Maryland snow-drought ended with 0.2 inches of snow

Well, finally it happened. Wednesday marked the end of the snow drought in Maryland with the first measurable snowfall of the season, totaling a whopping 0.2 inches. No, that’s not a typo.

While it wasn’t the heavy, wet, fluffy stuff that caused week-long school delays and statewide school closures, it was still an exciting sight for Maryland’s snow and ice fans to wake up to.

But we wonder – how exactly is 0.2 inch of snow considered “snowfall”? It turns out that anything over 0.1 inch counts as measurable snowfall, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Erik Taylor.

Taylor said the snow is measured with measuring sticks by trained observers on white, flat-bottomed snowboards who are stationed at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and two other airports in Washington, DC, which serve as official measuring sites for the NWS.

“And then you take the measurement there and when the snow is ready after you’ve cleaned the board, you know you’ve been taking an additional estimate of those numbers every six hours to get the final measurement,” Taylor said.

Prior to Wednesday, Maryland had not recorded a snow accumulation of more than an inch or more since January 2022. In fact, we’ve seen more than 7 inches of precipitation since November thanks to weather patterns.

“We really didn’t have any snow just because the weather pattern we were in really wasn’t designed for it. We’ve gotten a lot of storm systems that have penetrated parts of the Ohio River Valley, the Tennessee River Valley, and then western parts of Pennsylvania so we’re on the warmer side of things, so more vs. snow vs. rain,” he said Taylor.

Meanwhile, areas farther west of Maryland, like Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, are seeing more snow and ice. Taylor said Maryland is below where we should be this time of year.

But don’t pack your winter gear just yet.

“Anything is possible in February and March. The potential for snow is still there as we are still in the winter months. But we’ll see if we can add something and I know it’s been a lackluster season so far, but we’ll have to wait and see,” Taylor said.

And while snow is still a possibility, Taylor said the Baltimore metro area should expect the same weather pattern due to above-average temperatures this season.

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“The current pattern suggests we will briefly get colder this weekend and then warm up again, which has been the quintessential theme of things for much of the season in the Baltimore area and surrounding suburbs,” he said.

So, for the snow and ice fans who have their fingers crossed and want more than 0.2 inches of accumulation, there’s some hope for you. And if you don’t believe us, ask good old Punxsutawney Phil, who predicted six more weeks of winter on Thursday, Groundhog Day.

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