New National Weather Forecast Zones
New National Weather Forecast Zones for Maryland
On December 3rd , 2014 at 8 AM the National Weather Service will be implementing a change to how they are breaking down regions in central Maryland that will improve the expectation for winter weather. This will be more dramatic for some than others but is a big step clarifying what you can expect. The biggest impact might be in Harford County where many residents have complained they have their own version of different micro climates similar to Baltimore’s Hereford Zone.
“More snow north and west” is the most common phrase in the winter for our region. If you live in the snowy area, most of my forecasts play out. If you live south of it, you may have found yourself thinking I am the ultimate snowhound. There really is a sharp cut off of the rain snow line that often falls within 10 miles or so from I-95. That line can fluctuate across a region that is densely populated. As a meteorologist who does his own forecasting, I have tried my best to highlight this split in our area based on two factors, which are impact from the Chesapeake Bay and elevation.
The water of the Bay has a warming effect, especially early in the winter. Last winter the Bay froze over and stopped the impact leading to more snow in areas that tend to get more rain or ice.
I-95 is built along the geographical area known as the “Fall Line’. It marks the coastal plain vs. the hills building north and west towards the mountains. Much of northern Harford, Baltimore, and Harford Counties are 500 to 1000 feet above sea level. Since temperatures can be 3°F to 5°F cooler for every 1000 feet, that is enough to result in snow vs. rain over a short drive.