Baltimore hits 70, tying record high, but icy weekend lies ahead

Baltimore hit 70 degrees Thursday, tying a record, but an icy weekend is in the forecast.

Baltimore tied a 127-year-old record high Thursday, hitting 70 degrees, but forecasters are projecting an icy weekend ahead.

Temperatures at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport matched a record for Jan. 12 set at the U.S. Customs House downtown in 1890, while the Inner Harbor hit 71 degrees.

A flow of air from the southwest carried in the warmth, but a cold front was approaching from the northwest Thursday and was expected to cross the region early Friday. It was expected to drop temperatures back into the 40s by daybreak and the 30s by nightfall.

The cold air in place over the region by that point, mixed with a wave of precipitation late Friday, is forecast to produce some snow. Half an inch to an inch could accumulate.

By early Saturday morning, warm air from the south is expected to blow in at higher levels of the atmosphere. The cold air stuck beneath creates a recipe for ice: Precipitation starts to fall as snow melts and then refreezes close to the ground.

"It could be snow at first, but then that warm air is going to get in there and mess things up," said Heather Kenyon, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "It may be cold enough for snow to start, but it's going to quickly change over to sleet and freezing rain."

Sleet, freezing rain and drizzle could continue into early Sunday morning. An icy glaze of as much as a tenth of an inch is forecast on top of any snow accumulation, according to the weather service.

"Since we are coming out of warm period, this icing event doesn't look quite as bad as the one back in mid-December, but icy roads and trees will still be likely," weather service meteorologists wrote in a forecast discussion.

sdance@baltsun.com

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