County by county, the battle against the snow goes on

January 10, 1996|By Andrea F. SiegelSun staff writers James M. Coram, Ed Heard, Howard Libit and Alisa Samuels contributed to this article. | Andrea F. SiegelSun staff writers James M. Coram, Ed Heard, Howard Libit and Alisa Samuels contributed to this article.,SUN STAFF SUN STAFF SUN STAFF SUN STAFF SUN STAFF

The emergency operations headquarters in Crownsville fielded more than 1,000 calls yesterday morning from Anne Arundel County residents without medicine or heat -- and from some who were simply stir-crazy, demanding faster snow removal.

"It could be the end of this week before we get to some of these cul de sacs," said Lisa Ritter, county spokeswoman.

Three people in the county have from heart attacks as a result of shoveling snow.

Dr. Joseph A. Halpern, associate director at Anne Arundel Medical Center, said people who shovel snow should keep some things in mind: They were younger during the last big storm, they must pace themselves, and lifting in cold weather is harder than it seems.

The medical center's emergency room staff was beefed up yesterday afternoon as doctors expected a rash of patients with back injuries, broken bones and heart ailments. On Monday, one man came in who had been hit by a commercial snow plow.

Marina operators and people who live on their boats also had their hands full contending with this week's snow. At Liberty Yacht Club, on the South River, 10 workers with shovels worked to clear docks and open the road.

Bubblers were churning at most marinas, bringing warm water to the surface to prevent marinas from freezing.

The snow has made Paul Lumpkin, one of nine hardy souls who live on their boats year-round at the marina, a popular man. Without asking, the lucky 45-year-old engineer got a four-wheel drive Nissan Pathfinder as a loaner car last week when he took his car in for servicing. "I've been ferrying the other live-aboards around," said Mr. Lumpkin.

At Herrington Harbor North on Herring Bay, Michael Laing couldn't suppress a bit of jealousy over the good fortune of his wife, Susannah.

"She is in Florida crewing on a boat. I'm jealous," said Mr. Laing, who stayed with the family's boat. "They are complaining about the 60-degree weather."

For emergencies a step down from a 911 call, the operations center can be reached at 222-8040.

Call it the rural version of shoveling a neighbor's sidewalk. The Rice family was snowbound in their northern Baltimore County home for two days -- until about noon yesterday, when a maintenance supervisor from a nearby nursery plowed their stretch of Gunpowder Road.

"He does that for us all the time," said Jeff Rice, 36, a paramedic with the county fire department. "It's not even a barter system. There's no money exchanged. Nobody expects a favor the next time. You just help people out."

The plowing by Mike Ashwood, the Hillcrest Nursery worker, was welcome help to the county road crews that struggled yesterday to open rural roads covered with heavy snowdrifts.

The impact of the blizzard -- and yesterday's new snow -- was felt throughout the county. Police chief Michael D. Gambrill said complaint calls were at an ebb, with only 30 countywide Sunday and Monday. Thirty-five detention center trustees were being used to shovel out police precincts, enabling police to put more cars on the streets. And a county council work session scheduled for yesterday was rescheduled for today.

As in other areas, road crews in the north county were slowed by frequent requests to help emergency vehicles get to their calls. If that wasn't enough, crews yesterday even had to move snow to help a Freeland farmer get to his barn and get water to his thirsty cows.

Even on roads that were open, driving could be perilous. Two county police officers were injured after their patrol vehicle collided head-on yesterday morning with a pickup truck near the Pennsylvania border. And on Interstate 83, a tractor-trailer jackknifed shortly after 1:30 p.m., closing one lane of traffic and the ramp to Mount Carmel Road for about two hours.

As snow fell yesterday, a volunteer fire company answering a call drove east on Middletown Road yesterday with an engine, an ambulance -- and a firefighter on a snowmobile. It wasn't the only snowmobile in the area. Tom Phillips, a mechanic at Meadowcroft Motors in Middletown, said he'd been cruising the area, but had at times gotten stuck.

"When it's too deep for a snowmobile, that's pretty deep," he said.

Jay Apperson Nothing wider than a pickup truck is getting through the deep snow in Manchester, and that suits Mayor Elmer C. Lippy fine.

In the rush to remove snow, town crews found it easier to mount equipment on smaller trucks and plow to pickup width. The method prevents two-way traffic along streets, which, the mayor said, now look like "the other side of the moon."

The eight towns in Carroll County are struggling to remove snow even as they wipe out their storm budgets.

In Westminster, work crews had "between 95 and 99 percent" of the city's 50 miles of streets open to at least one lane of traffic, said Thomas B. Beyard, city public works director.

In Sykesville, the maintenance workers reported early Sunday and stayed through Monday evening. Six men operated three pieces of equipment until one truck died and fatigue overwhelmed the drivers.

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