The climate of Maryland
has a wide range of climatic conditions. The eastern half has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) due to proximity to the ocean. The western half has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) that changes to humid continental (Köppen Dfa) from the Cumberland Valley onwards to the remaining western portion. Summers are hot and humid, and winters are cold and snowy. Maryland lies in the Mid-Atlantic region and borders Delaware in the east, Virginia in the south, West Virginia in the west, and Pennsylvania in the north. The Atlantic Ocean influences the climate to a large extent, while the Appalachian Mountains and katabatic winds protect from extreme cold.
Maryland has an average elevation of 110 meters, with the highest point at Hoye-Crest at 1024 meters. The nickname Little America is due to the varied topography that consists of sandy dunes, low marshlands, forests, and gently rolling hills. Western Maryland has heavily forested mountains, while the Eastern Shore that lies east of the Chesapeake Bay is full of bald cypress trees and marshlands. The Appalachian Mountains in the west are home to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. The Potomac River forms the southern boundary of the state. Construction of many human-made lakes has compensated for the absence of natural lakes.
Summers are warm to hot and humid in Maryland, with peak temperatures above 100°F (37.8°C) in July
. The Atlantic coastal areas have higher humidity and consequently oppressive summers than the interior. Spring and fall are mild and prone to sudden changes in weather. Frost is common in the lower valleys as cold air masses tend to stay close to the ground. Cyclones and anticyclones rapidly change the conditions with cold fronts and warm fronts succeeding each other. Winters are severely cold and snowy and nights often register below 0°F (-17.8°C). The Allegheny Plateau receives heavy snow and precipitation from December
. The Appalachian Mountains provide a barrier from the arctic cold in the winter as the eastern slopes of the mountains warm the descending air by 10°F (-12.2°C) or more.
Maryland's average annual rainfall is an ample 44" (1118mm) and ranges from 37" (940mm) in the Cumberland area to 48" (1219mm) in the Allegheny Plateau. The precipitation distribution is even over the year with a peak during the summer. Snowfall lasts from September
in the coldest regions and varies considerably according to region and altitude. It is common for snowstorms to drop 12" (305mm) to 25" (635mm) of snow during a day. Snowfall ranges from 5" (127mm) to 15" (381mm) on the eastern shore to 30" (762mm) to 40" (1016mm) in the western highlands. Oakland receives a massive 106" (2692mm) of snow annually. The annual sunshine in Maryland ranges between 2200 to 2500 hours.
Cumberland holds the record of the highest temperature in Maryland of 109°F (42.8°C) on July 10, 1936, while Oakland holds the record for the lowest temperature of -40°F (-40°C) on January
The best time to visit Maryland
The best time to visit Maryland
is from May
when the ground is free from snow and ice. Late spring has milder temperatures than the summer, but numerous festivals make accommodations costlier, and students swell visitor numbers during spring break. Early spring has fewer crowds and cheap flights. Summer tends to be hot and humid, with long daylight hours and bright sunshine. June
see the peak of the tourist season with many families in vacation mood. Early fall has mild temperatures and is a great time to witness the changing leaves.
The worst time to visit Maryland
The worst time to visit Maryland
is during the chilly winter season from December
. Late fall brings cold but sees many visitors who wish to experience the scenic landscape bathed in different colors. Winter accumulates plenty of snow in the western portion of the state, particularly the highlands, while snowfall occurs routinely in the rest of the state. Blizzards occasionally occur to cause damage to property and stall everyday life. The roads are icy and filled with slush, a mixture of snow and ice that makes driving hazardous. The days are short, and the sunlight is weak, while nights are freezing and drops below 0°F (-17.8°C) in many places.
Spring weather in Maryland
Spring in Maryland
is known for its mild temperatures and fluctuating weather patterns. The season often brings sudden changes in weather, and frost is common in the lower valleys where cold air masses stay close to the ground. Spring months also witness rapidly alternating cold fronts and warm fronts due to cyclones and anticyclones. During this time, visitor numbers increase due to spring break, and many festivals take place. Though accommodations may become costlier, the milder temperatures make it a favored time for tourism.
Summer weather in Maryland
Summer in Maryland
can be warm to hot and humid, with peak temperatures above 100°F (37.8°C), particularly in July
. The Atlantic coastal areas experience higher humidity and more oppressive summers than the interior regions. Precipitation distribution is even, with a peak during the summer months, and the state receives an average annual rainfall of 44" (1118mm). Records show that Cumberland holds the highest temperature in Maryland, measured at 109°F (42.8°C) on July 10, 1936.
Autumn weather in Maryland
Autumn in Maryland
is characterized by mild temperatures, and it's an excellent time to observe the changing colors of the leaves. The transition from summer to winter brings a noticeable change in weather, and late fall may introduce cold temperatures. Precipitation ranges from 37" (940mm) in the Cumberland area to 48" (1219mm) in the Allegheny Plateau. While snowfall might begin in the coldest regions from September
, the majority of the state enjoys a comfortable and scenic autumn season.
Winter weather in Maryland
Winter in Maryland
is severely cold and snowy. Nights often register below 0°F (-17.8°C), and the Allegheny Plateau receives heavy precipitation from December
. Snowfall varies considerably according to region and altitude, ranging from 5" (127mm) to 15" (381mm) on the eastern shore and from 30" (762mm) to 40" (1016mm) in the western highlands. The Appalachian Mountains act as a barrier against arctic cold, warming the descending air by 10°F (-12.2°C) or more. Oakland is notable for receiving an enormous 106" (2692mm) of snow annually, and the state enjoys annual sunshine ranging between 2200 to 2500 hours. Winter's biting cold and copious snow make it a season best observed from indoors.
Weather in January
is characterized by severe cold and snow, typically representing one of the coldest months of the year. In comparison to December
, January often exhibits even lower temperatures and more consistent snowfall. Weather in January »
Weather in February
continues the winter trend in Maryland
, although it typically shows some signs of moderation compared to January
. The temperatures still remain low, with nights often falling below 0°F (-17.8°C), but the frequency and intensity of such cold snaps may decrease slightly. The western region of the state, particularly in areas such as Oakland, continues to experience severe cold and snow. Weather in February »
Weather in March
marks a transitional period in Maryland
as the state begins to shift from winter to spring. Although cold conditions can persist, especially in the western regions like Oakland, there is generally a noticeable moderation in temperatures. Weather in March »
Weather in April
signals a definitive shift towards spring, with milder temperatures and a noticeable reduction in snowfall. The transition from the chilly grasp of winter becomes evident as temperatures begin to rise, although occasional cold fronts can still bring temporary drops in temperature. Snowfall in April becomes a rare occurrence, especially on the eastern shore. Weather in April »
Weather in May
ushers in a new season in Maryland
, characterized by a marked increase in warmth and a departure from the cooler temperatures of spring. This month is a prelude to the hot and humid summer, and the weather becomes distinctly warmer, with temperatures occasionally reaching above 100°F (37.8°C) in some areas. The western region, including places like Cumberland, begins to experience more moderate temperatures, leaving behind the colder and snowier conditions of previous months. Weather in May »
Weather in June
is characterized by the official arrival of summer, bringing with it a substantial increase in heat and humidity. The temperate conditions of May
give way to more oppressive weather, especially in the Atlantic coastal areas where higher humidity prevails. Western Maryland and areas close to the Appalachian Mountains might experience slightly milder temperatures, but the warmth of summer permeates the entire state. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is the peak of summer in Maryland
, marked by hot and often humid conditions. The warmth that began to build in June
reaches its zenith, with temperatures frequently climbing above 100°F (37.8°C) in many areas. The eastern half of the state, with its proximity to the ocean, experiences heightened humidity, making the summer heat feel even more oppressive. Weather in July »
Weather in August
continues the trend of hot and humid weather, though it begins to show signs of a gradual transition towards the cooler autumn months. The extreme heat of July
may slightly wane, but temperatures remain high, often reaching up to 100°F (37.8°C) in various regions of the state. Humidity is still a prominent feature, especially in the eastern half near the Atlantic Ocean. Weather in August »
Weather in September
marks the beginning of autumn and a notable transition from the hot, humid summer months. The oppressive heat starts to recede, and temperatures range between 65°F (18.3°C) and 80°F (26.7°C), though occasional warmer days are not uncommon. The eastern regions near the ocean continue to experience some lingering humidity, while the western parts of the state welcome a more temperate and comfortable climate. Weather in September »
Weather in October
is fully immersed in the autumn season, with temperatures generally ranging from 50°F (10°C) to 70°F (21.1°C), creating a crisp and refreshing climate. The once hot and humid conditions of summer have faded, giving way to cooler breezes and a noticeable chill in the air, especially during the evening. The varied topography of Maryland, including the Appalachian Mountains in the west and coastal areas in the east, contributes to a mix of weather conditions. Weather in October »
Weather in November
signifies a clear shift towards winter, with temperatures generally ranging from 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C). The autumn's crisp and refreshing climate begins to yield to colder conditions, particularly in the western regions affected by the humid continental climate. The coastal areas, influenced by the humid subtropical climate, might still experience milder conditions, but the trend is unmistakably towards winter. Weather in November »
Weather in December
heralds the onset of winter in Maryland
, with temperatures typically ranging from 30°F (-1.1°C) to 50°F (10°C). The state experiences a substantial drop in temperature compared to November
, and the landscape transitions into a winter wonderland, particularly in the western portions. The coastal areas of Maryland continue to experience milder temperatures due to their proximity to the ocean, but even these regions are not immune to the cold. Weather in December »