Monthly weather forecast and climate
Maryland, USA

Flag of Maryland, USA
Flag of Maryland, USA

The climate of Maryland

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 to February. 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 to May 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 13, 1912.

The best time to visit Maryland

The best time to visit Maryland is from May to September 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 and July 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 to February. 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.

Weather hazards

Maryland is vulnerable to tropical cyclones due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, but they seldom have strength above EF3. Storms that approach from the Gulf of Mexico or the southeastern United States bring adverse weather. Six tornadoes on an average strike the state each year. Thunderstorms are frequent in late spring and summer and occur on 30 to 40 days annually. Strong easterly and northeasterly winds, high tides and torrential rain are the features of these nor'easter storms. Hailstorms rarely occur, while flooding is common upstream of the Potomac River due to heavy rain during storms in the summer and fall. Blizzards are common in the winter and stall several parts of Maryland.

Weather in January

January is by far the coldest and snowiest month of the year in Maryland as the temperatures race towards the bottom. Nights are below freezing and drop below 0°F (-17.8°C) regularly in several places. The average low temperatures are in the frigid 16°F (-8.9°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C), while the average high temperatures are in the cold 35°F (1.7°C) to 47°F (8.3°C) zone. January sees 5" (127mm) to 10" (254mm) of snow everywhere except the coast and deposits of 20" (508mm) and above are standard in the mountains. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February has occasional nights that are above freezing, but the cold winter season is very much alive in Maryland. Annapolis, the capital at the center of the state, registers average between 31°F (-0.6°C) to 48°F (8.9°C), while Oakland is cold between 17°F (-8.3°C) to 38°F (3.3°C). Mountains resist the icy blast of the arctic air and are responsible for the relatively warmer temperatures on their eastern slopes. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is cold in Maryland as early spring spreads its wings over the landscape. The skies are partly cloudy, but there are clear signs of the change in seasons. The days grow long, and the sun smiles for 5 to 6 hours. Day temperatures average between mild 48°F (8.9°C) to 58°F (14.4°C) range, while nights are cold in the 25°F (-3.9°C) to 38°F (3.3°C) zone. The precipitation is to the tune of 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) and rarely icy. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is warm and beautiful in Maryland as the bright sunshine quickly thaws the remaining patches of ice and snow. The last snow usually disappears by the month-end except for the high altitudes of the western mountains. Hiking, trailing, bird-watching, sightseeing, or soaking the sun rays on the eastern shores are a few of the many popular activities during spring. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is a beautiful spring month in Maryland with pleasant weather between rain and shine. The average high temperatures are in the warm 68°F (20°C) to 77°F (25°C) zone, while the nights are mild in the average range of 45°F (7.2°C) to 57°F (13.9°C). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is warm and sunny in Maryland with long days and patches of hot weather. The average high temperatures shoot up in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range, while average low temperatures are around a comfortable 53°F (11.7°C) to 65°F (18.3°C). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the hottest and sunniest month of the year in Maryland. The average high temperatures shoot up between 81°F (27.2°C) to 90°F (32.2°C), while the average low temperatures remain in the comfortable 58°F (14.4°C) to 71°F (21.7°C) range. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is a hot summer month in Maryland with average high temperatures in the 81°F (27.2°C) to 87°F (30.6°C). Frederick in the central region averages between 66°F (18.9°C) to 87°F (30.6°C), while Hagerstown in the west is between 64°F (17.8°C) to 83°F (28.3°C). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September brings the mild fall season to Maryland with changing colors and a pleasant atmosphere. Temperatures retreat from the peak to average in the moderate 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) range during the day and 55°F (12.8°C) to 62°F (16.7°C) in the night. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the time of peak fall foliage in Maryland with brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, and gold. The best way to enjoy the fall colors is to hike through one of the numerous state parks or watch the picturesque shores while traveling over a lake or river. The average high temperatures are in the range of 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C), but cold fronts can lower them quickly. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is cold amid partly cloudy skies as the autumn season gradually wanes in Maryland. The leaves retain color till the mid of the month but fall slowly with the rapid decrease in temperatures. Day high temperatures average in the mild 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while nights occasionally drop below freezing. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the cold winter season in Maryland with gloomy skies, icy rain, and ample snow. The average high temperatures are in the cold 39°F (3.9°C) to 50°F (10°C), while the average low temperatures lie in the freezing 21°F (-6.1°C) to 33°F (0.6°C) zone. Weather in December »