Record Cold and Snow

With  temperatures stuck in the 40s again today, it looks like we’ll rewrite the October record book for the 4th straight day.  Normal highs this time of year are in the mid to upper 60s, so a day with highs in the low to mid 40s is quite a bit cooler than normal…in fact, it’s more like late December than mid October!  This December-like air mass has produced record low maximum temperatures, or perhaps a better way to express it:  record cold high temperatures, since Wednesday.

Oct. 14th:  High 50, ties record low max set in 1874
Oct. 15th: High 48, breaks record low max of 50 set in 1876
Oct. 16th: High 43, breaks record low max of 52 set in 1940
Oct. 17th: High ??, current record low max of 53 set in 1991

It is interesting to note how rare it is to set record lows, of any kind, on 4 consecutive days. In Baltimore, with weather records going back nearly 140 years, it has only happened twice. First, during the worst arctic outbreak on record for this area in February 1899. From February 9th through the 13th of 1899, 5 consecutive days set record low maximum temperatures, with afternoon highs during that stretch ranging from 3F to 10F. Then, not quite as severe, but still noteworthy, from August 28th through the 31st of 1986, four consecutive days set record lows, with low temperatures in that chilly summer air mass ranging from 45F to 49F.

So, if the temperature stays below 53F today, it will be just the third time since official weather records began in Baltimore that record lows were set on 4 consecutive days.

And, just to our north and west the record cold is producing some early season snow. In the mountains of western Maryland the first light snow of the season arrived this week, but up in Pennsylvania, it has been the heaviest snow for so early in the season at many locations. The heavy, wet snow falling on trees that still have leaves, brought down branches and caused power outages for the mountain areas of north central Pennsylvania. As of Friday the snowfall jackpot in Pennsylvania appeared to be near Nittany Mountain Summit in Centre County, with 9″ on the ground and more snow on the way!

PA snow

The cold and wet weather pattern should begin to loosen its grip on the mid Atlantic late Sunday, with drier, warmer weather expected to return next week.

Tom Tasselmyer

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