1950s = The Lowest Snow Decade
1960s = The Highest Snow Decade
We’ve also had a pattern of large snowstorms every 3 to 4 years in Baltimore dating back to the early 1990s. That includes events nearly a foot (11.5″ or more). The triple blizzards of 2009-2010 fit that, but also broke it with three events in one season. Our last one was in 2016.
Note: The blizzard of Feb 2010 was on the way to the top all time storm… but right before it ended, The National Weather Service changed it. They said the snow measuring procedure by the FAA at BWI (measuring every hour then wiping the board clean) was not accurate compared to NOAA guidelines of measuring every 3 hours and allowing for weight and compression. They went back and lowered snow totals, including the December 2009 event and prior.
Depending of your visual preference, I’ve compiled this same in a chart below.
To add some context:
This began a stretch of eight out of the next nine years with the first snow of the season on this date. It was like clockwork and made some people hit a streak of wins in their office pools.
December 5th is the date almost every year last decade marked the first snow of each winter season in central Maryland. I credit the phrase to a conversation I had with my son in 2009. But it all began with a record breaking snow storm in 2002, when I did my infamous snow angel on Live TV, just one year after setting a record high temperature on the same date.
Here is a look at the snow history and how it’s also connected to when “Faith in the Flakes” was born.
Winter in the Mid Atlantic can either behave like the south and stay mild, or like the northeast and snowy. Often we get caught in between and hang on every word of potential snow. Each year it is cliche to expect snow around Presidents Week. That’s when we get our biggest storms. But starting the season with the first snow in December is filled with anticipation by many and for many years it kept coming on the same date.
Baltimore has a few other special weather dates, but this one in particular has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. December 5th appeared to have been the average arrival of snow, at least in the prior decade.
The start of the phrase Faith in the Flakes was back in 2009, with oldest son when he was just a three years old then. After missing an early season (November) snowstorm I got him excited for, I had to explain to Little B why his dad (and a weatherman) was wrong.
Brendan understood quickly, and believed it would eventually snow. He know we had plenty of winter ahead of us.
That word ‘Faith’ was his, knowing it was believing in something you can’t see. The phrase Faith in the Flake came from our conversation. We walked away happy and didn’t have to wait long.
It was this date is when #FITF got validation.
It was on December 5, 2009 when we got our snow. Baltimore’s BWI records only show 1 inch, but the inland suburbs got up to 5 inches. That’s what we got to play in at our house.
Then two weeks later on December 19, 2009, we had the largest snowstorm in Baltimore December history and began our snowiest winter on record with a total of 77 inches!
The photos below:
This was my son and I celebrating in 20 inches of snow after the first of 3 blizzards that winter. This was PROOF that having Faith in the Flakes will eventually come true. I am so happy as a dad to carry that legacy with thousands of people today.
I redeemed my weather skills as a meteorologist and dad in his eyes. We kept saying it back and forth to each other, and eventually I started saying it on TV and on social media. I had no idea it would catch on the way it did.
It is also why snow lovers can celebrate our love of winter on this date every year.
Brendan and I kept saying it back and forth to each other for years. Now he’s a teenager a little too cool for it.