Saturday, November 16, 2019
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Coldest March temp ever in Baltimore on March 4

The National Weather Service in Baltimore issued a record event report, stating that records for the minimum daily and minimum monthly temperatures were set this morning.

A cardinal in Pasadena, Md., March 4 (Emily Carter Mitchell/Bella Remy Photography via Flickr)

A temperature of 4°F at about 6 AM broke (a) the old record for March 4 of 5°F, set back in 1873, and (b) the reccord for the lowest minimum temperature recorded on any day in March in Baltimore, which was also the aforementioned 5°F on March 4, 1873.

“The last time Baltimore recorded single-digit temperatures in March was March 4, 2009, and Tuesday was only the sixth such occurrence on record,” the Baltimore Sun’s Scott Dance reported. “It was also the latest occurrence of temperatures below 5 degrees in Baltimore, officials said; the previous record was Feb 24, set in 1889.”

The most recent snowstorm and its associated school closings caused the Maryland State Department of Education to extend the testing window for the Maryland School Assessment in math and reading by two days. The window was scheduled to run from March 3 to March 12, but since 23 of the 24 school systems in the state were closed on March 3, testing was extended through March 14, with make-ups coming on March 17 and 18. By press release:

Maryland schools give the MSA tests over four days — two for mathematics and two for reading. Local school systems determine the exact testing days to be used for their schools.

Grades 5 and 7 online testing remains unchanged, running from March 3 to March 21.

Both the MSA science test and the PARCC field test will begin March 24, as scheduled, and will close on April 11.

The MSA is given to students in grades 3–8, covering mathematics and reading. This is the final year for MSA testing for Maryland students. The State will transition to [new tests], aligned to Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards, in 2015.

The snow and cold this winter has also caused many school districts to use more snow days than they had originally worked into their calendar. For example, Carroll County planned for five snow days but has used 10 so far. That means five will have to be made up unless the state grants a waiver.

Other school districts are in the same boat, as this report in the Baltimore Sun shows. They have several options for making up days: students could go to school on scheduled days off; they could add days to the end of the school year, which some districts have already announced they’ll be doing; or, they could even add hours to existing school days to make up the lost days one hour at a time, using a minimum school day of five hours.

I have to say, I was once in a situation where one hour was added to each school day for an entire week, and my parents hated it. It threw everybody’s schedules off. In retrospect, I would vote for adding whole days with a normal schedule rather than changing a daily schedule that has become part of everyone’s routine.

Also in weather

Could cyber snow days become a reality in Pennsylvania?
WHYY NewsWorks, Philadelphia … One Pennsylvania state senator, whose district includes a private high school that has students log in from home on snow days to keep up with their class assignments, asked if such a system could work in the public schools. Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq said she likes the idea in theory but would need a more detailed analysis of the availability of hardware and adequate broadband connectivity for all the students at a school.

Rain in California brings relief, and new problems
The New York Times … The latest train of storms stretched across the country and brought much-needed drought relief to several regions in California. More rain fell in Los Angeles over the course of 12 hours on Friday (1.53″) than had fallen over the last eight months, according to the National Weather Service. Flash flood warnings came, however, as ground that has been so dry for so long failed to absorb so much water at once.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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