If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas this year, it’s best to keep dreaming — in Baltimore and large parts of Maryland, at least.
According to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service, conditions in Baltimore and the suburbs surrounding it will be dry by the weekend, but incredibly cold. It will likely rain Thursday and Friday.
Erik Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the rain could turn into a “brief period” of freezing rain in the suburbs to the north and west of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Temperatures in Baltimore are expected to be in the mid-40s on Thursday and Friday, but drop into the teens by Saturday. The high Friday is projected to be 45 degrees, with highs dropping into the teens and mid-20s over the weekend. Lows will range between 10-16 degrees, with the wind chill making it feel even colder.
Taylor said the temperature drop in the region will likely start sometime late Friday morning into the afternoon as an Arctic cold front travels through the country. With the quick drop in temperature, it’s possible that any puddles or water on the ground will refreeze, which could create icy travel conditions.
“There’s a brief period of snow possible, but no immediate accumulation in the Baltimore metro area. It’s really about the temperatures,” he said.
On Thursday, Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa issued a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration for the city beginning Friday morning and lasting through Monday morning, Dec. 26. This is the first Cold Blue the city has declared during the 2022-2023 season.
During the winter season, the health department and other city agencies work to distribute meals to at-risk senior citizens, provide home weatherization services, help people apply for energy assistance and offer additional cold weather education and outreach efforts.
“I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” Dzirasa said in a statement. “Extreme low temperatures can be life-threatening especially for our most vulnerable populations. Please be sure to check on neighbors who you think may be at risk to ensure that they have heat and power, and take care to shelter pets appropriately.”
It’s also likely to be very windy. Winds are projected between 17-24 mph with gusts up to 43 mph on Friday, although conditions will calm over the weekend. High winds can make travel difficult. Holiday travel along the I-95 corridor will mostly have to contend with rain, but “the wind will be an issue for travelers,” he said. Further west, it is possible there will be snow accumulation.
On Friday and through the weekend, it’s likely that temperatures will not reach above freezing. Taylor said the windchill factor could make it feel close to zero degrees, if not a few degrees below zero, over the weekend..
“If you can avoid being outdoors, it would be highly recommended to do so,” he said.