Due tonight, storm could drop plenty


February 25, 1993|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer Staff writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

Marylanders are bracing for another attack of winter tonight. A slow-moving storm system approaching from the Southwest is expected to cover the state with snow.

Officially, the National Weather Service is calling for an 80 percent chance of snow in the metropolitan area. The snow is expected to develop late tonight or early tomorrow morning and continue throughout most of the day.

The Weather Service held off on predicting accumulations in inches, but forecaster Amet Figueroa said early today that it could be the area's biggest snow of the season -- bigger, at least, than Sunday's 4.2 inches at his Baltimore-Washington International Airport monitoring station, if not matching the 7 to 8 inches in some of the suburbs.

Area hardware stores reported increased sales of salt and shovels yesterday, and supermarkets were stocking up on the storm staples that customers line up for in a phenomenon that some people call the "snow panic" -- chiefly bread, milk and toilet tissue.

Unlike some winter storm forecasts in Chesapeake Bay country, the weatherman would not predict the amount of precipitation.

Temperatures will be well below freezing when the storm arrives, but the accumulation will depend on the track taken by the storm, Mr. Figueroa said, noting that computer models last night called for two scenarios -- one to the north, the other to the south.

If you love snow, root for the southern track.

Moist air off the coast of North Carolina and warm air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico will influence the amount of snowfall.

But either way, snow is likely to fall across the state -- from Oakland to Ocean City and St. Mary's City to Rising Sun.

While the weather service held off on talking in inches, TV weathermen went to head to head last night with their views:

* On WMAR-TV (Channel 2), Norm Lewis put his shovel on the line with a prediction of "at least 8 inches."

* On WJZ (Channel 13), Bob Turk backed away from an evening call of 6 inches, and downgraded the storm's likely severity with a prediction of 2 to 4 inches.

* On WBAL (Channel 11), Tom Tasselmyer predicted 3 to 6 inches, adding that it is "a close call" on a big storm.

* On WBFF (Channel 45), Len Johnson offered two possibilities -- 2 to 5 inches, or up to a foot, depending on the track of the storm.

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