Winter not over just yet

February 23, 1994|By Melody Simmons and Richard Irwin | Melody Simmons and Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writers

The snow that fell early today wasn't a storm accompanied by arctic-like temperatures, but it was enough to remind everyone -- especially morning motorists -- that it's still winter.

What began in the wee hours of morning as wet, pasty snow evolved after dawn into sleet and heavy rain.

A flood warning was posted for Baltimore and for all northern Maryland counties by the National Weather Service's regional office at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Heavy rain was expected to continue to fall until around 8 a.m. tomorrow. Because the ground is saturated from previous storms, the heavy rain could cause flooding.

School systems in Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties gave students another day off because of hazardous driving conditions.

Anne Arundel County schools opened two hours late, and city schools opened on time.

Snow was heavier to the north and west of Baltimore, where a storm warning was in effect. The Eastern Shore reported primarily rain.

The morning's commuters to downtown Baltimore reported slow, tedious going, but unlike this year's earlier sleet-and-freezing-rain nightmares, today's driving was hampered far more by extremely slushy, sloppy road conditions and poor visibility .

Frederick had 5 inches of snow this morning while 3 inches fell in Owings Mills, said Fred Davis, chief meteorologist for the weather service at BWI. In southern Pennsylvania, up to 8 inches of snow fell.

The temperatures, however, were expected to climb into the 40s by the end of the day, Mr. Davis said.

Nevertheless, a city public works spokeswoman said that as early as 4 a.m., a full complement of city road crews in 124 trucks began spreading salt and abrasives and plowing the main roadways, including the slushy Jones Falls Expressway all the way to the Baltimore County line, where state road crews took over.

"We started early to get a jump on the weather in anticipation of problems during the rush hour," said Vanessa Pyatt, Department of Public Works spokeswoman.

Road crews from surrounding counties also were out well before dawn.

At the same time, snow emergency plans were put into effect in Baltimore, Howard, Frederick and Carroll counties .

Interstates 695, 95, 70 and 97 were slushy, but traffic on them kept moving, police said.

One Baltimore policeman described the slushy conditions on city streets as "driving through oatmeal."

Rain and and possible thunderstorms are expected overnight and into tomorrow, said the NWS.

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