Temperatures slid sharply Tuesday afternoon after a cold front brought 2 inches of rain, and lows were expected to drop below freezing by early Wednesday and bring snow flurries west of Baltimore.
Temperatures peaked at 67 degrees around midday at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, but after a front bringing some thunder and lightning and heavy rain, they fell to 52 degrees by 3 p.m.
As of 3 p.m., 2 inches of rain had fallen at BWI since 8 a.m. The record for Tuesday's date is more than 2.5 inches.
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Temperatures are expected to crash as a cold front moves through during the afternoon and evening hours, hitting the 20s in the suburbs and lower 30s downtown by Wednesday morning. Breezy southerly winds of 15-30 mph are expected to shift to the northwest by the afternoon as a cold front moves through. Overnight, 20-30 mph winds are forecast.
A freeze warning is in effect from midnight to 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service
In Western Maryland and as far east as Frederick and Carroll counties, temperatures could drop fast enough that rain on the tail end of the rainy weather system could turn to snow overnight, according to weather service forecasters. At higher elevations, above 1,000 feet, snow could accumulate on grassy surfaces, they said.
The cold is forecast to be a sharp contrast to a mild Monday and Tuesday morning. The overnight low temperature of 62 degrees Monday at BWI tied a record for highest daily minimum temperature, set in 1896. The overnight low temperatures at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport also broke records set in 1896 and 1972, respectively.
Clear, sunny skies and colder air are forecast Wednesday, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 30s by early Thursday morning.
Temperatures could approach 60 degrees Thursday with continued sunshine, and lows in the mid-30s Friday morning.
Highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s are forecast Friday and Saturday, with lows in the 40s, and a chance of rain Saturday.
Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells contributed to this report.