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The Baltimore area will ring in March with snow in a chilly but not unusual precursor to spring.

Forecasters expect 2-4 inches to fall on the Baltimore region as local residents turn their calendar pages from February to March. Snow is possible beginning late Thursday, and accumulation will pick up early Friday morning.

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While the start of spring is weeks away, historical snowfall data show it’s a fair bet Baltimoreans will see at least a few flakes each March.

A timeline of expected snowfall for the Greater Baltimore area.

On average from 1981 to 2010, Baltimore received 1.9 inches of snow in March, making it the month with the third-highest average snowfall annually, behind February (8 inches) and January (6.8 inches), according to National Weather Service data.

March snowfall in Baltimore has trended higher the past decade, averaging about 4 inches, according to the weather service. Last year alone, the city received 6.7 inches in March.

In 1958, Baltimore’s March 19-21 storm began innocently with a wet snow. Soon live electrical wires were being pulled down by the weight of the heavy, freezing snow. Families lost power. Cars were stranded.

Some of the biggest snowstorms in Baltimore history have come in March. The 20 heaviest snowfalls on record for Baltimore include 1942, 1892, 1962 and 1993 March storms.

The record for monthly March snowfall in Baltimore has held nearly as long as the precipitation data have been documented. Since snow totals were recorded beginning in 1883, March 1892 had the most snowfall for the month in Baltimore. That month, the city received a whopping 25.6 inches, according to the weather service.

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