frederickmar5There are certain things that stick out on the weather calendar that deserve attention. The January thaw is a noticeable warm period that often lasts a few days during the coldest month of the year. This can help melt a thick coating of ice and snow, before setting up a second hit of winter. Indian Summer is a time after the first frost that can bring very warm weather back into a region, almost as a gift before the inevitable change of seasons.

fitf_improvedBaltimore may have a few special dates, but one in particular has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. December 5th appeared to have been the average arrival of winter, at least in the last decade. The start of Faith in the Flakes – FITF and why snow lovers can celebrate or love of winter on this date every year. More on that plus video of my live coverage on WBAL during the first record breaking storm below… First, here is a look at the average snowfall that we can expect each month.

Get your Faith in the Flakes shirts and inside out flannel PJs. Click this image for the online store.

In Baltimore, the average December brings 3.1 inches of snow. Early surges of cold air and the hype over the holidays often gets many excited, but we usually have to wait until January and February for our real snow.


December 5th- Date With Destiny For Almost a Decade

To add some context, December 5th 2001 was a day the record high temperature was set in at BWI at 75°F. One year later, the record snowfall fell with 7.4″ measured at the airport. This began a stretch of eight out of the next nine years with the first snow of the season on this date. It was like clockwork and made some people hit a streak of wins in their office pools.


For nearly a decade, 70% of the years had some form of snow on this particular date. The 2008 leap year was off by one day. Baltimore had over 3-inches fall on December 5th at BWI on four occasions, or 40% of the time. There was another year with only 1 inch recorded, but a few miles north of the airport 5 inches were recorded in Woodlawn. In all, 50% of the time we have at least 1 inch of snow. That is something special with no particular rhyme or reason.


My first full winter at WMAR, there was almost a full repeat of that storm one year ago to the day. It was a Friday, and it turned into a 3 day weekend for most schools with 6.8 inches of snow. I also remember getting an email from my friend Melodie Taylor saying she called it! She won the pool at her school for picking the first snow day. That was two in a row for her and all of us. It had to be a coincidence. But could it happen again?


Well, December 5th in 2004 was a miss, but it was also on a weekend. In 2005 however, the date proved itself again with 3.3″. Thanks to the prior leap year, this was on a Monday. That benefitted more kids and teachers, and displayed the first storm for Baltimore three out of four years. That is a statistical outlier. Consider the months of winter between December and March. These odds were pretty slim for one day to always have snow, but continued on.


In 2006, we didn’t get a storm, but flurries and snow showers measured a trace, and that kept the trend alive. But wouldn’t you know it, 2007 brought the first storm to Baltimore AGAIN! This time it was 4.7″ at BWI. Nearby Glen Burnie had 6 inches, while parts of Carroll County estimated over 8 inches by Doppler radar.


As you look at the graphic here, 2008 is missing. It was just a buck in the trend, as the snow fell after midnight and left an official 0.6″ for Baltimore on December 6th. One viewer did point out that it was a leap year, so that may have pushed the calendar off the mark.


The wonderful record shattering winter began with the first storm (again) on December 5th. I remember speaking to a large group from the NSA in Fort Meade that October about weather. I was asked to make a prediction for the first snow, and in front of roughly 100 people I had to play up December 5th. It was for no reason other than history, but history likes to repeat itself. By trusting it blindly, I got to look like a rock star.

Climate records for December 5th 2009 show only 1 inch of snow for BWI after 0.85″ liquid equivalent. Does it matter? It still registered snow, and nearby Pimilco in north Baltimore City observed 2.5″, while Woodlawn on the west side of the beltway had 5″.

Kid Weather: See the mobile app I developed with my 6 year old son. It has real weather that characters dress for, interactively change the weather, and a lot of educational items.


This is the most questionable date on the list. Technically only flurries fell around Baltimore, but it was the first ‘cold’ day of the season with temperatures stuck in the 30s. The morning did start off looking like winter with a coating of snow in the Hereford Zone of Baltimore County.


That record snow was my last full snow storm I reported for WBAL-TV. I was on Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie all morning. Chief Meteorologist Tom Tasselmeyer stayed at the station all night to cover the storm. Perhaps we were both a little giddy from the fatigue, but he got me to do a snowman on Live TV, perhaps one of the highlights of my career. See this video clip below:

  • Scroll past 35 seconds for the actual Live Shot.
  • 4:00 for my snow angel. Tom T gave me a 10.

Maybe I didn’t hit my head, but the date was stuck in my head since then.

Faith in the Flakes Online- Flannel PJs Printed Inside Out

Store Now Open

  • We’ve added Flannel PJ Pants that will be printed inside out. They have to be, to make it snow ?
  • Free Personal Delivery for orders of 20 items or more to schools and businesses.
  • Click this image for the online store.
  • Look for more items to be added soon.
  • Also see the info for the STEM Assembly Spirit Wear program:  Put your school name on the shirts and raise money for you PTO/PTA in the process.


thatcher_snowsticksAvailable in 2 Ft, 30 Inches, and 3 Ft Sizes. Also with Orange/Black or Purple/Black. Click on the image to see the options offered by my friend Thatcher at Signs By Tomorrow in Timonium.

Go to to order yours today! Click the ‘Request a Quote’ button at the top of the page. In comment box include color, size and payment information. Please indicate whether you’d like to have us UPS ship them to you or if you would like to pick up in our store. Snow Sticks will ship or will be ready for pick up in our store 48 hrs after order is placed, Mon-Fri.

Please share your thoughts, best weather pics/video, or just keep in touch via social media

Chip KidWxDevicesGet the award winning Kid Weather App I made with my oldest son and support our love for science, weather, and technology. Our 3 year anniversary of the release and our contribution to STEM education is this November. It has been downloaded in 60 countries, and works in both temperature scales. With your support we can expand on the fun introduction to science and real weather.

Also See:

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

NOAA Winter Outlook for 2016 to 2017

La Nina Formed: What it could mean to our winter

Farmers Almanacs Split On Cold And Snow

Extreme Weather of 2015 balanced out on both ends

Low Snow Winters In Baltimore: Records Might Surprise You

NOAA Ranks Blizzard 2016 4th Worst Snowstorm On Record

Blizzard 2016 Record Top Snowstorm: Area Totals