The climate of Maryland is characterized by generally hot humid summers and cool winters. In comparison with the Eastern Shore and other lowland areas, the upland sections in the west have colder and longer winters and cooler and shorter summers.
Average July temperatures range from 18°C (about 65° F) in western Maryland to between 24° and 27° C (75° and 80° F) in eastern Maryland. July temperatures in Baltimore average a high of 31° C (87° F) and a low of 19° C (67° F). Daytime temperatures in Maryland are often in the lower 30°s C (upper 80°s F) and occasionally reach the mid-30°s C (upper 90°s F). Summer nighttime temperatures are usually in the lower 20°s C (mid-70°s F).
Average January temperatures range from less than -2°C (28° F) in the west to more than 2°C (35° F) on the Eastern Shore. The January temperatures in Baltimore average highs of 5° C (40° F) and lows of -5° C (23° F). Very cold winter weather, with temperatures in the -20°s C (below 0° F), is common in the western uplands but seldom occurs in the eastern lowlands. Precipitation (rainfall and snowfall) increases from 970 mm (38 in) a year in eastern Maryland to more than 1,170 mm (46 in) in the western mountains of the state. However, the driest area is in western Maryland, where Hagerstown Valley, hemmed in by mountains, receives less than 910 mm (36 in) of rain a year.
Throughout the state most precipitation is in the form of rain. More than half the annual rainfall occurs in the summer months. In the winter, snow is common, but the snowfall is much greater in the mountains than in the lowlands. Hailstorms and thunderstorms occur occasionally in the summer months.
The growing season, or period from the last killing frost in spring to the first killing frost in fall, increases from less than 140 days on the Allegheny Plateau to more than 210 days on the Delmarva Peninsula. The first major frost in fall usually occurs in late September on the plateau and six weeks later on the peninsula. The last major spring frost can be expected in early April on the peninsula and as late as mid-May in the western part of the state. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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