9 inches for the month with a record 51.1 inches for the season (This record stood for nearly a century until 1996). Hagerstown also recorded its greatest February snow total with 31 inches for the month. The winter of 1898-1899 was so cold over a large part of the US that ice flowed from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico! This has only been recorded one other time. On February 13, 1784, ice flows blocked the Mississippi River at New Orleans and then passed into the Gulf of Mexico.
 

February 16-18, 1900:  Washington, DC recorded 14.3 inches of snow and Baltimore recorded 12 inches of snow.
March 15-16, 1900:  Washington, DC recorded 10 inches of snow and Baltimore had 5.3 inches..

 


20th Century Winters (1901-1950)

The Cold Winters of 1903-1904 and 1904-1905: The winter of 1903-1904 was recorded as the coldest winter in Baltimore in the 88 years for which there were authentic records (Note: official records do not begin until 1871). The following winter of 1904-1905 was only a tad warmer. Records through the year 2000 show these two winters to be ranked 3rd and 4th respectively averaging just under 30Fin Baltimore. In Washington, DC, the winter of 1904-1905 in the coldest followed by 1903-1904, again, averaging below 30F. For the winter of 1904-1905, it began with a nor'easter on the November 13th. Baltimore saw its heaviest November snowfall in 34 years with with 3 inches.  December brought more snow with 17 inches recorded for the month in Baltimore (this record stood until December 1966).  On December 10, 1904 another nor'easter dropped a foot of snow on Cambridge, Maryland on the Eastern Shore. Solomons recorded 8 inches, Baltimore had 9.5 inches and Washington, DC had 7 inches. On January 5, Frederick recorded a low of -12F. On January 11-12, Washington recorded 6 inches of snow with and additional 9 inches on the 28-30th. Baltimore had another 17 inches for the month. A large portion of the region was left snowbound for several days. In the month of February, the temperature at Baltimore averaged 8 degrees below normal for the month (records from 1871 to 2000 rank this as the 4th coldest). Only twice did the temperature rise above 32F largely due to the heavy snow pack which remained on the ground until the 25th. Snow drifts made roads nearly impassable in western Maryland and the temperature in Oakland fell to -20F on the 4th. Many areas saw below zero readings on February 4th and 5th. Easton was -3F, Laurel was -8F, Frederick was -4F, and Chewsville was -9F. Oakland saw 22 days with tempertures dipping below zero that winter. The head of the Chesapeake Bay had 15 to 19 inches of ice on it and the St. Marys River was frozen from shore to shore from January 5 to February 28. Ice finally cleared the mouth of the Patuxent River on the 22nd.

Winter into Spring 1906:  After two very cold winters, January 1906 was very mild. Unfortunately, trees and plants responded and began to bud as though it was late March. An arctic air mass moved over the region and with clear skies and light winds, temperatures fell in some areas below zero on the 7th. Cumberland and Frederick recorded -8F, Oakland -29F, Chewsville -17F, College Park -15F, Denton -3F, Annapolis 6F, and Ocean City 11F. Spring didn't go much better and a severe cold spell for May hit bringing a final killing freeze and frost to the spring crops. On May 11, low temperatures dipped to 29F in Salisbury, 28F at Great Falls, and 27 at Taneytown and College Park.

March-April, 1907: On March 22, the temperature reached 90 F in Northwest Washington, DC and 88 F in College Park. The next day, DC recorded an amazing 93 F and on the 29th 90 F again with Salisbury reaching 93F. Even western Maryland saw 90F with Cumberland reaching it on the 28th and Clear Springs on the 23rd. The average temperature for the last 10 days of March was 62 F. With the arrival of April came a sharp contrast. By April 2, the minimum temperature fell to 23 F in Washington and only 19 in Cumberland and 9F in Deer Park (Garrett County). For the first 22 days of the month, the temperature averaged only 44 F. Western portions of the state saw snow on several days. The mean temperature for April was the third coldest in the last 100 years at Baltimore. The cool spell continued through May and June.

December 22-23, 1908: Washington, DC recorded 11.5 inches of snow and Baltimore had 7.4 inches.

December 25-26, 1909: The "Great Christmas Snowstorm" struck the North Atlantic States hard. Maryland was on the southern edge with the Upper Eastern Shore receive over a foot and a half of snow. Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania averaged 20 inches. Philadelphia had 21 inches in 23 hours. A band of 25 inch snowfall stretched from Sudlersville in Queen Annes County to Dover, DE. Towson record 16 inches and Rockville 10 inches from the storm. Baltimore had 10 inches most of which fell on Christmas Day. Washington DC had around 5 inches. The storm did its greatest damage in New England. Winds gusted to 72 mph in Rhode Island with the storm and the combination of wind and snow damaged poles and wires. People were lost with their ships and a couple people drowned in tidal flooding from the storm.

March 4, 1909 in front of presidential viewing stand for inaugural parade.President Taft returning to White House after the inaugural ceremony.
Left photo: March 4, 1909 in front of presidential viewing stand for inaugural parade. Right photo: President Taft returning to White House after the inaugural ceremony. Photos from Library of Congress.

March 3-4, 1909:  The "Inauguration Day Storm" was considered one of the most destructive in many years. Very moist snow mixed with rain in many locations with temperatures falling to near or just below the freezing point caused the accumulation to adhere to wires and trees and freeze solid. Thunderstorms were recorded on the 3rd with the storm at Frederick, Rockville, Taneytown, Annapolis, Laurel, Solomons, Washington DC, Denton, Easton and Salisbury. The extreme southern part of Maryland saw rain and west in the mountains, precipitation was very light. In between, telephone and telegraph wires were torn by the weight of ice and packed snow. Many trees were broken or pulled down. Trains were stalled and city streets clogged. All activity was brought to a standstill. Baltimore had no communication to the outside world on a commercial basis until the night of the 7th. Snowfall across the area varied from 5 inches to 15 inches. Baltimore recorded 10.2 inches of snow. President William H. Taft's inaugural ceremony on March 4th was forced indoors due to the 9.8 inches of snow over the Capital city. Sanitation workers shoveled sand and snow through half the night in preparation while the storm continued. It took 6,000 men and 500 wagons to clear 58,000 tons of snow and slush from the parade route. Despite the freezing temperatures, howling wind, snow, and sleet, a large crowd gathered in front of the Capitol to view the inauguration, but the weather forced the ceremony indoors. Just after the swearing-in, the snow tapered off.

January 31, 1910:  Between 6 pm and midnight, a snowstorm struck the lower and middle portions of the Chesapeake Bay. The center of the storm was over the mouth of the Patuxent River. Ships did not dare proceed. Eyewitnesses stated that it was the most severe snowstorm ever experienced on the bay. Observer at Cove Point: "...the flakes fell so think and fast that it was impossible to see any distance. The fog signal at the light station was kept blowing for six hours continuously to warn any navigators who might make their way through the storm."

November 3-4, 1910 and December 4-7, 1910:  On November 3-4, Baltimore recorded 5 inches of snow. This is the earliest significant snow (> 4 inches) on record. Another early storm hit that year on December 4-7. Washington, DC recorded 10 inches of snow and Baltimore had 10.9 inches.

coldest temperatures of 20th centuryJanuary 13-14, 1912:  A Record Cold Wave settled in over the state. The cold spell first hit on January 5 and ended about February 16. It was one of the most severe in duration and intensity and to this day hold the State and many local low temperature records. Large amounts of ice formed on the rivers and bay interferring with shipping. The coldest day struck western Maryland on January 13. Oakland (in Garrett County) recorded the state's all time record low temperature of -40 F. Deer Park was -33F and Gransville was -25F . In Allegany County, Westernport was -17F and Frostburg -14F. The next day, Hagerstown and Chewsville in Washington County reported -27 F and Keedysville -26F. In Frederick County, Emmitsburg was -23F and Frederick -21 F. In Carroll County, Taneytown reached -21F, In Montgomery County, Great Falls was -21 F and Rockville was -10F. In Prince Georges County, College Park was -26F, Laurel -19 F, Cheltenham -16F and Tacoma Park -8 F.  Laurel was -19F. In Baltimore County, Towson was -14F. Baltimore City was -2F, Annapolis -3F, and Leonardtown -6F. On the Eastern Shore, Sudlersville -10F, Chestertown -7F, Cambridge -5F, Denton -11F, Salisbury and Princess Anne -4F.

February-March 1914: A blizzard struck the Baltimore region on February 13. The minimum temperature was only 8F and a snowfall of 6 inches was accompanied by very high winds. Salisbury recorded a foot of snow. On March 1-2, a second nor'easter produced blizzard conditions in the state. Winds were so strong that roofs were blown off in Baltimore and telegraph and telephone wires, signs awnings and trees were blown down. The railroads abandoned regular schedules for several days. Again, snowfall was light, but the low temperatures and high winds made the storm particularly harsh. In Baltimore, a 5 minute wind average was 35 mph, a 1-minute was 44 mph (now considered a sustained wind) and gusts were even higher. The observer at Clear Springs wrote "...severest windstorm we have ever known occurred. The wind continued for 36 hours at almost hurricane force, blowing down many barns and houses." Frederick observer wrote, "...heavy northwest wind did much damage." Green Spring Furnance observer: "Blizzard conditions occurred on the night of the 1st and all day the 2nd, unroofing many houses." Monrovia observer: "...a windstorm, with tornado characteristics, did much damage." Solomons: "Considerable damage was done by wind..."

April 3, 1915: A spring nor'easter brought the biggest late season snow on record to the Delmarva Peninsula. The storm dropped 15 inches of snow in a swath from Sudlersville (Queen Annes County) to Dover, Delaware. Ten inches of snow fell on Salisbury. This area typically gets only 8 to 10 inches total snowfall per year. It was the heaviest April snowfall on record. Baltimore received 4.5 inches of snow and Washington, DC, 3.5 inches. No snow fell west of Frederick. Near blizzard conditions were created by 30 to 35 mph winds from the northeast during the storm. Princess Anne reported "Heavy snow and high wind...caused damage to telegraph and telephone lines".

April 8-9, 1916: North-central Maryland was struck with a late season snowfall.  Darlington in Harford County recorded a foot of snow, Towson had 9 inches, Baltimore 5 inches, College Park and Laurel received 8 inches and Union Bridge in Carroll County and Emmitsburg in Frederick County also had 8 inches. Rockville had 4 inches and Washington, DC recorded 2 inches.

December 1917 to January 1918:  This was the coldest December since 1876 which averaged 27 at Baltimore. The December of 1917 averaged 28.4F and holds the record for the most days (14) with a high temperature not reaching above 32F. It also had the coldest day on record where the high temperature on December 30th only climbed to 9F with a low of -3F. On the 31st, it only reached a high of 12F. It was not until December 1989 that the area would experience such extended cold in December. Navigation stopped on many of the rivers by the 9th. There was 8 to 10 inches of ice across the mouth of the Patuxent. On December 30th, Bachmans Valley (Baltimore County) reached -12F as did College Park, Great Falls, Frederick, and Chewsville. The cold extended west to Oakland with -32F and east to Cambridge with -2F.  The cold continued into January. Even though official records did not begin until 1871, this December/January was noted as the coldest in 101 years of data at Baltimore and the two month cold spell has not been matched since in its extent. The January average temperature for 1918 was only 24.2 and it remained the record until 1977. With 190 years of data, January 1918 had the coldest average high temperature. Chewsville recorded 7 days with lows zero or below and two days dropping to -14F. Snowfall for the month was about 3 times the normal in many areas and all but the southern most portion of the state remained under a white blanket. Western Maryland saw monthly snowfall of 30 to 45 inches, Frederick recorded 35 inches for the month, central Maryland and the Upper Shore saw around two feet of snow. Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore saw around 18 inches. By the end of the month, heavy ice covered the entire Chesapeake Bay and its triburtaries south to the Potomac River. On the coast, Chincoteague Bay was also frozen with ice 10 inches thick across its mouth.  Ice conditions on the bay did not clear until February 13 and the Upper Bay not until the 20th.

Winter of 1918-1919:  Oakland recorded only 29.9 inches of snow for the season which normally averages over three times that amount. This winter may be the least seasonal snowfall of record for western Maryland.

February 4-6, 1920:  While a nor'easter pounded eastern Maryland with high winds and heavy rain, it dropped heavy snow over western Maryland and sleet in between. High tides caused much damage in Ocean City by lifting the smaller buildings from their foundations. It cut a channel between the coast and Sinepuxent Bay which was actually considered beneficial by local residents. High winds and light snow followed the storm on the 6th. Ice remained on the upper bay through the month until the 15th of March. Ice on the lower bay was a problem until the 10th of February. On the 12th of March, airplanes bombed an ice gorge on the Susquehanna River.

March 29, 1921: An early spring abruptly ended when a cold front passed through on the afternoon of March 28 and brought the greatest 24 hour temperature change to the state. Strong northwest winds ushered in the cold air and gave snow to Garrett County. On March 27, Westernport in Allegany County hit 90F and Hancock in Washington County hit 91F.  By the 30th, Hancock would fall to 18F. In Washington, it was 82F at noon on the 28th, but after wind gusts to 50 mph behind the cold front, the temperature had fallen to 26F by the morning of the 29th. A fall of 56F in just 18 hours. It was typical across the state. The greatest temperature change of 67F occurred at State Sanatorium in Frederick County. In College Park, the temperature fell from 83F to 25F and reached a minimum of 20F on the 30th. The warm temperatures early in the year caused an early bloom on the fruit trees in the state. March was the warmest on record at the time. The sudden downfall of temperatures at the end of March into early April caused great damage to the crop (several millions of dollars - 1921 dollars) for the year.

January 27-29, 1922: Exactly 150 years after the Washington and Jefferson Storm, a powerful nor'easter brought the deepest snow of this century and the storm of record to Maryland and the District of Columbia. College Park and Cambridge both set record one day totals with 24 inches of snow in 24 hours. Temperatures were quite cold across the area before the storm hit setting up excelent conditions for a heavy snow fall. On the 26th, Washington recorded a low of only 11F as arctic air settled in ahead of the nor'easter. By the 29th, a maximum snow swath of 30 to 32 inches lay across southern Baltimore, eastern Howard, northern Prince Georges, northern Anne Arundel and portions of DC. Weather stations at Baltimore and Washington, DC recorded their all time greatest storm totals with 26.5 inches in Baltimore and 28 inches in Northwest Washington. Southern Maryland saw 20 inches, the Eastern Shore 8 inches, Washington County 12 inches and 25 inches in the Allegany Mountains highlands and 16 inches at Oakland. Strong northeast winds (gusting up to 50 mph) created blizzard conditions and heavy drifting blocked roads. Some remained impassable for days. The main highways were opened in two to four days. In Baltimore, the cost of cleaning the streets was $50,000 and losses to railroads and businesses was $60,000.  The weight of the snow caused what the Washington Post called "the greatest disaster in Washington's history". The roof of  the Knickerbocker Theater on 18th Street and Columbia in Northwest DC collapsed taking the balcony down with it. An estimated 900 people were in the theater at the time. While many escaped, 98 people were crushed to death and another 158 injured. A small boy squeezed between the rupple to help administer pain pills to victims that remained trapped for hours. The storm became now known historically as the Knickerbocker Storm.

April/May 1923: Oakland in Garret County reached a low temperature of -2 and Grantsville -3F. On May 9th, 2 to 3 inches of snow fell over Garret County with flurries and light sleet across the northern section east of the Allegany Mountain region to the bay. Baltimore recorded a trace of snow. This remains the latest date snow has been seen in Baltimore. With temperatures falling below freezing on the 9th, fruit buds on trees and Strawberries in Garret County were damaged.

March 1924: A nor'easter struck on the 10th and 11th bringing heavy rain to the Coastal Plain and heavy snow to the mountain region. Snowfall was between 10 and 15 inches in the northern Peidmont Plateau and in Allegany and Garrett Counties. High northeast winds during the night of the 10th into the 11th crippled telephone, telegraph, and lighting systems by blowing down poles and "caused the worst damage of this character since the nor'easter of March 4, 1909. Several weeks were required to restore wire service, and railroad and inter-urban electric schedules were interrupted until poles could be removed from tracks. The loss of poles and wires was estimated at nearly $1 million. Another nor'easter on the 21st caused a snowfall of 15 to 20 inches in the northern Piedmont Plateau. The months heavy snow left many roads blocked and winds produced high drifts in some cases 15 to 20 feet high.  There was 3 to 4 feet of snow covering the mountains. Then the high temperature on March 28 rose to 71 at Cumberland. Heavy rains moved in overnight into the 29th with over an inch and a half falling in 6 hours. By 8 am, the gauge on the Potomac in Cumberland had already risen almost 4 feet from the previous day. The Potomac rose at a rate of 1 foot per hour until 3 pm, then 1.5 feet per hour until 6 pm when it peaked at a height of 19 feet and 2.5 inches. Three feet of water was in the main business section of Cumberland. According to the records of the time, this flood was 2.5 feet higher than any other flood recorded in Cumberland. Cumberland flood losses and damages came to over $4 million. Western Port was also 5 to 6 feet under water. A family of 5 were drowned at Kitzmiller. The Potomac would flood again in May, but only reach 13.8 feet in Cumberland this time.

April 1, 1924: This April Fools Day Storm produced the largest recorded April snowfall for Baltimore. A nor'easter brought 3 to 10 inches of snow to central Maryland. Westminister, Frederick and Freeland received 10 inches of snow, Baltimore 9.5 inches, College Park 9 inches, Aberdeen 8 inches, and Chesapeake City 8 inches. Princess Anne recorded 3 inches of sleet and thunderstorms struck areas on the Eastern Shore. A trace of snow fell on May 9, 1923. The latest seasonal measured snowfall was 0.1 inch on April 28, 1898. On April 9, 1884, 8 inches of snow fell in Baltimore marking the latest significant snow for a season.

December 31, 1924 to January 2, 1925: Heavy snow fell across southern Maryland on New Years Eve. It was followed by more moderate to heavy snow on January 2nd. This second snow also hit the central and northern portions of the Eastern Shore and heavy snow fell across northcentral and western Maryland. In Harford county, 22 inches was recorded at Darlington and Calvert County saw 18 inches at Ferry Landing. Annapolis recorded 19 inches. In Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick Counties, snow depths ranged from 10 to 17 inches. Some sleet also fell toward the end of the storm in the east. Baltimore saw 11 inches of snow and 3 inches of sleet. Roads were blocked on the upper Eastern Shore and across northcentral Maryland for several days. Thawing and freezing over the next couple weeks turned the snow into an ice pack.  

February 1926: Two coastal storms (nor'easters) struck this month. The first one hit on February 3-4 and dropped 11 to 19 inches of snow across western Washington County and Allegany and Garrett Counties and brought a coating of ice to the Baltimore region and high winds to the Upper Eastern Shore. The second storm hit on February 9-10 and dropped heavy snow across all but the Lower Eastern Shore. Snowfall amounts ranged from 10 to 15 inches in the Allegheny Mountain region with 10 inches in Montgomery, Howard, northern Prince Georges, Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties. The heaviest band of snow, 14 to 16 inches,  fell across Kent and northern Queen Annes Counties. Snow drifted badly on the 11th.

January 28, 1928: Between 10 and 18 inches of snow fell across the northcentral Maryland and the Upper Eastern Shore.Baltimore County saw the most snowfall with 14 to 30 inches of snow. The higher amounts closer to the Pennsylvania border. Strong northwest winds followed the storm causing severe drifting shich blocked roads for several days. 

April 27-28, 1928:  A late season heavy snow storm struck western Maryland. A nor'easter brough heavy snow, sleet and rain to Frederick, Washington, and Allegany Counties with rain and gale force winds east of there. The Allegheny Mountain highlands received 25 to 30 inches of snow. Oakland reported 16 inches. It all melted within two to three days causing the upper Potomac River to flood. Telegraph, telephone and electric services were completely knocked out. Damages to these services were estimated at $200,000 (1928) dollars. High winds accompanied the storm. In Middletown, Frederick County, a number of houses were unroofed and many trees were uprooted, signs and outbuildings blown down, and the baseball park granstand was demolished. In Baltimore, the press stand at the stadium was unroofed, severl plate glass store windows blown in, signs and billboards blowndown, and trees were uprooted.

May 23, 1931: Snow flurries in the Allegany Mountain region. 

March 6-7 and 27-28, 1932: A strong storm on March 6-7 struck from Virginia to New York with heavy snow and high winds. Three to 7 inches fell in Allegany region, 6 to 9 inches over the Blue Ridge region, and 3 to 6 inches between the two. Rain fell to the east. Strong northwest winds on the back side of the storm caused heavy drifting. Five foot drifts in the Blue Ridge area stranded hundreds of motorists. The combination of heavy wet snow and high winds took out communication lines and poles isolating communities in Frederick County. A week past before some areas saw service restored. Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company estimated over one million dollars in damage to replace 21,400 poles, 10,000 miles of open wire lines, and 60 miles of cable in Maryland, Virginia and eastern West Virginia. Potomac Edison saw $75,000 in damages and the Postal Telegraph Company $12,500. A severe cold spell followed the storm from the 7-16th killing fruit blossoms and turning winter grains brown. It was also reported to have killed 10 people. This cold wave broke what had been the warmest winter in 114 years.
        On the 27-28, another storm struck the state with high winds and heavy snow, again, targeting western Maryland. Garrett and Allegany Counties saw 10 to 17 inches of snow. More communications lines came down along with 100 telephone poles resulting in another half a million dollars in damages. Roads were blocked by 7 to 8 foot drifts. Severe northwest winds behind the storm on the 28th damaged homes, barns, and uprooted trees.  In all, the two storms were estimated to have produced more than two million dollars (1932) in damages. Garrett County recorded a total snowfall of 27 to 32 inchesand Frostburg had 23 inches. Monthly totals dropped dramtically to the east with Frederick County reporting 8 to 13 inches.

December 17, 1932 6 to 8 inches fell across western Maryland with 8 to 13 inches in north-central and southern Maryland. Baltimore recorded 11.5 inches of snow. On the Eastern Shore, 4 to 6 inches fell over the lower portions with the greatest amounts from the storm, 10 to 15 inches, across the Upper Shore counties.

January 22-23, 1935:  13 inches of snow recorded in Frederick, MD. In general 10 to 18 inches fell across north-central Maryland. Strong northeast winds on the 23rd and northwest on the 24th drifted the snow into several foot drifts which blocked roads. More than one thousand poles were fell on the Eastern Shore and several hundred in Southern Maryland from a heavy glaze of ice which accumulated on wires and trees and broke under the load.

February 1936: The winter of 1935-1936 was cold and snowy. The mean temperature averaged 6 degree below normal. It was the coldest since the winter of 1917-1918. Ice Conditions on the Chesapeake Bay were bad with the upper Bay and tributaries completely frozen over and the lower Bay mostly frozen. A storm on the Februaty 7 struck southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore the hardest. La Plata reported 21 inches of snow and Ferry Landing in Calvert County had 18 inches. The Washington, DC area had over 14 inches of snow. The Baltimore area only saw 3 to 6 inches, but just south of the city had 6 to 13 inches. Over on the Lower Eastern Shore there was 13 to 18 inches of snow. Princess Anne and Easton both reported 18 inches. With fresh snow on the ground, once the clouds were gone temperatures fell below zero. Bell (Prince Georges) dropped to -17F on the 8th. Boyds (Montgomery) reached -11F, College Park -12F, Lutherville (Baltimore County) -13F, Darlington (Harford) -8F, Millington (Kent County) -6F, La Plata (Charles) and Solomons (Calvert) reached -4F, and Aberdeen (Harford) -3F. Baltimore City estimated the expense of removing snow from the streets, thawing water pipes, and ice-breaking activities at $250,000 and repairing streets damaged by the severe cold at $350,000. Ice on the bay destroyed 163 unattended lights and 39 unlighted pile beacons.  The cold, snowy winter went on to a March thaw which lead to the Great Spring Flood of March 1936 on the Potomac River.

November 24-25, 1938: The Thanksgiving Day Storm was an early season snowstorm that marked a dramatic change from the mild warm weather that mark the 1st through the 23rd of the month. It is the November storm of record. It dumped 14 inches on Aberdeen (Harford) and Georgetown (Cecil County). Kent County and Baltimore County saw 10 to 12 inches, 6 to 9 inches fell across Southern Maryland, and the Batimore and Washington areas. Baltimore recorded 8.5 inches and Washington 7 inches. Talbot, Caroline and Queen Annes saw 8 to 10 inches with 4 to 7 inches across the Lower Eastern Shore. Lake-effect snowfall on the back side of the storm added to totals in Garrett County with stations reporting 12 to 14 inches. Hundred of automobiles were snowbound on the highway during the Thanksgiving Holiday travel period.

January 23-24, 1940: Storm struck all the way from Mississippi to New Jersey. Over 15 inches fell in Louisville, MS. One to two feet of snow fell across portions of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Cheltenham (Prince Georges) recorded 24 inches. A path of 12 to 24 inches of snow fell across Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Washington, DC recorded 9.5 inches.

March 29-30, 1942: The Palm Sunday Snowstorm dumped the state's heaviest March snow on record in Maryland. The storm began as rain but changed over to a wet heavy snow. The snow stuck to power lines, trees and shrubs damaging them under its weight. Many of the fruit trees had begun to blossom. Over 20 inches fell over northern Anne Arundel, Howard, Southern and western Baltimore County, Carroll County, eastern and northern Frederick County, and north-central Washington County. Maximum amounts reported were 31 inches at Clear Springs (just 12 days earlier the temperature had reached 79F here), 32 inches at Westminister, 30 to 36 inches at State Sanatorium (Frederick County) and 36 inches at Edgemont (Washington County). Baltimore City received its greatest snow in 20 years with 22 inches measured. Hagerstown and Westminister reported 22 inches in 24 hours. Frederick had 17 inches in 24 hours. Washington, DC received a total of 11.5 inches of snow.

February 20-21, 1947:  Storm brought more than a foot of snow to the areas along the Mason-Dixon line. Depths ranged from about 2 inches near Ocean City to 14 inches at Oakland, Cumberland, Frostburg, Westminister and Petty Boy dam (Baltimore). Conowingo Dam recorded 12.9 inches of snow and 15 inches fell in Sines (Garrett) and Picardy (Allegany). Strong northwest winds swept the are during the snowfall causing high drifts which blocked some highways for several days.

 


20th Century Winters (1950-2000)

November 6-7, 1953: A slow moving nor'easter brought an record early snowfall to portions of the state. It was the earliest recorded significant (defined as 4 or more inches) snowfall at Baltimore with 5.9 inches. The greatest snowfall amounts with the storm were reported outside the metropolitan areas with 14 inches in Elkton (Cecil) and a swath of 10 to 12 inches stretching west across the nothern tier of Maryland to the eastern portion of Washington County. Near blizzard winds of 30 mph accompanied the storm causing major drifting and closing down highways. It was two weeks before the deepest drifts totally melted away. Queen Annes and Kent Counties also saw 10 to 12 inches snow and La Plata and Prince Frederick in Southern Maryland saw 8 to 11 inches with Charlotte Hall (St Marys) recording 13 inches.

December 3-4, 1957:  Baltimore 8.4 inches, Washington 11.4 inches, Conowingo Dam 10 inches.

February 15-17 1958: A severe nor'easter began on the 15th. During moderate to heavy snowfall, north winds blew at 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph creating blizzard conditions and subzero wind chills. A 50 mile wide band of 15 to 20 inches of snow fell from Washington, DC northeast through Baltimore County. While Frederick and Emmitsburg reported 10 inches, areas to the west only received 4 to 8 inches fell. Over the Delmarva Peninsula, the Lower Eastern Shore saw a trace to an inch of snow with an inch of rain, but the Upper Shore (including Easton) and Delaware recieved as much as a foot of snow. Calvert and Charles County  also saw 10 to 16 inches of snow. Washington, DC reported 14 inches, Baltimore 15.5 inches, Dundalk 18 inches, Pikesville 22 inches, Westminister 15 inches and Bel Air 17 inches.  Temperatures were just below freezing when the storm began and then feel throught the 20s.
     When the snow ended, the temperature fell to 3F at Frindeship International Airport outside Baltimore. Winds increased to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph on the 16th. The additional blowing and severe drifting of snow paralyzed all transportation by land, air, rail and highway. Some drifts were 5 to 6 feet deep and the winds continued through the 17th. Talbot County reported 8 foot drifts. Thousands of motorists were marooned. At the Bowie race track over 5000 people were stranded while the Pennsylvania Railroad sent rescue trains which were delayed many hours. Schools remained closed until the 24th in North-central Maryland and surrounding areas. Severe thunderstorms were reported during the intense nor'easter. Annapolis reported lightning and wind gust to 58 mph. Lightning was also reported at Tacoma Park. Wind damage was considerable in Talbot and Dorchester  Counties. Many trees were blown down, telephone service was cut, and electric service was disrupted.  Damages were estimated at 500 million dollars in Maryland, Delaware and DC.

March 19-21, 1958: A slow moving nor'easter struck rather late in the season in 1958 causing huge amounts of property damage. Over a foot of  heavy wet snow took a heavy toll on trees, shrubs, television antennas, power and communication lines. Carroll, Baltimore and Harford Counties was hardest hit. In Baltimore City,  the storm began as rain during the day of the 19th but changed to heavy wet snow for the slushy commute home. It also changed to snow quickly to the northwest as the ground gained in elevation and the temperature fall. The Mount Washington section of Baltimore received 24 to 30 inches of snow. This section is just a 100 feet higher than the rest of the city. On Parr Ridge in Mount Airy, Carroll County, a weather reporter measued 33 inches of snow from the storm (4.03 inches liquid equivalent). Other reports included 29 inches at Parkton, 24.5 inches at Bentley Springs, 23 inches at Conowingo Dam and in Delaware, 27 inches at Middletown. For Westminister, 30 inches from this storm combined with two snows earlier in the month for a March snow total of 42 inches!  Hagerstown saw 16 inches with areas to the west receiving considerably less. The Lower Eastern Shore saw 3 inches with areas to the north like Denton receiveing 13 inches.
      Thousands of homes were without heat, light, power, and telephone service.  Up to a million homes lost phone service and 2000 poles came down. 300,000 homes lost electricity including the entire communities of Frederick, Annapolis, Aberdeen, Bel Air, and Havre De Grace. For many, it was over a week before power was restored.  Baltimore Gas and Electric estimated the storm damage to be 3 times greater than that of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Major arteries were blocked by abandoned cars and fallen trees and branches. Damage was $10 million in Maryland and there were 8 deaths in the state attributed to the storm.

December 11-12, 1960 and The Winter of 1960-1961: The snowy pattern of the last couple winters continued with three more snow storms. The first big snowstorm of the winter struck early in the season on December 11-12 leaving around a foot of snow in western Maryland as well as 14 inches at Baltimore and Greenbelt, 15.5 inches in Chestertown, 12.6 inches in La Plata, and 11 inches in Westminister. Winds gusted to over 50 mph in western Maryland creating blizzard conditions and severe drifting and blowing of snow. December saw 16 days with snow cover on the ground. The next storm struck January 19-20. Maryland saw 2 to 16 inches of snow, Delaware 11 inches and DC recorded 8 inches. Hagerstown had around13 inches. Again the storm brought winds gusting up to 50 mph and heavy drifting of snow. It caused a great traffic jam around DC. Five deaths were blamed on the storm in Maryland and DC and 2 in Virginia, mostly due to overexertion and accidents. The third storm hit February 3-5. Again, it struck like a blizzard with severe cold and gale force winds. Eight inches fell in Washington with a foot across much of Maryland and as much as 36 inches in New York.  Baltimore recorded 10.7 inches and Hagerstown 15 inches.Hagerstown recorded its greatest seasonal snowfall total with 74 inches.

March 5-9, 1962: The "Ash Wednesday Storm" was perhaps the most intense nor'easter of 20th century. It caused over 200 million dollars in property damage (1962 dollars) and major coastal erosion from North Carolina to Long Island, NY. The Red Cross estimated that 40 people died in the storm. In New Jersey alone, the storm severely damaged or destroyed 45,000 homes. It hit during "Spring Tide" (sun and moon phase to produce a higher than normal tide). Water reached nine feet at Norfolk (flooding begins around five feet). Houses were toppled into the ocean and boardwalks were broken and twisted. The islands of Chincoteague and Assateague were completely underwater. Ocean City, Maryland sustained major damage especially to the south end of the island. Winds up to 70 mph built 40-foot waves at sea. Heavy snow fell in the mountains to the west. Big Meadows, southeast of Luray, recorded Virginia's greatest 24-hour snowfall with 33 inches and the greatest single storm snowfall with 42 inches. Frostburg, Maryland had 21 inches in 24 hours and Cumberland had over 17 inches. Baltimore had 13 inches of snow. Roads were blocked and electrical service was out for several days in some areas. Areas to the east of the bay fell into the mixed precipitation zone.

January 30-31, 1966: A blizzard struck Maryland and the Northeast US. It began following morning lows of subzero in some portions of the state. Temperatures remained in the single digits as the wind and snow increased. Gusts of 50 to 60 mph caused white-out conditions over portions of western Maryland and into the Baltimore and Washington areas. Hagerstown reported 15 inches of snow on top of 12 inches already on the ground and some drifts as high as 20 feet. One to two feet of snow covered a large part of Virginia and Maryland. Washington had 14 inches (added to a previous snow, the depth on the ground came to 20 inches). Drifts were up to 10 feet deep in some areas. Baltimore had 12 inches, Conowingo Dam had 11 inches and Bel Air had 17 inches. Easton recorded 25 inches on the ground by February 2 and a January monthly snowfall total of almost 27 inches. Baltimore recorded over 21 inches for the month. Intense blowing and drifting snow continued and kept roads closed for several more days crippling transportation lines and causing a food shortage and rationing. Baltimore and Washington airports were closed for two to three days.

December 1, 1974: High winds, heavy wet snow and thunderstorms caused incalcuable damage in Maryland. In western Maryland, heavy snow up to 30 inches along with high winds stopped traffic, broke wires, and toppled towers, antennas, and trees. Three thousand people were stranded and 400 cars abandoned along a 20 mile stretch between Frostburg and Keyser's Ridge. Drifting of snow kept the roads closed for the next 2 days. The weight of the snow along with the winds caused extensive tree damage and knocked out communications and utilities to 23,000 people for up to 6 days. 15 to 20 inches of ice and snow knocked out cable television antenna, microwave, and relay towers.
        East of the Maryland mountains, the storm gusted up to 60 mph. On the coast, the tides were 3 to 6 feet above normal with wind driven waves of 6 to 8 feet on top smashing ashore. Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties saw damage to seawalls, bulkheads, piers, marins, small craft, and even some buildings. Beaches were eroded and low areas flooded. Inland saw considerable tree damage and electrical outages. High winds tore off roofs, awnings, damaged barns, sheds, and signs. Flying debris broke windows and windsheilds. Heavy rains flooded basements and closed roads.

January 1977: The Bicentennial Winter was the coldest seen on the East Coast since before the founding of the republic. In Maryland, the snow began on January 4, just as the Carter Administration was moving into town. New storms dropped a few more inches every few days to put a fresh coating on the streets that were just clearing from the previous storm and give a clean look to the piles of dirty snow that were accumulating along roadways and in parking lots. The Tidal Potomac (salt water) froze solid enough that people could skate across it near the Memorial Bridge. The average temperature for the month of January was 25.4 F which was the coldest since 1856 when the temperature averaged 21.4 F in Washington. The normal January average temperature for Washington is 34.6 F. Baltimore averaged only 22.9 F , again almost 10 degrees colder than normal. The prolonged cold wave caused oil and natural gas shortages. President Carter asked people to turn thermostats down to conserve energy. Maryland did not see heavy snow like the Great Lake region did that winter. The cold winds blowing across the warm lakes brought 68 inches of snow to Buffalo, NY. Washington recorded 10 inches of snow in January and Baltimore had 8.5 inches, but none fell the rest of the winter ending it 9 inches below normal in Baltimore. The cold wave penetrated into the South. On January 19, snowflakes fell in Miami, Florida!

January 19-20, 1978: The four snows in 10 days brought an additional 10 to 13 inches to the 20 inches already on the ground west of Hagerstown. The City of Cumberland was nearly immobilized with 31 inches accumulated. The blizzard struck all the way up to Boston where it dropped 21 inches at Logan Airport in 24 hours and brought winds gusting to 62 mph. On January 26, rain came on top of the snow. A woman was killed in Baltimore County near Glen Arm when a muddy bank gave way just as she was backing out of her driveway.

February 6, 1978: The "Blizzard of '78" This intensifying nor'easter brough 18 inches of snow to Havre de Grace necessitating calling the National Guard for help. Nearly a foot fell in Baltimore and one person died of a heart attack trying to push a car stalled in the snow. The nor'easter brought a record 24 inches in 24 hours to Boston and a storm total of 27.5 inches.

February 18-19, 1979: The "Presidents Day Storm" was considered the worst storm in 57 years to strike the Baltimore-Washington area. Snow depths from the storm were up to 20 inches over Northern Virginia and 26 inches in Maryland. At times, snow was falling 2 to 3 inches per hour and temperatures were in the single digits to teens. Huge tractors and other farm machinery had been driven to the Mall in Washington to protest for higher agricultural pricing. When the storm hit, the farmers used their equipment to help the locals dig out of the nearly two feet of snow. Temperatures across the state were unusually cold (single digits) when the snow started (similar to Feb. 1899). Baltimore recorded a temperature of -3 F for a minimum that month.

February 11-12, 1983: The Blizzard of 1983 beat the Presidents' Day Storm and was the second greatest snowfall for Baltimore since records began. It covered an unusually large area of Virginia and Maryland with more than a foot of snow. Two feet of snow lay in a band across Washinton, Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Howard and Baltimore Counties. The storm set a new 24 hour snowfall record at Baltimore with 22.8 inches. Parts of Northern Virginia up into western Maryland measured as much as 30 inches on the ground. Hagerstown reported 25 inches of snow (its second greatest storm behind the January 1996 snowstorm). For a couple hours of the storm, snow fall at an amazing rate of  3.5 inches per hour. Thunderstorms intensified the snowfall in some areas.Winds gusted over 25 mph all day on February 11 causing drifts up to five feet. The heavy snow and winds paralyzed the region. The cost of clearing the snow from roads was in the millions of dollars.

January 22-28 1987:   Two significant snowstorms struck within 3 days of each other and were followed by a cold wave that dropped temperatures below zero in some areas. The first storm struck on January 22 and dropped 12 inches of snow at Baltimore and 11 inches in Hagerstown and Washington, DC. Like other nor'easters, this one was accompanied by strong winds and drifting of snow. The second storm struck just 3 days later on January 25 dropping an additional 9 to 10 inches on top of what had already fallen in the Baltimore and Washington areas and more over southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore. On the morning of the 27th, stations were reporting the following snow depths: Salisbury 18 inches, Easton 17 inches, Baltimore 19 inches, Waldorf  23 inches, Washington DC 18 inches, Frederick 16 inches, Hagerstown 16 inches, and Frostburg 15 inches. Morning temperatures were in the single digits and by the morning of the 28th, below zero. Pikesville was -5F, Bel Air and Hagerstown -4F, Easton -3F, Annapolis -1F, Washington-Dulles Airport was -17F and Martinsburg WV was -7F. A third snowstorm hit on February 22 dropping another 10 inches on Washington and Baltimore.Hagerstown reported 13 inches and thunder-snow. Power lines and trees were damaged by the weight of the heavy wet snow.

November 11, 1987: The Veteran's Day Storm will not be forgotten by many Washington area travelers. Almost a foot (11.5 inches) fell at National Airport. Prince Georges County, MD was hard hit with up to 13 inches of snow falling in a short amount of time. It caught motorists off guard and stranded cars on the Capitol Beltway. There were so many cars that snow plows could not get through to open the clogged arteries. Cars littered the roadway for more than 24 hours. The event precipitated the development of the Washington Metropolitan Area Snow Plan to facilitate preparedness and response to future storms.
        This storm struck before the days of lightning detection networks and Doppler weather radar. When thunderstorms began dumping heavy snow over the Fredericksburg VA, forecasters had no idea. The storm moved northeast across the southern Metropolitan area (Prince Georges County). It was not until the fast accumulating snow hit Camp Springs, where at the time the Weather Forecast Office was located, did forecasters realize what was happening.

December 10-12, 1992: The Great Nor'easter of 1992 did tremendous damage to New Jersey and hit New England hard. It also affected Maryland. The storm lashed the coast with winds and waves causing moderate flooding in Ocean City. It dumped heavy rain over the Chesapeake Bay region and its winds knocked power out to 120,000 customers in the state. It was one of the worst storms this century for far western Maryland. Allegany County saw 2 feet of snow over the east portion and 3 feet around Frostburg. Garrett County had 3 feet of snow. Piney Dam in northeast Garrett County had 42 inches of snow (unofficial). Winds drove the snow into drifts up to 20 feet in some areas. Trucks were stranded on Interstate-68. The storm knocked down trees and power and phone lines. With no electricity, some people were without heat. Others were trapped in their homes for days. About 10 people had to be rescued.

March 13-14, 1993: The Superstorm of March '93 was named for its large area of impact, all the way from Florida and Alabama north through New England. The entire State of Pennsylvania was buried under 1 to 2 feet of snow. Even Alabama saw as much as 13 inches. The storm was blamed for some 200 deaths (many, heart attacks from shoveling the heavy snow). It cost a couple billion dollars to repair damages and remove snow. In Florida, it produced a storm surge of 9 to 12 feet that killed 11 people (more deaths than surges from Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew) and it spawned 11 tornadoes. As the storm's center crossed the Mid-Atlantic region and the Chesapeake Bay, weather stations recorded their lowest pressure ever (Baltimore = 28.51 inches).
        This storm was not the storm of the century for Maryland, but it wasn't a wimp either. Unlike most nor'easters that move up the coast, this storm took a more inland track across Southeast Virginia and the central Chesapeake Bay. It brought rain and winds to the Maryland Eastern Shore with minor flooding to counties along the east side of the Bay. However, in western Maryland, it dumped between 1.5 to 2.5 feet of snow. Piney Dam in northeast Garrett County recorded another 31 inches of snow after recording a record 42 inches just 3 months earlier during the Dec.10-12 Great Nor'easter. Winds produced blizzard conditions with snow drifts up to 12 feet!  Hagerstown received 20 inches of snow (its fourth greatest) and winds gusting up to 55 mph caused whiteout conditions and severe drifting.
        Interstates shut down. Road crews had to stop plowing for a period of time because it was too dangerous and the wind would just blow the snow back onto the road. Shelters opened for nearly 4000 stranded travelers and those that left without heat and electricity. The National Guard was called to help with emergency transports and critical snow removal. Oxon Hill recorded 8 inches of snow; 13 inches fell in the District and within the beltway; and 18 inches north and west of the city in Frederick County. Baltimore had 12 inches with greater amounts to the north and recorded a wind gust to 69 mph on the 13th. Eleven people died in Virginia, one in the District, and one in Maryland during and immediately following the storm. Snow removal and clean-up costs were estimated at $16 million in Virginia, $22 million in Maryland, and half million dollars in DC.

January-February, 1994  Cold and Ice: An unusual assault of snow, ice and cold struck. On January 2-4, 6 to 12 inches of snow fell across Washington and Allegany Counties with 12 to 15 inches in Garrett County. Areas to the east saw ice and slush. A small storm struck on the 12th dropping another 4 to 6 inches across the highlands. This was followed by an arctic blast that sent temperatures single digits and teens with wind chills down to 25 below zero on the 15th.  Another snowstorm hit January 17-18 dropping 6 to 10 inches across Carroll and Frederick Couties and 10 to 18 inches across Washington, Allegany and Garrett Counties. Frostburg reported the most snow from the event with 20 inches, Hagerstown had 13 inches. Snow sleet and freezing rain fell across the Baltimore and Washington metro areas.  Minimum temperatures plunged below zero on January 19-21. Emmitsburg and Hancock reached -27F, Unionville -22F, Frostburg -21F, Catoctin Mountain Park -18F, Cumberland and Martinsburg -15F, Westminister and Finksburg -14F, Manchester -13F, Mount Airy and Laurel -12F, Potomac and Cockeysville -9F, Northwest DC -7F, Chestertown and Princess Anne -6F, Annapolis -4F and Salisbury 0F.  Washington, DC set a new record for the coldest high temperature for any calendar day this century when it only reached 6.8F. The previous record was 8F set on January 8, 1912.  The record for the previous century was 4F on February 10, 1899.  Wind chills on the night of the 18th into the 19th ranged from -28F at Baltimore and Salisburg to -35 in Martinsburg WV and Washington DC to -56F at McHenry (Garrett County). The arctic cold wave rocketed the use of electricity and natural gas for heating. The effect over such a large portion of the Eastern U.S. caused the power companies in some areas to go into rolling black outs so as not to lose the entire power grid.
         One storm seemed to come on top of another all dropping snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the state. The most devastating icestorm struck February 10-11. It left a coat of ice, one to three inches thick, from freezing rain and sleet! Meanwhile, across north-central Maryland 4 to 7 inches of sleet accumulated. By far, the hardest hit was an area was about a 50 mile wide band from near Fredericksburg, VA across southern Maryland (Charles, Calvert, St. Marys) up to Annapolis, across the Eastern Shore (Queen Annes, Caroline, and Talbot) and over Sussex and Kent Counties in Delaware. Some counties lost 10 to 20% of their trees from the heavy ice. Trees fell on homes and cars. Roads were blocked and impassable. Electric and phone lines were down with as much as 90 percent of the county's people without power. Outages and damage were so widespread that many people were without power for a week. A presidential disaster declaration was given and damages were estimated at near $100 million. There were numerous injuries from car accidents and people slipping.In Anne Arundel County alone, hospitals reported 104 weather related injuries in two days from the ice. This was likely the iciest winter Maryland has seen this century.

November 1995 and the Winter of 1995-1996: Winter came early and struck hard this year. A strong cold front moved across Maryland on Veterans Day. High winds with the front took down trees and power lines. The temperature was near 60s in advance of the front in Frederick, MD. Two hours later, rain was turning to snow as temperatures plummeted into the 30s. For the next several days, northwest winds carried moisture from the Great Lakes up into Garrett County where it continued to fall as snow, heavy at times. The snow finally ended on November 18 with a total accumulation at Oakland of 40 inches. It was a record storm total for Maryland, as well as a record monthly snow for November.  The event set the stage for the rest of the winter. Oakland recorded 33 inches in December and 52 inches in January. By May, Oakland's seasonal total came to 204 inches! Many places to the across Pennsylvania into New York also saw new records with 200+ inch seasonal totals.

blizzard of 96 snowfall totalsJanuary 7-13, 1996: The Blizzard of '96 or the Great Furlough Storm began early on Sunday, January 7. Just two days earlier, a six week impasse between a republican congress and a democratic president over the 1996 Federal Budget had finally come to an end. Many federal employees had been on furlough with government offices shut down. Employees would finally return to work on Monday, January 8. But mother nature had something else in mind. By Monday morning, Washington, DC was buried under 17 to 21 inches of snow. As much as 30 to 36 inches of snow fell over Frederick and Washington Counties. Baltimore recorded over 22 inches and even Ocean City received 10 inches of snow. A two-foot swath of heavy snow fell across Dorchester and Caroline Counties into southern Kent County, DE. The entire state was paralyzed and the Federal Government remained shut down. As road crews worked hard to clear the snow, an "Alberta Clipper" shot through on Tuesday, January 9 dumping an additional 3 to 5 inches from Washington northeast through Baltimore. Plows that would have been working on secondary roads and residential areas were sent back to the primary roads. The government remained shut for 4 days that week and many schools and businesses announced their closure for the entire week. A third storm struck on Friday, January 12 dumping another 4 to 6 inches over the metro areas. A maximum of 6 to 12 inches of snow fell over Frederick and Carroll Counties. By the week's end, most of Maryland, west of Baltimore, had seen 3 to 4 feet of snow! Most areas to the east had received 1 to 2 feet!
        Just one week later, a dramatic warming would occur melting the snow pack with an additional two to three inches of rain falling. No one expected that such a deep snow pack could disappear in just one night.  A flood was the result. It had been 60 years since a flood of this type had hit Maryland. The Potomac and Susquehanna saw major flooding. Ice Jams on the lower Susquehanna River compounded the flood. An ice jam broke sending a surge of ice and water down to the Conowingo Dam. It was more than the dam could handle and operators had no choice but to open all of their gates to prevent the dam from being topped. Once water tops a dam, the entire dam can fail. With the gates open, the water surged to the bay causing a rapid and significant flood to hit the town of Port Deposit just a few miles below the dam. People were able to flee the cold waters, but there was no time to save any belongings.

February 2-3 and February 16, 1996, storms: The Delmarva received 4 snowstorms in about 5 weeks from January 7 through February 16. The storm on February 2-3, dropped up to two feet of snow over Dorchester County. The entire Lower Eastern Shore was covered by another 1 to 2 feet of snow. On February 16, another storm struck dropping 5 to 8 inches over the Lower Eastern Shore and 8 to 12 inches on the Upper Eastern Shore. These storms combined to produce the snowiest season this century on the Delmarva! The Lower Shore (Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties) saw 28 to 35 inches of snow in those five weeks. Dorchester, Talbot, and Caroline Counties saw 45 to 59 inches of snow. The Upper Shore (Cecil, Kent, and Queen Annes Counties) saw 38 to 42 inches. Record snow also fell across Southern Maryland. The record in Hollywood stood at 54.7 inches set during the winter of 1898-99. The 1995-96 winter dropped 59 inches of snow on Hollywood. The series of big snow storms went on to break an all time record at Baltimore with a season total of 62.5 inches. It broke the old record of 52 inches (set 1963-64 season) by almost a foot! Snow records at Baltimore go back to 1883.

January 14-15, 1999: A low pressure system pushed northeast from the Tennessee Valley spreading rain across the Baltimore-Washington Region. At the same time, an arctic front had sagged south from Pennsylyvania dropping temperatures at the surface below freezing. The rain instantly froze to surfaces creating a glaze. After a half to three-quarter inch of ice accumulated on trees and wires, 40 mph winds was enough to bring many of them down. Trees fell on cars, houses, utility lines and roads. The Governor declared a state of Emergency in Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Howard and Montgomery Counties.
About a half a million customers were without power and 800 pedestrians were reported injured from falls on ice. Washington Hospital treated 250 patients for storm-related injuries on the 15th.
Montgomery County was particularly hard hit. Some people were without power for a week and 30 school buses slipped off the road.

map of march 9, 1999 snow stormMarch 9, 1999:  An area of low pressure moved southeast from the Ohio Valley toward North Carolina dropping heavy snow across the Appalachians. A localized band of heavy snow developed that stretched from Anne Arundel and Calvert County west through DC, Northern Virginia and far western MD with 6 to 10 inches of snow falling. While the band was no more than 50 miles wide, it hit a major population area during a business day. Travel was treacherous. Some areas reported white-out conditions for a period of time. Snowfall rates were over one and a half inches per hour in some places. Reagan National Airport and Dulles International were nearly closed for most of the day. In Anne Arundel County alone, over 275 accidents occurred with 16 injuries. Charles County had 120 accidents in 6 hours and Calvert County 91 accindents.  Several school buses were involved in accidents in the state.


snow totals for january 25 2000 snowstormJanuary 25, 2000:  A storm that was expected to move away from the coast, instead rapidly intensified off Georgia and headed almost due north. The nor'easter spread heavy snow into Maryland by the early morning hours of the 25th. Storm warnings were posted by 10 pm on the 24th, but those who went to bed early without catching the news were startled to see the heavy white stuff falling in the morning. With just 2 to 4 inches of snow on the ground at daybreak, the storm began to pound the area through the morning hours with one and a half  inch per hour snow fall and wind gusts of 25 to 45 mph. Blizzard conditions quickly brought the area to a stand still. Airports and transit systems were shut down. Schools were closed. Federal and state government offices quickly closed onced the full impact of the storm was realized. However, some people who begin their commutes well before 7 am were left battling the storm to attempt to return home. The Chesapeake Bay Counties  and a band west into Frederick County were hardest hit with a foot to a foot and a half of snow. Drifts of four to five feet were common. Seven storm related fatalities were recorded and numerous injuries. One elderly man died from hypothermia and six more people died of heart attacks while shovelling the heavy snow.


Hope to have some post 2000 events up on this page soon!


Maryland Winter Statistics

Average Snowfall   =   Ranges across the state from 10 to 15 inches on the Eastern Shore to 25 inches over north central
                                            Maryland to over 100 inches in parts of Garrett County. The average snowfall in Baltimore is 18 inches.

Biggest Snowstorm  =   40 inches in Oakland on November 12-18, 1995 (official state record)
                                       36 inches in Edgemont on March 29-30, 1942 (official - previous record)
                                       36 inches near Washington, DC on January 28, 1772 (unofficial greatest storm for that area)
                                       42 inches at Piney Dam in Garrett County on Dec. 10-12, 1992 (unofficial greatest storm total in the state)

Greatest Monthly Snowfall Total  =    67 inches in Frostburg in January 1978 (official state record)
                                                               58 inches in January 1895 in Oakland and 100 years later,
                                                               58 inches in Oakland in November 1995 (an early start to a record year)

Greatest Seasonal Snowfall Total  =  204 inches in Oakland, winter of 1995-1996 (official state record)
                                                             180 inches in Frostburg, winter of 1995-1996

Coldest Temperature  =  - 40 F in Oakland (Garrett County) on January 13, 1912 (official state record)

 


Baltimore Winter Statistics

Baltimore Snow Statistics:

  • Snowiest Month = 40.5 inches, Feb. 2003
  • Snowiest Season = 62.5 inches during the 1995-1996 winter
  • Least Snowiest Season = 0.7 inches during the 1949-1950 winter
  • Earliest Snowfall = 0.3 inches on October 10, 1979, during the World Series. (A trace of snow fell October 9, 1895, and 1903)
  • Latest Snowfall = 0.1 inches on April 28, 1898. (A trace of snow fell on May 9, 1923.)
  • Normal Seasonal Snowfall = 18.2 inches
Top 20 Snowstorms in Baltimore: (1891-2006)
1 28.2 inches ... Feb. 15-18, 2003 11 14.1 inches ... Dec. 11-12, 1960
2 26.5 inches  ... Jan. 27-29, 1922 12 13.1  inches ... Feb. 11-12, 2006
3 22.8 inches ... Feb. 11, 1983 13 13.0  inches ... Mar. 5-7, 1962
4 22.5 inches ... Jan. 7-8, 1996 14 12.3 inches ... Jan. 22, 1987
5 22.0 inches ... Mar. 29-30, 1942 15 12.1 inches ... Jan. 30-31, 1966
6 21.4 inches ... Feb. 11-14, 1899 16 12.0 inches ... Feb. 16-18, 1900
7 20.0 inches ... Feb. 18-19, 1979 17 11.9 inches ... Mar. 13-14, 1993
8 16.0 inches ... Mar. 15-18, 1892 18 11.7 inches ... Feb. 5-8, 1899
9 15.5 inches ... Feb. 15, 1958 19 11.5 inches ... Dec. 17-18, 1932
10 14.9 inches ... Jan. 25, 2000 20 11.5 inches ... Mar. 21-22, 1964

Link to additional information for Baltimore showing how the Pacific Ocean cycles known as La Nina and El Nino effect the winter outlook and the probability for significant snow storms.

Normal Temperatures and Snowfall by Month for Baltimore's Cold Season:
Month High Low Snowfall Month High Low Snowfall
November 56.3 34.7 0.6 inches February 44.8 26.1 6.4 inches
December 46.0 27.3 1.7 inches March 53.8 33.6 2.4 inches
January 41.2 23.5 7.0 inches April 64.5 42.0 0.1 inches

 



References:

National Disaster Survey Report: Superstorm of March 1993 , Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, May 1994.

National Disaster Survey Report: The Great Nor'easter of December 1992 , Dept. of  Commerce, NOAA, NWS, June 1994.

David M. Ludlum. The American Weather Book. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982, pp. 9-10, 16, 29-31, 54.
David M. Ludlum. Early American Winters: 1604-1820. Boston: American Meteorlogical Society. 1966. pp. 64-65, 115, 144-146, 148, and 151-152.
David M. Ludlum. Early American Winters, II: 1821-1870. Boston: American Meteorlogical Society. 1968. pp 4, 11-14, 36-38, 57-58, 77, and 224-225.

Storm Data, Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, January and February 1978.
Storm Data, Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, March 1993.
Storm Data, Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, January and February, 1994. Used local archives of data since Storm Data was late and missed the publication. Data was published later in the year.
Storm Data, Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, Jan. and Feb, 1996.

East Coast Storm: March 5-9, 1962 - A Preliminary Report and Special Weather Bulletins Issued. US Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, March 1962.

"Some Outstanding Snowstorms" L.S. 6211, US Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Dec. 1962.

News Journal, Wilmington, DE, Sept. 18, 1994.
Frederick Post, Nancy Lewis, Frederick, MD, Feb. 13, 1994.
The Washington Post, Washington, DC, January 14, 1996 edition reprinted articles that their paper carried on January 29 and 30, 1922 covering the Knickerbocker Storm.

Mary Cable. The Blizzard of '88. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1988, pp. 58, 93-94, 165, 168, 191.

Larry Savadove and Margaret Thomas Buchholz. Great Storms of the Jersey Shore. Harvey Cedars, NJ: Down The Shore Publishing and The Sandpiper, Inc., 1993.

Kevin Ambrose. Blizzards and Snowstorms of Washington, DC. Historical Enterprises, Merrifield, Virginia, 1993.

Climatological Data: Hagerstown, MD: Local Climate Records compiled by Greg Keefer, Hagerstown Weather Observer 1970 to 1999, obtained from internet website February 1999.

The Climate Handbook for Washington, DC. US Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Tech. Paper #8, 1949.

Local Climatic Data for Washington, DC. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, 1994.
Local Climatic Data for Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, 1993.

Local records from the Washington DC Forecast Office, DOC, NOAA, NWS.
Local records from the Baltimore Weather Service Office, DOC, NOAA, NWS.

Report for March 1907, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service.
Report for April 1907, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service.
Report for December 1909, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service.
Annual Summary 1912, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service, April 1913.
Report for April 1915, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service.
Report for April 1916, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service.
Report for January 1918, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maryland and Delaware Section of the Climatological Service of the Weather Bureau in Cooperation with the Maryland State Weather Service.

Climatological Data: March 1921, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: January 1922, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: April 1924, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: February 1926, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: April 1928, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: March 1932, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: December 1932, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: March 1936, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: November 1938, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: January 1940, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.
Climatological Data: March 1942, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Weather Bureau, Maryland and Delaware Section.

Climatological Data, Maryland and Delaware: November 1953, Volume LVII, No. 11, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Chattanooga, 1954.
Climatological Data, Maryland and Delaware: February 1958, Volume LXII, No. 2, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Asheville, 1958.
Climatological Data, Maryland and Delaware: March 1958, Volume LXII, No. 3, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Ashville, 1958.
Climatological Data, Maryland and Delaware: December 1960, Volume 64, No. 12, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Ashville, 1961.
Climatological Data, Maryland and Delaware: January 1994, Volume 98, No. 1, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS, NCDC, Ashville.

Local Climatic Data for Easton, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Cumberland, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Cambridge, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Frederick, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Frostburg, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Hagerstown, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Westminister, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Oakton, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climatic Data for Bel Air, MD. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.
Local Climate Data for Richmond, VA. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, NWS.

noaa logo  Last Updated 1/6/07

08 January, 2007



 


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