Spring Nor’easters

Another big storm is headed this way for the weekend, which will only add to the chilly, windy and wet April we’ve had so far. The storm, as shown on this water vapor image, is coming from the south and west and is expected to intensify on the mid Atlantic coast as a full blown April nor’easter by Sunday. It may seem strange to have a major nor’easter track through the area this late in the season, but a look back through the history books, as detailed on the web site of the Baltimore-Washington National Weather Service Office, shows spring nor’easters have made some big headlines around here in years past. Here’s a rundown of the notable nor’easters that brought winter-like conditions to Maryland in April and May:

May 4, 1774: George Washington records snow showers at Mt. Vernon in Virginia, likely occuring in Maryland too.

May 8, 1803: Snow reported in Washington, D.C.

April 9, 1884: Snowfall of 8″ reported in Baltimore.

April 10-12, 1894: Nor’easter dumps heavy snow on Maryland: Fallston: 24″, Baltimore: 5″

April 3, 1915: Big nor’easter produces heavy snow on the eastern shore: Sudlersville: 15″, Salisbury: 10″. West of the bay Baltimore records 4.5″. Winds of 30-35 mph produce near blizzard conditions.

April 8-9, 1916: Second year in a row with a major April snowstorm in Maryland. Darlington: 12″, Towson: 9″, Laurel: 8″, Union Bridge: 8″, Baltimore: 5″, Rockville: 4″

May 9, 1923: Latest snow ever officially recorded in Baltimore: trace. 2-3″ fall in Garrett Co.

April 1, 1924: Nor’easter produces heavy April Fool’s snowfall…Westminster: 10″, Freeland: 10″, Frederick: 10″, Baltimore: 9.5″, College Park: 9″, Aberdeen: 8″

April 27-28, 1928: Incredible heavy mountain spring snowfall: 25-30″ in the Allegany mountains with 16″ reported at Oakland, MD.

May 23, 1931: Very late season cold snap produces flurries in the mountains.

The weekend’s storm will likely produce mainly rain and wind around Baltimore through Sunday, but as the storm is moving up toward New England, colder air sweeping in might produce some wet snow showers. In the higher elevations to our north and west, some significant late season snow is possible. We’ll have to wait and see if this storm rates among the notable spring nor’easters listed above.

Tom Tasselmyer


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