Whether you’re rooting for a Snowmageddon sequel or praying for a mild winter, weather experts say Marylanders should pay extra attention to forecasts this winter.
The National Weather Service is expecting both above-average temperatures and rainfall in the coming fall and winter months, said meteorologist Kevin Witt with the Baltimore/Washington forecast office. Still, conditions in Maryland have the potential to bring about snow, ice or a wintry mix this season.
Weather experts are predicting a strong El Niño weather climate cycle this winter. During winter months, El Niño typically brings wetter and cooler conditions to southern states and drier and warmer weather to northern states. Baltimore falls somewhere in between the two, leaving it difficult to predict exactly how the weather will shake out for us.
“A strong El Niño doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get a big snow storm, but it does mean we could get a storm with several inches,” Witt said.
Last year, Baltimore saw less than an inch in cumulative snowfall for the entire season. The last El Niño cycle was considered weak and took place during the winter of 2018-19. Baltimore saw 18 inches of snowfall that season. A stronger El Niño cycle was reported in 2015-16, which dumped 35 inches of snow on Baltimore. About 30 inches came during the month of January, when temperatures are typically at their coldest, Witt said.
Since Maryland falls squarely in the mid-Atlantic region, the state is prone to a mix of wintry conditions. The bottom line this year, Witt said, is to persistently monitor forecasts since they could change abruptly. Calls for snow could dissipate after you’ve already canceled plans. And sudden rainfall could transition into snow or black ice.
“You don’t want to wait a day or two to go shopping for what you need,” Witt said. “In this region, we can get anything.”
In the meantime, Baltimore City officials say they are preparing for the winter season.
City leaders suggest stocking up on an extra supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day) in case low temperatures cause pipes to freeze. Residents can also stock up on shovels, salt or sand to assist with traction on sidewalks and with vehicles.
In the event of a snow emergency, residents can find important storm information on the city’s Snow Center website.