Snow surprise: Snowfall in March, one day after high 60s in Carroll County

Snow surprise. It can snow in March.

Carroll County residents woke up Friday to find a sight that might have struck them as surprising following the nearly 70-degree weather on Thursday. Cars, trees and the grass, all covered in a layer of white. And more snow could be on the way.

Snow in March, and even snow after a high-degree temperature day, isn't unusual, said senior meteorologist Paul Walker with AccuWeather, but the drop in temperature was significant.

"It's not your typical cold front," Walker said.

At the Carroll County Regional Airport, temperatures registered at 34 degrees around 11:45 a.m. Friday, less than 24 hours after temperatures in the high-60s were recorded throughout the area. A weather system pulled cold air down from central Canada, resulting in the temperature change and the white precipitation, Walker said.

There was an accumulation of about 1 inch in Eldersburg and 1.2 inches in Uniontown, but it was mostly on the grassy surfaces, said meteorologist Heather Kenyon with the National Weather Service. NWS also reported 1.5 inches in Westminster and 1.2 inches in Gamber.

Temperatures were above freezing so the pavement wasn't cold enough for snow accumulation, Kenyon said.

Snow has been a rarity this winter. Carroll's other significant snowfall of 2017 came on Feb. 9 — ironically, also one day after temperatures nearly reached 70 — forcing schools to close.

It was still mild Friday when the weather system started, and it began as rain. As the temperature grew colder, the precipitation turned to snow, Walker said.

The determining factor between rain and snow is the low-level temperatures toward the surface, Kenyon said. If it's warm, that snow will melt into rain as it falls. If it's cold, it'll remain as snow, she said.

And Friday's snow might not be the only one hitting Carroll, the meteorologists said. AccuWeather and National Weather Service are tracking a potential storm that could affect Carroll late Monday into Tuesday.

It looks like there could be some snow, but it is too early to tell how much, Walker said. The Weather Channel is calling for a 100 percent chance of snow in Westminster on Tuesday, with early estimations at 1 to 3 inches.

Cold temperatures are also likely to stick through the weekend.

"It's going to be chilling," Kenyon said.

Temperatures are likely to drop into the 20s through the weekend and, in portions of northern Maryland, temperatures might not reach 32 degrees Saturday, Kenyon said.

Temperatures are expected to be below the norm next week, but the following week they are supposed to be above normal, she said.

It's not unusual for March to have "flings" in temperatures, she said, and Walker agreed.

"March is often a back-and-forth type of month," he said.


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