Carroll County Times
Carroll County

No 'perfect storm' brings huge snow totals to region

Boston got its blizzard when 24.9 inches of snow fell Feb. 8, the fifth-most snow ever recorded in one storm there. Texas got its blizzard when 17 inches of snow fell in Amarillo Feb. 25, the second-most ever recorded in one storm there. The winter of 2012-13 will be remembered for at least one noteworthy snow storm in spots throughout the country from the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South.

And yet the mid-Atlantic was spared. This winter provided ample periods of cold but not much snow.

This winter will be remembered in Carroll for a few storms that dropped only scant amounts of snow. Blizzards were avoided. Major winter storms stayed away.

"We had several nuisance systems to lead crews out in salt trucks," said weather observer Ralph Hartsock, of Deer Park. "They probably put down more salt than we saw snow."

National Weather Service cooperative weather observer Bobby Miller, of Millers, has recorded 23.7 inches of snow this winter. His most significant snow of the winter came Thursday when 5 inches of wet snow fell. That storm fell well short of forecasted totals of 6 to 12 inches or more.

The wet snow quickly turned to slush and started melting as temperatures stayed above freezing.

"The big snow turned into a big Slurpee," he wrote in an email.

It's been that type of winter in the mid-Atlantic. Several close calls. No huge snow storms.

Hartsock recorded nearly 17 inches of snow since Dec.1, mostly from nuisance storms that dropped 3 inches of snow or less.

"Not much for here," he said of this year's accumulations.

Snow totals were even more scant in Baltimore and Washington. Just 1.7 inches of snow was recorded this winter in Washington. It's been more than two years since 2 inches or more of snow has fallen in the nation's capital, a record snow drought, according to records that date back to the 19th century.

Since 1983, Washington has averaged 14.5 inches per winter, according to The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.

Just 4.8 inches of snow has fallen at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport east of Baltimore this winter. Last year, 3.7 inches of snow was recorded.

While snow can still fall as late as April in the region, the long-term forecast points to a warming trend with high temperatures reaching at least the upper 40s every day through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. A high of 60 degrees is likely Monday.

The wet snow that fell in the area Wednesday may be the last the region sees this winter.

"It was winter's last gasp," Hartsock said.

Like most snow threats this winter, this one fizzled for a variety of reasons. Surface temperatures were too warm, limiting accumulations.

Snow changed over to rain as the coastal storm moved away from the region due to the lack of cold air north of the mid-Atlantic.

So much has to happen to get a huge snow in the mid-Atlantic. It did not happen.

"We just did not see everything coming together that was going to make this a perfect storm," said Keith Krichinsky, the chief operating officer of Foot's Forecast, a forecasting collaborative for the mid-Atlantic. "Everything has to come together to get a foot of snow."

It hasn't happened the last two winters, even though it has everywhere from Birmingham to Boston. So weather enthusiasts will have to bide their time.

Perhaps next winter will provide that perfect storm.