A large and strong storm system is bringing rain, wind and a few thunderstorms to the Baltimore area on the day of the city’s first large-scale event without light rail service.
The wet weather will continue through Sunday and will likely be heavy at times. A flood watch has been issued for the region today into tonight for the possibility of urban and poor drainage flooding. By the time this storm ends early Monday morning, we’re looking at 1 to 3 inches of rain, with the highest rainfall totals likely across the Eastern Shore. Driving conditions will be tough and slow during pockets of heavy rain.
The Ravens defeated the Los Angeles Rams in overtime at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Some hardy fans showed up to tailgate and participate in the activities along Ravens Walk.
The stormy weather may snarl traffic worse than usual with the light rail out of commission indefinitely following mechanical issues. The Maryland Transit Administration is operating express shuttle buses from the Glen Burnie/Cromwell and Timonium Fairgrounds light rail stations to the Camden Yards stations to help Ravens fans get to and from the game.
Thirty buses were deployed to accommodate game day demand, according to Kelly Nagle, deputy director of communications and marketing for the Maryland Department of Transportation. On game day, the light rail sees an average of up to 10,000 riders, according to Nagle.
”It’s difficult to predict how many are expected today, but we anticipate less than normal due to the weather and those opting not to take the bus,” Nagle added.
Steve Fieldhouse, a season ticket holder from York, Pennsylvania, expected the worst getting to the game Sunday afternoon. He usually takes the light rail from Hunt Valley, but because service was suspended he took a shuttle bus from the Hunt Valley stop to Camden Yards, then walked the rest of the way to M&T Bank Stadium.
“It wasn’t that bad,” he said as a steady rain drenched fans on their way to the game. “It took an hour and 20 minutes, and I arrived 20 minutes before the game.”
Season ticket holder Susan Price said she thought she hit the lottery when she arrived to an empty lot at the North Linthicum light rail stop at noon. Usually, the lot is full on game day, the Dover, Delaware, resident explained.
“I’m disappointed with the lack of communication from the Ravens,” she said. “I didn’t know about the suspension of services.”
Price paid for a $25 Uber ride to M&T Bank Stadium from the light rail stop after not seeing any shuttle buses there.
“This is extremely inconvenient,” she said. “I’d like to see it back up again. It’s extremely convenient when it’s running.”
Nearby at a Sunoco gas station, lot attendee Fahad Rag said he noticed a considerable uptick in customers.
“Usually we have two cars,” he said in reference to game days. The lot holds up to 20 cars. “Today the lot is almost full.”
As the game entered its fourth quarter, shuttle buses lined up at Camden Yards and extended dozens deep waiting for riders. The shuttles departed as they filled up.
Football fans weren’t the only ones using the shuttle services on game day. Theresa White stood underneath a bicycle rack at Camden Yards to avoid the rain as she waited for a shuttle to Lexington Market. She had already traveled by shuttle from her job at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport and found out that she’d missed her connecting shuttle.
“This is a mess,” she lamented. White, who said she takes the light rail five days a week, said the new shuttles are unpredictable and tack on an additional half hour to her trip.
“The light rail is on time. I’ve got a schedule for it when I catch it,” she said, adding that she hopes service immediately returns.
“I heard it wasn’t coming back, but a driver yesterday told me it will return in February,” she said. “I hope that’s true.”
Rain could turn to wet snow Monday morning
Across the region, wind will gust 25 to 30 mph with locally stronger gusts in any thunderstorms. Isolated strong thunderstorms are possible across the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Snow will start in Garrett County this evening. A winter weather advisory is in effect there from 7 p.m. until noon on Monday. Two to 5 inches are expected, and wind could gust up to 45 mph. The combo of slick roads and blowing snow will make travel difficult tonight through the Monday morning commute.
A changeover to several hours of wet snow is possible tonight into early Monday morning, especially north and west of Baltimore. A light grassy accumulation of 1 inch or so is possible, especially along and west of I-83, but road conditions should remain wet.
Right now, air temperatures should stay just above freezing (33 to 35 degrees), so the snow should melt on paved surfaces. Falling snow will create tough visibility for drivers. Most of the snow should end before 6 a.m. Monday.