November marks the beginning of colder weather in much of the mid-Atlantic, including Maryland. While autumn officially begins at the end of September, it can be as much as two months until Maryland gets really frigid temperatures and another couple of months before actual snowfall. Of course, each year is different. So when was the largest November snowstorm in Maryland?
Average snowfall in November in Maryland is typically less than an inch. In many years, the first snow occurs in December. But in 1898, a major snowstorm hit the East Coast and brought over 9 inches of snow to Maryland. The National Weather Service estimates that as much as 9.7 inches fell on Baltimore. Amazingly, just a few months later, the Great Blizzard of 1899 hit the same area in February and brought even more snow.
Maryland’s Wildlife During the Storm
Many animals in Maryland were already gearing up for winter when the snow fell in November 1898. While there aren’t as many recorded observations about that time as there are after modern-day storms, it’s safe to assume that many of the animals in the state took cover from the cold and snow. Birds that needed to get to warmer weather would have already migrated south. Some animals would have gone into hibernation or dormancy, including black bears and some bats. Some animals, like squirrels and cardinals, are happy enough in the winter months as long as they can find food.
Impacts in Maryland
Other notable storms also hit the state and mid-Atlantic region before and after the November snowfall. The Great Blizzard of 1888 in March of the previous year was one of epic proportions. As many as 58 inches of snow fell in Maryland during that storm. Effects from the storm were felt from Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay all the way up to Canada. Snow fell in unprecedented amounts and in places where it normally was never seen.
Typically, the western part of the state gets the most snow in November and throughout the year. It has more mountains and a higher elevation overall. Oakland, Maryland, and the surrounding regions get a few inches more than most other places in the state. But with an elevation of nearly 2,500 feet above sea level, it’s not surprising that this part of Maryland has a different type of weather in November than the Eastern Shore or even Central Maryland.
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