Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Snow totals fall short of expectations in many areas

HAMPSTEAD - Heather Elseroad hoped the forecast would be right.

She would have been fine with 1 foot of snow.

It didn't work out that way.

After a powerful coastal storm pushed through the area Wednesday, many areas in the mid-Atlantic received considerably less snow than forecast.

Rain mixed in, even at some higher elevations in North Carroll. Temperatures stayed just above freezing. Roads remained mostly wet. Snow on grassy surfaces quickly compacted, limiting snow totals.

Among the snow totals reported to the National Weather Service: 5.8 inches in Manchester, 5.3 inches in Frederick and 4.5 inches in Westminster.

Significant snow totals were recorded well west of the area. In Western Virginia, some areas received nearly 2 feet of snow.

By contrast, some spots east of Carroll got mostly rain. Just a trace of snow was measured at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport in Linthicum.

"The rain part of it was the bummer," Elseroad said.

Rain was not a huge part of the weather forecasts. Most forecasts called for rain at the outset to change over to snow with accumulations of anywhere from 5-18 inches.

During broadcasts Tuesday night, The Weather Channel warned 12-18 inches of snow could fall in Carroll. No county locations got anywhere near that much. Many areas in South Carroll received 3 inches of snow or less.

"I'm not shocked," said Tim Watts, of Hampstead. "It seems like it's always one extreme or the other."

North Carroll senior Savannah Barth isn't a huge fan of snow, so she was happy to not see as much snow as forecast.

While many weather agencies ramped up their snow expectations Tuesday night to more than 12 inches of snow, Foot's Forecast did not. The Foot's Forecast team stuck with a forecast of 5-10 inches of snow for Carroll.

The wet consistency of the snow was part of the problem, said Keith Krichinsky, Foot's Forecast's chief operating officer.

"It just compacted down," he said. "If this was a drier snow, [the county] would have definitely seen 8 to 10 inches out of it."

So many factors need to come together perfectly to get a huge snow storm in Carroll in March, he said. National Weather Service volunteer weather observer Bobby Miller, of Millers, has recorded more than 10 inches of snow on a March day just once since he started keeping records 31 years ago. He recorded 14.5 inches during the 1993 Superstorm.

Foot's Forecast's team produces daily weather updates throughout the region. They were concerned Tuesday night that all the ingredients were not coming together for a historic snow storm for Central Maryland, Krichinsky said.

"This storm did have the potential," he said, "but everything just has to come together perfectly, especially in March."

Temperatures stayed just above freezing throughout the storm, hampering snow totals in Central Maryland. While the coastal low strengthened, it pulled in warm air aloft from the Atlantic Ocean. In areas near Baltimore a lot of the snow melted and fell as liquid before reaching the surface.

So once again, in a winter full of near misses and close calls, Central Maryland did not receive a huge snowstorm.

Watts was just fine with that development.

"I'm glad it wasn't a big storm because I don't like the snow hanging around," he said.