Winds calmed around the Baltimore region Tuesday, though temperatures remained cold. By Wednesday, the extreme cold is forecast to give way to warmer weather.
Temperatures dropped to 11 degrees early Tuesday at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the coldest there in more than a year.
Relatively balmy highs in the lower 30s are forecast for Tuesday, though temperatures remained below freezing around the region by early afternoon. Lows are expected in the 20s Tuesday night.
By Wednesday and Thursday temperatures are expected to reach into the 40s, approaching 50 degrees, with the National Weather Service forecasting rain both days.
Meteorologists say warming in the Arctic caused the polar vortex to split earlier this month and send frigid air to lower latitudes.
Maryland escaped the snow that moved through the Midwest and Northeast over the weekend. The wind chill in upper New York state was as low as minus 40 degrees.
At BWI, it reached minus 8 degrees, with temperatures as low as 12 degrees and wind gusts approaching 40 mph Monday morning.
Locally, the cold weather didn’t stop the traditional Martin Luther King Day parade, although attendance was estimated to be down significantly from previous years when the temperature has been milder. Gloria Shaw, 52, of Cedonia in Northeast Baltimore, noticed there were fewer bands and participants this year. She had come to the parade to watch her 9-year-old granddaughter perform with the Baltimore All-Stars marching band.
“I thought they were going to cancel the parade. It’s windy and feels like pins are in me because of the cold,” Shaw said. “My grandbaby, Janira Williams, looked like she was enjoying it, despite the cold.”
The Maryland Jockey Club canceled its Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday program, including nine races at Laurel Park because of severe winter weather conditions, and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore was closed Monday because of the cold.
A high pressure system from the Arctic is expected to build over the region Tuesday before heading for the Mid-Atlantic coast Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. A cold front from the Ohio Valley will move into our area Wednesday night and Thursday.
A “Code Blue” advisory is in effect through Tuesday morning in Baltimore, forcing the opening of shelters 24 hours a day and expanding their capacity, providing meals for at-risk senior citizens, and helping low-income residents seek energy bill assistance.