Winter officially arrived with the solstice at 6:12 Friday morning, and along with it came a brisk wind in the Baltimore area and snow in Western Maryland.
The day's high at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport came at midnight, around 57 degrees, but colder air is blowing into the region. Wind gusts began to top 30 mph after midnight at the airport, and temperatures dropped to 41 degrees by 9 a.m.
Snow flurries are possible Friday afternoon across central and southern Maryland, including all of the Baltimore area.
A wind advisory is in effect for daylight hours Saturday across all of Central Maryland. Sustained winds are expected to reach 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. An earlier high wind watch has been canceled as forecast wind speeds have been reduced slightly.
Western Maryland is meanwhile under a winter storm warning, with a blizzard warning at higher elevations in western Allegany County. State Highway Administration road cameras showed snow was falling at about 10 a.m., expected to reach its most intense later on Friday.
The weather is all part of a violent system moving across the country, spawning blizzards in the Midwest and tornadoes in the Gulf Coast states on Thursday.
The winter solstice marks the shortest span of daylight all year -- about 9 hours, 24 minutes in Baltimore. Starting Saturday, the daylight grows longer by a matter of seconds each day. Sunsets have been moving later for a couple of weeks now, and sunrises will continue to get later in the morning for a few weeks, however, because our calendar doesn’t align perfectly with the solar calendar.