November 23, 1989

Weather made the headlines on Thanksgiving Day 18 years ago today. It was November 23, 1989 and John Collins and I had only been on the air here at WBAL-TV for a few weeks. An early season arctic air mass had invaded the mid Atlantic states and with high temperatures in the mid 30s it felt more like Cleveland, the town I had just left. On Wednesday morning, November 22nd, an area of low pressure was developing over northern Louisiana, on the southern fringe of the arctic air mass draped across Maryland. By 7:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, the low had moved to the Alabama/Georgia border, had spread rain and freezing rain into the Carolinas and snow was already being reported in central and northern Virginia. The storm sped toward the outer banks of North Carolina by 1:00 a.m. on Thursday and then tracked to a position over the Atlantic, east of Ocean City, MD by 7:00 a.m. on Thursday. By the time the turkeys were going into the ovens around Baltimore on Thanksgiving morning, the sun was shining on a fresh 3.8″ blanket of snow. To our south, the storm dumped 7″ on Solomons, MD, 4″ at National Airport in D.C. and to our east, Margate, NJ picked up 8″ of snow. With the fresh snow pack and clear skies, temperatures sunk to a record low of 17F on the morning of Friday, November 24th. The winter of ’89 had arrived and would tighten its grip on Maryland with one of the coldest Decembers on record. The average temperature in December of 1989 was a frigid 25.4F, which is 11.3 degrees below normal. John and I would be quickly baptized into Maryland winter weather forecasting with several early season snowstorms and arctic blasts until the pattern eased up with mild weather returning in January and February of 1990.

Tom Tasselmyer

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