Christmas and Snow

Christmas is approaching and one wonders about the snow situation.

Monday data provided by NOAA shows the snow and ice status across the northern hemisphere. A series of storms has provided for early season snows across the norther tier of the U.S. Temperatures in the Mid Atlantic region have been just warm enough to keep any significant snow from accumulating.

An El Nino weather pattern is in underway and, as discussed in an earlier entry, the odds may be a little higher for some significant snow this winter season in comparison to the last few years. Statistically, the Baltimore is not really a snowy area.

The chart above shows the mean daily and monthly snow depth for Baltimore for the years 1971-2000. Statistically, over this 30 year period, Baltimore never registers more than a trace of snow on the ground in the winter months.

NOAA has produced a map showing broad percentages for snow cover on Christmas Day.

Statistics for the map above are drawn from weather records from U.S. weather stations for the entire length of their existence rather than the most recent 30 year data set. Even with that longer statistical period, Baltimore and most of Maryland west of the Bay is only in the 11-25 percentile. The DELMARVA Peninsula is in the 5-10 percentile range.

In  the week or two leading up the Christmas, it appears that the odds for any major storms are fairly low. Long range computer models do show low pressure settling in over the Great Lakes and Northeastern U.S. by December 20. Perhaps something will crop up by Christmas Day but the statistics do not fall in our favor.

John Collins


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