Will We be Walking in a Winter Wonderland?

Historic homes in the snow in Annapolis. Photo: Visit Annapolis.

How the Season’s Shaping Up

By Meg Walburn Viviano

As I sit at my computer, blanket on my lap and the twinkle of Christmas lights outside my window visible up and down the street, I’m glad to be cozy inside. The wind kicks up, creating a blizzard of oak leaves that drop in snowdrift-like piles on the ground. A wind advisory is in effect, warning of 20 mph northwest winds and gusts up to 50. Now I’m even gladder to be cozy inside.

This week’s forecast brings Chesapeake Country’s very first chance of snow, and overnight lows in the 20s. By the looks of it, winter is upon us. What that means, exactly, we never quite know. In Maryland, it always seems that winter could go either way.

Is it time to stow away the light jacket and get comfy in our heavy winter coats? Is it time to cover our ears and hands every time we walk the dog? Maybe—until we get that bewildering 65-degree day in the middle of December, just to keep things interesting. Etched in my memory is Christmas Day 2015 when the high temperature reached a near-record 71 degrees. My November baby was just 5 weeks old, and it was so warm in the house he spent most of our Christmas gathering in just a diaper.

Then, a mere month after that, January 2016’s Winter Storm Jonas dumped a record-breaking 29.2 inches of snow on Chesapeake Country, as measured at BWI. Remember how your patio furniture was buried in snowdrifts?

I’ll say it again: in Maryland, winter could really go either way. Will we get “real winter” this year, my kids are dying to know? Will Santa put shiny new sleds under the Christmas tree? (Or will Santa regret spending money on sleds as a mild winter unfolds?)

Nobody knows for sure the answers to these questions, but CBM Bay Weekly is turning to the experts to find out their best guesses. Meteorologists have been hard at work developing predictions for the 2021-2022 season. We won’t give away their winter forecast—you’ll have to read that here.

We’ll also look at some less scientific winter predictions, just for fun. From woollier-than-usual horse coats to early waterfowl migration, there are plenty of signals observed in nature that may indicate a harsh winter is coming. Do any of these myths ring true? Let’s find out.

In the meantime, I’ll be rooting for a mild December so that we can enjoy all those Christmas lights walks in the neighborhood, tree lightings, and other festivities (check our Bay Planner for this week’s events and our full Holiday Happenings guide at bayweekly.com/holiday-happenings).

And come January and February, I’ll be hoping for at least one good snowfall to put these new Christmas sleds to use!