Snow Depth USA Dec10 2015No snow in December, at least by the 10th day of the month is somewhat normal. But I am writing this post to look back at history and give hope to snow lovers that all is not lost. There is good reason to keep your Faith in the Flakes, even if the remaining 3 weeks of this month remain essentially snow free. We have 132 years of snow records in Baltimore to prove it.  But the Mid Atlantic region is on the cusp of looking ahead towards a weekend that could bring record high temperatures, and looking back at just one year ago when snow was on the ground and local ski resorts were open. But most of the nation is feeling the pinch thanks to the super charged El Nino pattern. So compare this latest image of snow cover in the US to this date last year. In fact the last two years we had early snow to spoil us. But there is plenty of time to get winter going.

Snow Cover Last Year: December 10, 2014

Snow Depth USA Dec10 2014

Closer Look At The Mid Atlantic Region


SnowDepth EasternUS Dec102014


Research On Snow-Less Decembers In Baltimore

Two charts below show the highlights of what I complied while searching through the weather and snow records for Baltimore. Of al the season the overall average was 3 inches for the month. That includes some big storms, many very little, and many no snow months. Before we dive into it,  I need to point out two things first:

  1. It is only December 10th! Yes, the pattern looks warm for the near future, but a change will develop in the next 10 days, with a more normal upper air pattern for Christmas week. There are 21 days left in December to provide just a little bit of snow or hope to follow.
  2. Snow-Less Can be defined as absolutely no snow whatsoever, measuring 0.0″. That has happened five times for the month of December in Baltimore since weather records began in 1883. But a trace of snow, which is much more common and many would also lump in with ‘snow-less’ can be summarized as snow falling and melting, or leaving only a dusting under 0.1″. That has happened 20 times for the full month of December in the past 12 years.

Snow measuring 0.0 inches (none) in December and the seasonal total:

This might surprise you: 40% of the years with absolutely no December snow (2/5) ended up with above average seasonal totals. The other three ended up with less than 10 inches of snow. The long term average rounds to 21 inches f snow in Baltimore for an entire season.


Trace of snow in December and the seasonal total:

As mentioned above, only a trace of snow for the entire month of December has happened 20 times since 1883.  One of most interest to me was 1965. That was a strong El Nino year, and one I highlighted in a prior article comparing El Nino, Snow, And The Baltimore Orioles… With only a trace of December snow, that season ended up measuring  32.8 inches at BWI. That’s more than 50% above average! Also, the Orioles won the World Series the following year. So with an El Nino, you would want a heavy snow winter to increase the Os chances in the post season. History doesn’t lie 😉

If we consider the long term average of 21 inches of snow and the bench mark of 18 inches for a season as ‘near normal’, then 11 out of 20 seasons have ended close to or above average despite a trace of snow in December.


What can you take away from this?

Most of our snow typically occurs in January and February. The storm pattern is NOT etched in stone this month. There is still roughly a 50:50 chance to get near to above average snowfall this season in Baltimore and the Mid Atlantic. If you love snow, don’t give up yet.

Faith In The Flakes: It Will Snow… Eventually

Flannel PJs Printed Inside Out

Also see: My Winter Outlook 2015-2016

Updated Dec 2016 – My Winter Outlook for 2016-2017: Colder with snow spread out more

GraphSnowElNinoOsEl Nino, Snow, And The Baltimore Orioles

Other El Nino Posts:

November 2015 El Nino Peaked?

El Nino Winters Mean Extreme Ice (low and high) On Great Lakes

El Nino Modoki

Strong El Nino Brings All Or Nothing Snow in Winter

El Nino Snow And The Baltimore Orioles

El Nino 2015 Is Too Big To Fail

El Nino growing stronger and could last into winter 2016

El Nino 2015 Compared to 1997 By NOAA: Strongest On Record?



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