There is a lot to love about the city of Baltimore. If you, not unlike an anxious pre-frosh JHU_Allison, have opted to spend a large chunk of your time obsess-reading these blogs instead of studying for such-and-such AP test, you’ve assuredly picked up on a common theme: us SAAB-ers love Baltimore. From the food, to the music, to (my personal fav) the theatre scene, Baltimore is undeniably one of the ~coolest~ cities on the East Coast. But there’s one thing about good old Charm City that gets consistently mixed reviews: the weather.
Even I, a proud Baltimore native, have done my fair share of complaining. From a cup-half-empty perspective, it can be challenging not to. For those unfamiliar with Baltimore’s meteorological antics, our weather is as unpredictable as it is varied. Our seasons are distinct and relatively extreme, with a range of temperatures that can span the low teens to the high nineties in a calendar year. The transitions, however, are what truly set us apart from the states of effortlessly changing seasons. Think sporadic 60-degree days in December that really put the “sweat” in “sweater,” perfect spring mornings tragically dissolving into cold monsoons in a matter of seconds, and waking up to surprise snow in October. Trying to navigate seasonal transitions in Baltimore is like trying to navigate the crucial trial period of a new relationship. Should I text him first? Should I bring a separate bag for my rain boots? Mixed signals, man. Mixed signals.
By now, I’m sure all you folks from the sunshine-y states of Florida and California are shaking in your non-waterproofed boots at the thought of saying yes to the noncommittal weather of Baltimore City. But fear not! After nineteen years in the fair-weathered (get it?) state of Maryland, I’ve grown to know a thing or two about surviving (and adoring, but we’ll get to that later) Balty’s special brand of seasonal weather. JHU_Allison crash course beginning in three, two, one…
Check forecasts daily; insert grain of salt. When it comes to weather in Baltimore, the weatherman is kind of like the friend you love to hang out with, even though not all the lights are on upstairs, if ya catch my drift. (Think: “It’s like I have ESPN or something.”) The forecast means well, and you’re thankful it’s there when you wake up and realize the temperature could be anywhere from 46 to 64, but weather.com isn’t getting an “A” for accuracy anytime soon. So keep Foot in mind when choosing between the hoodie and the Northface, but remember you have no one to blame but yourself when you come home soaked after putting too much faith in that 0% precipitation.
Layers, layers, layers. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, Baltimore has this really cute habit of having inexplicably toasty days in the dead of winter and chilly ones mid-May. This trend runs especially rampant in the transitional times between seasons. The solution to this unpredictability is simple: layers. The short-sleeved shirt + cardigan + jacket combo has never failed me yet. Though it may seem tempting to skip straight to the sweater on a cold, November morning, resist the urge! You’ll thank me when you see your friends slow-roasting in wool by noon.
Keys, JCard, Umbrella. Leaving your dorm room without an umbrella is as taboo as leaving without your JCard. Have one permanently taking up residence if your backpack. The one time you forget it will be the one time you blow-dry your jeans before your next class.
And the best piece of advice I could ever give:
Learn to love your seasons. I’ll admit I have some home-field advantage in this department; I never really had to learn to love anything about Baltimore, because it’s my home. But I’d be lying if I told you that there was never a time when I wished I could snap my fingers and be somewhere else (like back to the Virgin Islands after stepping out into a twelve-degree Baltimore January), somewhere that felt like seventies-spring year-round, where puffy coats were as good as outlawed and no one had even the slightest excuse to put on an Ugg boot.
But I know I’d miss the strongly-felt seasons of Baltimore. Who can really appreciate those perfect, sunny spring days without enduring some sweltering heat or icy slush? And I think I’d even mourn those as well. Each year, I get the ideal weather for jumping in a pool, pile of leaves, or bank of snow. After living in a place like Maryland, everywhere else, at least from a strictly meteorological standpoint, seems kind of boring. So learn to embrace the fun that comes with a little uncertainty. Because regardless of the temperature or the season, Baltimore really is beautiful year-round, rain or shine, snow or sleet. And I’m only a little bit biased.