Practice Makes Perfect As County Cleans Up Snow

Removal Budget Remains Ready For Next Storm

January 13, 1991|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

As the season's fourth winter storm turned rainy Friday afternoon, Anne Arundel road workers said they should have plenty of money, manpower, salt and sand to last until spring.

Friday's storm, which dumped about 2 inches of powdery snow followed by sleet, freezing rain and rain across the Baltimore region, left county road crews with halfof their $390,000 snow removal budget, said Fred Glaeser, acting chief of road operations with the Department of Public Works.

"We're running pretty normal," Glaeser said. "When you're guessing the weather you never know, but at this point we're not concerned or excited."

State Highway Administration workers in Anne Arundel said their snow removal budget also is in good shape.

Not counting Friday's storm, only about $250,000 to $300,000 of their $800,000 snow removal budget had been used, said Russell Yates, resident maintenance engineer for the SHA in Anne Arundel County.

The cost of Friday's storm will not be calculated until Monday, Yates said, noting that it was less severe than either last Monday's snowfall or last Tuesday's treacherous freezing rain. An average storm costs $50,000 to $100,000, he said.

Friday's storm ranked "pretty average, or on the low side of average," said Amet Figueroa, a forecaster with the National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

A dry, powdery snow started falling fast about 3:45 a.m. at the airport, he said, with high winds blowing the white stuff and reducing visibility.

"With the wind blowing, the snow appeared much heavier than it actually was," Figueroa said.

The snow accumulated about 2 inches before turning to sleet and freezing rain at 9:15 a.m. By about2 p.m., the temperature had risen to freezing, and the precipitationturned to rain.

"This storm was not too much to deal with," Glaeser said.

County and state road crews, expecting the snowfall, werewaiting when the first flakes fell.

"The secret to fighting snow is getting a good shot of salt down first thing. We were ahead of thestorm, and that really helped us," Yates said.

Rush-hour traffic was slow, but there were no serious problems, police reported.

County police responded to 31 traffic accidents -- all between 6 and 8:30 a.m. -- with six people suffering minor injuries. They also helped 17 motorists having car trouble during the storm.

Anne Arundel Public Schools closed Friday -- the first weather-related closing of thewinter. The school system has three "snow days" left.

Forecasterswere not predicting any more snow, sleet or freezing rain through the next several days.

Temperatures were expected to be in the upper30s and lower 40s Saturday as the storm moved out to sea.

Cooler temperatures and clear skies are expected today.

The county employs 200 and the state 125 Anne Arundel snow removal workers.

Snow removal budgets include money for salt, sand, plowing and overtime for roads workers, plus money to hire private contractors during especially severe storms.

Should the county run short of snow removal money, funds would be transferred from other sections of the public works department, Glaeser said.

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