Postmortem on the blizzard of '96 Winners and losers: Some areas coped better than others against two-punch storm.

January 16, 1996

CURRIER AND IVES didn't endure the Blizzard of '96 in Maryland or chances are they would not have viewed great gobs of snow in such favorable light. What follows is a thumbnail rundown, by jurisdiction, of who fared best and worst:

Baltimore City: Its effort was strong on self-congratulatory TV hype, weak on performance. Despite declaring an unprecedented "Stage 3" snow emergency, Public Works Director George Balog's crews failed to enforce a parking ban on snow routes. And while Mr. Balog cited high percentages of streets cleared, visual inspection showed scant progress in far too many neighborhoods.

Baltimore County: Had County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III been on the tube any longer, he would have been issued a pointer and a weather map. He prepared better than did his predecessor, although a number of communities seemed to have been ignored. Complaints ran high in rural North County.

Anne Arundel: Some of the sharpest grousing came yesterday, when Superintendent Carol S. Parham announced that schools would open late at least until Thursday. Hers was a prudent decision, however, because some of the same folks decrying the state of the roads hadn't shoveled their own sidewalks. That would have forced children to walk in the street to catch school buses, some before sunrise. Other systems were also opening late today.

Carroll County: Major roads were passable within a day or so, but the eight towns were stymied for a place to dump all the plowed snow. It took days to clear Route 77 to Detour, which some swear got 42 inches on Jan. 7-8.

Harford County: Major roads were good, but some secondary roads could barely accommodate two passing cars as late as yesterday.

Howard County: Dub it the curse of the cul-de-sac. While crews smoothed major roadways, many residents couldn't escape from their beloved (and unplowed) dead-end streets.

One last dig: The Maryland Motor Truck Association Inc. talks up its improved safety record, but interstate travelers wouldn't know it. Tractor-trailers Friday were running right up the backs of motorists, who feared changing lanes quickly in snow. In fact, all drivers must take extra time these next few days. Passing widths and visibility are still greatly reduced.

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