Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office
To report by PHONE, dial 1-800-253-7091 x1.
To report via email, click HERE. Our email address is
Click here for
more information about how to take snowfall measurements.
- Call or email if snow is falling and accumulating, but
not in the forecast...Or...the snowfall depth has exceeded what is currently forecasted by our
- Call or email when 4 inches of snow has fallen. (However,
reports are never turned down).
- Most Important! Call or e-mail your final snowfall
total. This data is critical for proper documentation of the event. Please do not embelish your
total snowfall...accuracy is very important to us.
- If you are receiving heavy snow, greater than 4 inches,
Call or email when you feel it is an appropriate time to give us an update.
Know the difference
When to Call or email
- Sleet is frozen rain
or ice pellets. When it strikes the ground, it usually bounces. Sleet can accumulate like snow and
cause slick roads. In February 1994, some areas reported 4 to 7 inches of sleet!
- Freezing rain is rain
that freezes after it strikes a cold surface such as a tree, a sidewalk, or a car. It forms a sheet
of ice and is extremely dangerous.
- When measuring ice,
measure the thickness of the glaze on trees or wires. Report what is on the ground separately since
it might be a mixture of snow, sleet, and ice or a different thickness due to surface temperature
differences. ex. Ice might be accumulating on trees and wires but the pavement is just wet
because it was warmer and above 32°F. On the other hand, there are times that the pavement is
colder and slick spots are forming on the road, but above the ground at tree level, the temperature
is above 32°F and no ice is forming. Please tell us as much as you can.
- Call or email when a glaze of ice begins to
accumulate on trees and wires, or on roadways and walkways. Ice is extremely hazardous and sensitive
to your local temperature. Reporting ice might save a life.
- Call or email when ice accumulates a half an inch or more
on trees and wire. At this point, the weight of the ice may be enough to bring down tree limbs and
- Contact us (if still possible) when ice reaches one inch
- Call or email or e-mail your ice total, final thickness
of the ice, on the trees.
Changing Weather and Other Unusual Winter Phenomena
It is hard to define all the right times to Call
or email the National Weather Service with a report. You are often the best judge since you know
what is normal and what is very usual for your area. Below is a list of a few things that our office
is interested in.
- If you notice the weather is differing greatly from the
- If, for instance, the forecast is Call or emailing for
flurries, but you now have a few inches on the ground, or instead of rain, it is now sleeting out.
In the rural areas, we have very little "ground-truth" data that tells us what
precipitation type is falling or what is happening on the ground.
- If the temperature falls below zero and you know what
your minimum temperature was.
- If you have an anemometer (measures wind speed) and it
gusts to 50 mph or higher
- If high winds cause any damage such as trees or wires
down, or damage to structures.
- If it is snowing and you see lightning or hear
- If it is snowing and the wind is gusting to 35 mph
causing white out conditions.
- If heavy drifting of snow is occurring and you can tell
us the depth of the drifts.
How to View
Spotter Data during or after an Event
The information that you provide is often used in
Special Weather Statements, updates to warnings and advisories, and broadcast over NOAA Weather
Radio and SKYWARN® Amateur radio networks. However, summary information such as unusually cold
temperatures, snowfall or ice amounts, high winds reports, etc. is posted in the "Public
Information Statement". For historical data, look on our local historical events site or
archives and you can get Storm Data from the National
Climatic Data Center.