Snow, sleet, freezing rain are heading our way, weather service says

January 03, 1994|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Staff Writer Gregory P. Kane contributed to this story.

Bad weather -- snow, sleet and freezing rain -- is heading our way, says the National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

A winter storm warning has been issued for central Maryland and northern sections, including the Baltimore metropolitan area.

A spokesman for the weather service at BWI said this morning that snow from the Shenandoah Valley was "spreading into Frederick County. Hagerstown called and said they were getting some light stuff. We're also getting a lower cloud deck, which indicates the potential for precipitation to start any time."

Winds of 15 to 20 mph are expected eventually to cause some drifting, making driving difficult.

"The commute home will be tricky," the spokesman said.

"We're advising people to plan ahead and take it easy. The roads will only get worse."

Earlier, forecasters said the precipitation would begin in the city and surrounding areas this afternoon as light snow. The weather service said the snow would get heavier after 3 p.m., with 1 to 3 inches expected by 6 p.m. The snow then is to change to sleet and freezing rain. A low temperature of 30 was expected in the evening, the weather service said.

Accumulations and the severity of the storm depend on its track up the coast. The weather conditions are the sort that often result in a heavy snowfall -- warm, moist air from the south colliding with frigid air from the north and northwest.

Likely to continue into tomorrow, the storm is then expected to head toward New England.

Before it leaves, however, it is expected to leave in its wake icy roads, poor driving conditions, long lines at food stores and thousands of children hoping for extra time away from school.

The storm, moving up from the Gulf of Mexico, was expected to dump 12 to 18 inches of snow on the Appalachians and create icy road conditions from western North Carolina through southern New England.

The snow could leave up to 12 inches in the central Pennsylvania mountains, and 4 inches of freezing rain on Philadelphia, the weather service said.

Road crews from Baltimore and surrounding counties have been alerted and were to report to their stations early to get a jump on the storm.

There is reportedly enough road salt to spread around, area police said.

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