MD Weather: Bomb Cyclone Threatens Snow, High Winds This Weekend

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MARYLAND — A powerful winter storm front sweeping across the country is expected to turn into what forecasters call a “bomb cyclone” as it approaches the East Coast, bringing rain, strong winds and snow to the Maryland area.

A bomb cyclone, or bombogenesis, is a rapidly strengthening storm that forms when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Confidence is growing for a significant storm that will bring wide-reaching impacts,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva. “Winds across the entire East Coast will be very gusty Saturday and Saturday night.”

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Temperatures in Maryland will likely be in the 40s and 50s on Friday before the system causes a shift on Saturday, when nighttime lows drop below freezing to the teens and low 20s.

“Much colder air will spread across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic in the wake of this storm system,” the National Weather Service reported.

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The “bomb cyclone” effect is most often felt during a period of strong winds, which forecasters say is in the cards.

Wind gusts of up to 45 mph are possible across Maryland on Saturday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

The blustery conditions will come on the heels of a wintry mix. Rain will begin around 4 a.m., mix with snow in the afternoon and may turn to all snow by Saturday night.

“It does appear increasingly likely that there will be accumulating snow in the farther northern and western suburbs of Washington/Baltimore toward the Allegheny Highlands,” National Weather Service forecasters said Thursday. “For Washington/Baltimore, there is still a chance for accumulating snow, but confidence decreases a bit.”

The weather service reports it will “monitor closely, because any slight change in the track of the low or timing of the cold air will have a significant impact on the potential for wintry precipitation.”


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One county in western Maryland is under a winter storm watch calling for up to a foot of snow, 55 mph gusts and below-freezing wind chills while the storm travels northeast.

On Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for Garrett County. The watch calls for snow, below-freezing temperatures and powerful winds from 3 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.

  • Between 6 inches to a foot of snow may accumulate during the watch period. Blowing snow could reduce visibility to 0.25 mile or less Saturday afternoon and night.
  • Wind gusts of 40 to 55 mph are expected and will be strongest Saturday afternoon into the evening. Branches may come down, and travel could be very difficult.
  • Hypothermia is possible if people do not take precautions to stay warm, since wind chills may fall to 15 below zero.

“Prepare for blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service advised those in the winter storm watch area, which includes Garrett County, Md.; western Highland County, Va.; and western Grant and Pendleton counties in West Virginia

Here are the latest forecasts for central Maryland from the National Weather Service:

Annapolis

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 51 and low around 36.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56 and low around 43.

Saturday: High near 50 with a low of 23. Rain, mainly after 4 a.m. It will mix with snow showers from 1 to 4 p.m., with a chance of snow showers from 4 to 7 p.m. Breezy, with a south wind 7 to 12 mph becoming northwest 20 to 25 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 47 mph.

Sunday: Sunny and breezy, with a high near 45 and low around 33.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58 and low around 43.

Baltimore

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 53 and low near 36. Calm wind.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 57 and low around 42. Calm wind.

Saturday: Rain, mainly from 4 a.m. until 1 p.m., then rain and snow showers until 7 p.m. The high is 47 degrees, with a low of 21. Wind gusts Saturday night may top 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 44 and low of 32.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58 and low around 42.

Bel Air

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 50 and low around 31 degrees.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 55 and low around 40.

Saturday: High near 46 and low of 20 degrees. Rain from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m., then rain and snow showers from 1 to 4 p.m., then a chance of snow showers from 4 to 7 p.m. Blustery at night, with wind gusts as high as 46 mph.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 41 and low around 29.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 55 and a low around 39.

Bethesda

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 52 and low around 33.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 60 and low around 42.

Saturday: High near 49 and low around 19. Rain before 1 p.m., then rain and snow showers likely between 1 and 4 p.m., then a chance of snow showers from 4 to 7 p.m. Breezy, with a southwest wind 8 to 13 mph becoming northwest 19 to 24 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph. Blustery.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 44 and low around 31.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59 and low around 42.

Bowie

Thursday: Patchy fog before 1 p.m. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 52 and low around 34 degrees. Calm wind at night.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59 and low around 43.

Saturday: High near 49 and low around 22. Rain before 1 p.m., then rain and snow showers from 1p to 4 p.m., then a chance of snow showers from 4 to 7 p.m. Breezy, with a south wind 8 to 13 mph becoming northwest 20 to 25 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph. Blustery.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 46 and low around 32.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59 and low around 42.

Columbia

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 52 and low near 32.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59 and low around 42.

Saturday: High near 48 and low of 20. Rain after 4 a.m., then rain and snow from 1 to 4 p.m., then a chance of snow showers from 4 to 7 p.m. Blustery at night, with wind gusts as high as 46 mph.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 43 and low around 30.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59 and low around 41.

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