WJZ (Washington County, Maryland) – Snow fell overnight in Western Maryland as temperatures dipped into the 30s. While it may not seem like much now, more is on its way. Another round of precipitation is expected to begin early this morning with another chance of snow before noon. Temperatures will drop even further tonight into the low 20s.
While most of Maryland can expect rain and freezing temperatures today, snowfall rates could reach as high as 3 inches an hour in some areas of western Maryland. The snow will become ice pellets during your commute home tonight.
The snow will end by Thursday afternoon, but a cold front will bring more rain and snow into Friday night and Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for all of West Virginia from 8 a.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday. Winter weather advisories have been issued for parts of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Freezing rain and sleet are also possible across northern New Jersey and southern New York City. These conditions could cause travel problems for those who are already stressed about road conditions during the state's primary season.
Snow. Snowfall averages 20.6 inches every season, ranging from 10 inches on the lower Eastern Shore to 110 inches in Garrett County. The highest snowfall ever recorded in Maryland in a single winter occurred in 2009-10, when 262.5 inches fell at Keysers Ridge in Garrett County. The lowest average annual snowfall rate on record is 1 inch per day. Snow remains on ground for about 8 days.
Ice. Ice storms can cause power outages when they knock down trees or expand cracks in power lines. An ice storm with high winds can be just as dangerous as a blizzard.
Freezing rain. This occurs when freezing drizzle mixes with cooler air mass from Canada that has been pulled over warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The result is small frozen particles that can damage vehicles, buildings, and power lines.
Storing water. It is recommended that you store no more than 7 days' worth of drinking water in your home, which should be enough for up to three months without making any further purchases. If you have a separate tank for washing dishes or cleaning clothes, it is recommended that you only store enough water for this purpose for about two weeks at a time.
About half of Maryland's population lives within 30 miles of a body of water. Most of these people live along the Atlantic Coast, but many other places in the state are also vulnerable to major floods.
Snow on Christmas Day in Baltimore is unusual. It happened the last time in 2002. Only twelve times in recorded history has there been appreciable snowfall on Christmas Day. The average snowfall on this day across the country is less than 1 inch.
Christmas Eve is the usual date for a widespread frost in Baltimore, but many locations experience their first snow of the season on Christmas Day. Although it is rare, it has happened before. In 1872, for example, all of Maryland from Washington to Charlestown was covered in ice and snow. The sun rose on Valentine's Day 1873 without finding an icehouse in which to melt the deposit that had fallen on these parts.
During a cold winter like the one we experienced in 2014-2015, Christmas Eve is usually not warm enough for any significant amount of melting to occur, so the streets remain frozen until after Christmas.
In fact, Christmas Day is when most areas of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have their first real chance at springlike temperatures. By January 8th or 9th, even southern New Jersey and Delaware can expect highs in the 50s and 60s again.
The only problem with this scenario is that by then, most people have already spent their cash gifts from Santa Claus.
Maryland features two distinct climates. It is continental in the highlands west, with temperature records ranging from -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degC). In July, the average temperature in western Maryland is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) while in January, it is 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius). Eastern Maryland has a temperate climate with temperatures generally not exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and seldom dropping below zero degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). The average temperature in July is also 65 degrees Fahrenheit in eastern Maryland.
The location of Maryland affects its climate. West of the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is greater precipitation because clouds move in from the Atlantic Ocean. East of the mountains, winds coming in off the plains cause cooler temperatures due to orographic lift. During a storm, heat is lost as moisture in the air turns to ice or rain drops.
July is one of the hottest months across most of Maryland. The highest average temperature in Maryland was 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) at Mount Weather Training Center in Midland Beach. The lowest average temperature in Maryland was -8 degrees Fahrenheit (-22 degrees Celsius) at South Mountain Observatory.
The National Weather Service keeps daily weather reports for all parts of Maryland.
The average winter temperature is 34.1 degrees. While the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland continue to be mild, western regions are seeing colder weather and more snow. The weather in Maryland is generally moderate all year, however temperatures vary by region. In the west, winters can be quite cold with frequent rainstorms and little sun; while in the east, summers are usually hot and humid.
The average annual rainfall is 39 inches. Most of this occurs between July and September. Maryland is well-watered with almost every county having at least some form of surface water. The most famous of these is the Chesapeake Bay, but there are also large lakes in Garrett County and elsewhere. Waterfalls are common in the Appalachian Mountains where melting snow feeds streams that rush down into the ocean.
Maryland has 9 official public use areas where camping is permitted: Assateague Island National Seashore, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Charles Herbert Dyson Foundation Research Center & Museum, Chief Joseph Memorial Forest, Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Park, Great Falls National Park, Patuxent River Basin Natural Resource Area, and Western Maryland Wilderness. These sites have food, fuel, and equipment rentals, as well as campgrounds with running water and bathroom facilities.
In addition, many communities allow camping on municipal property, including beaches and parks.