Winter not over just yet

February 23, 1994|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writer

The snow that fell early today was obviously not a storm accompanied by arctic-like temperatures, but it was enough to remind everyone, especially motorists in the Baltimore area, that it's still winter.

Last weekend's pleasant conditions may now seem a distant memory.

Today's snow also gave students in Harford County another day off as hazardous driving conditions there persuaded authorities to close the schools today.

Also closing today were schools in Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties. Anne Arundel County schools opened two hours late.

The National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport predicted an accumulation of between one and three inches but said the snow was expected to change to rain -- heavy at times -- by early afternoon.

Some runoff due to the frozen ground was expected to cause flooding in low-lying areas.

As early as 4 a.m., a full complement of city road crews manning 124 dump 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 city Department of Public Works spokeswoman Vanessa Pyatt.

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

At the same time, phase 1 of the snow emergency plan was put into effect in Baltimore, Howard, Frederick and Carroll counties, as police prepared for rush-hour accidents due to slippery driving conditions. Other jurisdictions were expected to follow as conditions dictate.

Interstates 695, 95, 70 and 97 were slushy but in good shape, police said.

State Police in Carroll, Harford and Howard counties reported that roads were covered with snow by 5:30 a.m. but that they were passable and road crews were spreading salt.

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

Road surfaces were cold enough in many areas to allow the snow to stick. Many downtown city streets remained wet.

The National Weather Service originally called for the snow to change to sleet and then freezing rain before turning to all rain. But an update around 5 a.m. predicted the snow would change to all rain.

A high of 48 degrees is expected today.

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