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Climate & Environment

Baltimore lies within the humid subtropical climate zone (Cfa), according to the Köppen classification. July is typically the hottest month of the year, with an average high temperature of 91°F (32°C) and an average low of 73°F (22°C). Summer is also a season of very high humidity in the Baltimore area, with afternoon thunderstorms occurring regularly. The record high for Baltimore is 108°F (42°C), set in 1985. January is the coldest month, with an average high of 44°F (6°C) and an average low of 29°F (-1°C). However, winter warm fronts can bring periods of spring-like weather, and Arctic fronts can drop nighttime low temperatures into the teens. The record low temperature for Baltimore is -7°F (-22°C), set in 1934. Baltimore rarely experiences temperatures below 10°F (-12°C) or above 100°F (38°C). Due to an urban heat island effect in the city proper and a moderating effect of the Chesapeake Bay, the outlying, inland, and higher elevation parts of the Baltimore metro area are usually several degrees cooler than the city proper and the coastal towns.

As is typical in most East Coast cities, precipitation is generous, and very evenly spread throughout the year. Every month usually brings 3-4 inches of precipitation, averaging around 43 inches (1,100 mm) annually. Spring, summer, and fall bring frequent showers and thunderstorms, with an average of 105 sunny days a year. Winter often brings lighter rain showers of longer duration, and generally less sunshine and more clouds. Some light to moderate snowfall can occur occasionally in the winter, with heavy snows relatively rare. The average annual snowfall is only 21 inches (53 cm). Baltimore averages only 2-3 snow events per year. In the northern and western suburbs, the climate begins to transition to subtropical highland climate, and thus winter snowfall amounts are usually higher, with some towns annually receiving 24-36 inches (61-91 cm). Freezing rain and sleet occurs a few times each winter in Baltimore, as warm air over rides cold air at the upper levels of the atmosphere. The cold air gets trapped against the mountains to the west and the result is freezing rain and or sleet.

The city lies in between two peculiar physical features that protect it from extreme weather and account for the relatively tempered seasons. The Appalachian Mountains protect central Maryland from much of the harsh northern winds and accompanying lake effect weather that bring subfreezing temperatures and heavy snows to the Great Lakes region, and the Delmarva Peninsula protects Baltimore from many of the tropical storms that affect the immediate coast.

The average date of first freeze in Baltimore is November 13, and the average last freeze is April 2.





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