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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/18/2008

My Weather: The Bind by the Bay

By Jason Samenow

April 5 Wedding in St. Michaels, Md.

Katie Swanson (left) is a defense contractor and Phil Lepanto (right) does technology and communication consulting. The couple lives in Mt. Pleasant.

A crippling storm brought Katie Swanson and Phil Lepanto closer together, but the couple would prefer peace from the heavens when they join in matrimony along the Chesapeake Bay in just a few weeks.

The couple met at a neighborhood bar in Mt. Pleasant called the Bella Roma (it's now called Tonic) on Valentine's night in 2003. They got to talking and Katie gave Phil her number. Phil called her later that Saturday and invited her to come over to watch the Simpson's 300th episode airing the next day, which just happened to coincide with the Blizzard of 2003.

With the snow starting to pile up, Katie called Sunday to say she would still come over, but would need a ride. Phil brought her over.

By the time the snow ended and the couple had gotten know each other a little better, it was 11 p.m and a foot and a half of snow was on the ground. Phil tried to drive her home, but his car didn't have the ground clearance over the freshly fallen snow to make it more than a couple feet down the alley. Katie stayed over on the couch and Phil walked her home the next day. They've been together ever since and will marry April 5.

The couple's rehearsal dinner location is open air with only a roof and their preferred wedding location, under the Hooper Strait Lighthouse, is also partially exposed to the elements.

The couple wants to avoid strong winds, low temperatures and/or rain. What are the chances mother nature will deliver?

Not great.

Although average high temperatures in the region* are in the comfortable low 60s in early April, just 27 out of 77 days on April 5 (their wedding day) since 1930 have exceeded 60 degrees and recorded less than 0.10" of rain. That's just a 0.360 batting average for days that are both mild (if we call anything at or above 60 mild) and dry. So most of the time it's been wet and/or cool. Snow has even been observed on four days. Wind data isn't available, but given St. Michaels' location on the Bay, it wouldn't make the picture any rosier.

How cold can it get? The coldest day occurred in 1940 when the high was only 40, the low 30 and a trace of snow fell.

On the plus side, it can be pleasantly warm and fortunately, not hot. The record high of 83 was set in 1942. And 11 out 77 days have hit 70 or higher so there's a fighting chance it will be quite mild.

Rainfall of more than 0.10" has fallen on 17% of days. The wettest day occurred in 1957, when 1.14" fell.

The good news for this couple is that no more than 0.08" of rain has fallen in a single day on April 5 in the last 18 years, so maybe the dry streak will continue. Perhaps Katie and Phil filled their romantic weather quota for inclement conditions on their first date and the Hooper Strait Lighthouse will signal all-clear on April 5, 2008...

Do you have a big event coming up in your life or that you're planning for which you need to know the most likely weather scenario and the range of possibilities? The event could be a wedding, reunion, Bar Mitzvah, golf outing, company picnic, etc. Email us and we'll consider doing a custom weather assessment for you and your event right here on the Capital Weather Gang blog!

In your email, indicate why the weather plays a major role in your event, talk about the event's significance, and if possible, include a photo or two. Indicate whether you're looking for a general outlook which gives the range of possible weather outcomes well in advance (weeks/months) or a detailed forecast right before (within three to five days of) your event. The earlier you submit your request, the better.

*Climatological data used for this analysis originates from Reagan National Airport (DCA), the closest location to St. Michaels west of the Bay with long-term records. Like St. Michaels, DCA is on a body of water and is about at the same latitude.

By Jason Samenow  | March 18, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  My Weather  
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Japanese tradition: Rain on one's wedding day is supposed to ensure good luck.

The Bay can do funny things, such as intensify tornadoes in and around La Plata. This is what happend in late April a few years ago.

Posted by: El Bombo | March 18, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to you both! What are your "capital weather gang" names?

Posted by: Kalorama Park | March 18, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to you! My thought is St. Michael's is beautiful and romantic even when it's dreary. And I second El Bombo-rain is supposed to be good luck! Many happy returns, regardless!

Posted by: dinergirl | March 18, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Relating somewhat to El Bombo's comment about the bay affecting weather...a west wind on the eastern shore of the bay can cause a pretty significant temperature difference from areas inland. I know here in Arnold our temps can be 5-10 degrees cooler when we have an east wind(coming off the bay) in the early spring. Congrats and good luck!

Posted by: arnoldkh | March 18, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Too bad about the odds, but hey - it was bad weather that played a part in their getting together, why fear some more?

Posted by: Don | March 18, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the congratulations and best wishes. They must have paid off!

We arrived in St. Michaels on Wednesday evening. According to the locals, the Easterly winds were brining in a lot of clouds, rain and cold air. We had a cookout for some family and friends that arrived the next evening and I was grilling in the rain.

On Friday the weather broke and by 3pm, it was sunny and 65. I actually got a little sunburn on my face. We had a great welcome dinner for all of our guests right on the water.

Saturday was a bit more overcast and a bit more windy. Most guests were a bit chilly during the ceremony, but we were glad for the cool breezes after the dance floor heated up.

By the time the bars shut down, the weather had changed again to cold and rainy.

Thanks again for all the help!


Posted by: lepanto | April 6, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

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