Don't bother patting yourself on the back if you made it through yesterday's snowstorm with only minor hassles and your temper intact. Things may get uglier today as temperatures fall and another storm system moves into the region.
"Maryland's getting hit for a change," said Fred Davis, chief meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Baltimore got 4 inches of snow yesterday while Westminster, Parkton and Bel Air got 7 inches. Garrett County bore the brunt of the storm with accumulations of 8 to 10 inches.
The weather service had already posted a winter storm watch for today by the time yesterday's snow was tapering off to flurries at evening rush hour.
Forecasters expect a low pressure system from the Southwest to bring more snow, possibly 2 to 4 inches this afternoon, Mr. Davis said. Temperatures dropped into the 20s last night and the high temperature today was expected to be around freezing, which could make wet roads icy.
People who braved yesterday's storm found road conditions better than expected.
"I really didn't have any second thoughts about coming to work," said Rosemary Logan, who estimated it took 40 minutes to drive from her house in Jarrettsville to her job in Bel Air. "The roads were very slick. But this isn't bad weather. It's really soft snow. It's the ice that's bad. If it freezes, then I'll have second thoughts."
The snow prompted 10 Maryland school systems to close, including Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Anne Arundel County and Baltimore schools opened, but closed early.
The weather also caused some delays at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where runways were closed for an hour in the morning and in the afternoon while crews cleared snow.
About 21,700 households and businesses lost power as the wet, heavy snow pulled down trees onto electrical lines, particularly in northern Baltimore County, Carroll, Howard and Harford counties, said Arthur J.Slusark, a spokesman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. About 1,100 remained without power last night, but all were expected to have their electricity restored by early this morning.
Dozens of minor accidents kept police busy during the morning rush hour. But the snow melted as soon as it hit major roads. Many people stayed home from work, keeping traffic snarls to a minimum.
But slick roads contributed to a major accident that closed Interstate 70 for more than five hours.
A tractor-trailer traveling west on I-70 overturned about noon near Bethany Lane in Howard County, state police in Waterloo said. The truck was moving too fast for road conditions, police said. The driver, Shawn Barnett, 27, of Kansas City, Kan., was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he was in serious, stable condition last night. Mr. Barnett's wife, Barbara, 27, received minor injuries.
Anne Arundel County police reported more than 40 accidents and came to the aid of more than 35 motorists who were stranded by the weather since 6:45 a.m. yesterday.
Of course, not everyone was worrying about getting rid of the snow.
For Darren Pastrana, 2, of Edgewater, and his sister Kimberly, 4, the first snowstorm of 1991 was paradise on a red toboggan. How good was it? Twice, Darren lost both his blue boots midway down the snowy hillside at Rolling Knolls Elementary School near Annapolis.
In Western Maryland, the snowfall raised hopes that a slow skiing season would pick up.
Jerry Geisler, operations manager at WISP Ski Area, said the latest snowfall was better for skiing conditions than the 16 inches they got on Dec. 27 and 28.
"The first snowfall melted right away, but this one looks like it will stick around for a while," he said. "Right now we have the best ski conditions of the season so far."