Winter may not retreat until March in Frederick County -- Gazette.Net



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This story was updated on Feb. 5, 2013.

When Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole and didn’t see his shadow on Saturday, that was supposed to portend a quick end to winter and the early emergence of spring, according to folklore.

But Jack Boston, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, a Pennsylvania-based private weather service, said Tuesday that the groundhog’s prediction might be off the mark this year.

“As we get past the 20th, toward the end of the month, we expect colder weather below normal temperatures,” Boston said. “Maybe even a little snow into the early part of March.”

Boston said the normal temperatures in Frederick this time of year is highs in the mid-40s and lows in the upper-20s.

He said temperatures would be slightly elevated in the next week, with highs near the 50s, but that most of the days would see rain before the temperature drops.

Boston said March would also see temperatures below normal, which are usually around 50 degrees.

“We expect precipitation to be above normal in March, with snow as well as rain opportunities,” he said. “March is going to be a rather stormy month with slightly below normal temperatures and a slightly delayed spring. It may not get nice until April or late April.”

The mix of precipitation Boston predicts through February and March continues a varying pattern that has brought a wide array of weather to Frederick this winter, including ice, repeated snow showers, a blast of arctic cold, heavy rain and even a few spring-like days.

Howard Silverman, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Frederick County saw between 3 and 4 inches of rain on Jan. 30, with higher totals in the New Market and Monrovia area. The area also received about an inch of snow on the morning of Feb. 1.

The rain brought flooding to low-lying parts of the county, including Point of Rocks and areas near the Potomac River.

Donnie Crum, assistant superintendent of the Frederick County Office of Highway Operations, said at one point during the rain, the county had 42 roads closed due to flooding and debris in the roadways, he said.

“The majority of them were flooding, but we had some utility issues and some temporary closures due to downed trees in the roadway,” Crum said. “We opened them up quickly.”

tlaino@gazette.net