Heavy Snow Shutting Down Maryland, Update 3:15 p.m., 12-19-2009

Posted on December 19, 2009

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A windy snowstorm is shutting down the middle of Maryland on Saturday from the Chesapeake Bay through Montgomery and Frederick Counties. The heaviest snow is not in the Western Maryland mountains, as is usually the case, but in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Lighter snow on the Eastern Shore.[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=snow+maryland&iid=4147375″ src=”d/e/f/a/March_Snowstorm_Hits_23e8.jpg?adImageId=8478182&imageId=4147375″ width=”380″ height=”262″ /]

The massive snowstorm is roaring north along the Interstate-95 corridor, from Richmond to Washington to Baltimore to Philadelphia. Forecasters are expecting record-breaking snowfalls of 20 to 30 inches throughout the Baltimore-Washington region. The northern part of the Eastern Shore could get 12 to 20 inches. In the Mid-Eastern Shore, six to 12 inches, and only one to five inches on the Southeastern Shore.

The rain just turned to snow in West Ocean City, 3:35 p.m. Saturday.

Maryland will have a white Christmas this year. This storm will likely break all previous records for December snowstorms in Maryland. Our most recent comparable snows were in the months of January and February.

  • Feb. 2003, 28.2 inches
  • Jan. 1996, 22.5 inches
  • 1983, 22.8 inches.

Most shopping malls in the Baltimore area closed at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon — possibly the busiest shopping day of the year — to give shoppers and employees time to get home before the snow gets even deeper. The anchor department stores will make their own calls on when to close. Snow is falling at a rate of one inch an hour throughout Central Maryland Saturday afternoon and evening.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has declared a state of emergency and the National Guard is ready to provide transportation assistance to police and medical emergency crews. Emergency plans restricting parking on major routes are in effect everywhere.

Gov. O’Malley said state highway crews are focusing on keeping the interstate highways open. The interstate ramps are the most treacherous spots, along with bridges. Marylanders are being urged to stay off the highways so the plows and emergency vehicles can operate. However, Gov. O’Malley said he has no plans to shut down the Interstates at this time.

Temperatures are 25 to 30 degrees in middle Maryland. State officials are expecting the wind to pick up later this afternoon, causing increased drifting. But winds are remaining below the blizzard threshold, which is 35 mph.

BWI Airport and Dulles International Airport are reported operating, but only with a few flights. Reagan National Airport is closed until 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

The Chicago Bears were unable to fly into Baltimore on Friday evening as planned. The Bears are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens at 4:15 p.m. Sunday.

The storm will begin to taper off in Maryland late tonight and Sunday morning.

In Ocean City, we had rain and high wind all night, this morning, and early afternoon. Light snow has now started in West ocean City, and the wind continues to blow. No major problems reported with the morning high tide. My thermometer in West Ocean City says 32 degrees at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

Great skiing reported at Wisp Resort (22 degrees and 12 inches of new snow) in Western Maryland and Ski Liberty (14 inches) in Pennsylvania.

— Bernie Hayden

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