A rare St. Patrick's Day snowfall made this month the snowiest March since 1993, spreading more than 7 inches of snow across much of the region.
But while the snow closed schools and the federal government for another day and disrupted some travel, it didn't stop revelers ready to move on to spring and celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.
"It keeps them from going to work, but it doesn't keep people from going out drinking," said Jack Busick of Fallston as he made his way toward Sean Bolan's Irish Pub in Bel Air along with his wife, Cathy, and daughter, Elizabeth.
The National Weather Service reported at least 7.9 inches of snow at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the point of record for Baltimore. That could have made for a St. Patrick's Day record here, if not for the timing. The record for March 17 is 5 inches, set in 1931, but most of BWI's snow fell Sunday night.
Maryland's heaviest snowfall occurred in parts of Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, with the highest reports of 9.9 inches near Simpsonville, south of Columbia, and 9.5 inches in Pasadena, according to reports made to the weather service.
Other snowfall totals included 8.5 inches in Savage, 7.6 inches in White Marsh, 7.2 inches in Highlandtown, 7 inches in Phoenix, 6 inches in Bel Air and 5 inches in Westminster.
Measurable snowfall is relatively rare this late in the winter, with an increasingly direct sun angle and warm air close to the ground typically making accumulation difficult, said Brian Lasorsa, a meteorologist with the weather service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office in Sterling, Va. But temperatures dropped into the lower- to mid-20s overnight, allowing for light, fluffy snow.
The last time measurable snow fell in Baltimore on St. Patrick's Day was in 1967, when 0.4 inches fell, while a trace of snow fell on that date in 2007.
The snowfall makes for at least 11.7 inches so far this month at BWI, the most there in any March since 12.7 inches fell in 1993.
But it hasn't been long since snow accumulated so late in the season — 3.2 inches fell at BWI last year on March 25.
The snow closed schools across the region, as well as federal offices. City workers were on liberal leave. At BWI, 42 percent of departing flights and 24 percent of arriving flights were delayed as of 6 p.m. Monday, according to FlightAware.com. But relatively few flights were canceled — 8 percent of departures and 6 percent of arrivals.
A warm-up is ahead for the rest of the week, with highs near 40 degrees Tuesday, in the upper 40s Wednesday, and around normal for this time of year in the 50s Thursday into the weekend.
But a colder-than-normal trend was expected to return for the end of the month, despite spring's arrival with the vernal equinox Thursday. More cold air is expected to push southward across the eastern U.S. for the last week or so of March, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Bryna Zumer and David Anderson contributed to this article.
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