Snow on Chesapeake Bay

February 26, 2003


Referred by: Kevin Ambrose
Summary authors & editors: Kevin Ambrose

This photograph of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay (near Long Beach) was taken by Ted Dutcher, after the Presidents' Day Blizzard of 2003. What's interesting about this scene is that the Chesapeake Bay is not frozen over. The blizzard produced extremely heavy snow and sleet that actually accumulated on top of the water. The photographer described the surface of the Bay as a giant slurpee -- just floating slush. It would not have supported the weight of even a cat. A strong and sustained northeast wind ensured that the snow accumulation built up and remained pinned against the shoreline. The larger snow ridge marks the level of low tide and the smaller snow ridge (closer to the camera) marks the level of high tide. Later in the day, the wind turned to the northwest and the snowcover very quickly broke apart and floated away.

The blizzard dropped from 12 to 28 inches (30-70 cm) of snow and sleet across the area and was one of the largest snowstorms in Maryland history. Of note was that the snow had a very high water content, creating a dense snowcover -- better for accumulating on a large water surface.

Related Links: