Heavy snow forecast does not stir panic Survivors of blizzard say they'll take it in stride

February 02, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Rafael Alvarez contributed to this article.

Weather forecasters are predicting a storm that will drop more than half a foot of snow on central Maryland today and tomorrow, but survivors of the Blizzard of '96 are refusing to panic.

"Sure it's going to be a pain in the you know what, but there's not much you can do about it," said Robert Bosse of Towson, reflecting an attitude of many that bordered on the blase.

After the last storm, Mr. Bosse was compelled to reserve the parking space it took him days to dig out with a Rube Goldberg-like contraption of poles, rope and red and white kitchen rags. This time, he expects no trouble.

"I brought my shovels inside so I won't have to trudge outside to get them," he said. "I'll just wait and shovel again."

Between 6 and 10 inches were expected to accumulate by the time the storm runs its course tomorrow, with the heaviest snowfall predicted to come during the day today. Snow already had begun to fall in some areas by early evening yesterday.

"Any other year but this year, it would be considered one of the biggest storms of the season," said Jim Travers, a National Weather Service forecaster at Sterling, Va. "But 6 to 10 inches is nothing to sneeze at."

The storm system, "like all the bad ones," will be coming from the South, sweeping across the Gulf States and then turning up the coast to the Carolinas, the Virginia capes and into New England, Mr. Travers said. "A very typical path that unfortunately this time of year gives us significant snow storms," he said.

Snow removal crews, who worked long hours and took their share of abuse during the blizzard, were rested up for the new onslaught. "I'm not really looking forward to it, but I've got to deal with it," said Brian Canary, who drives a plow in Southeast Baltimore. "I can live with it or I can live without it. Basically, it's just doing the job."

City road crews were scheduled to be on the job by midnight, but Mr. Canary was ready to go in early after watching the 6 p.m. news. "I just heard it started to snow in Timonium, so I'm liable to get a phone call at anytime," he said.

Vanessa Pyatt, a spokeswoman for Baltimore's Department of Public Works, said 400 employees with 180 pieces of equipment would be on the job and work through the night to remove snow.

"I think they recovered" from the last storm, she said. "We've managed to get a lot of rest since the blizzard of '96. They're ready to go again. We've checked out all of our equipment, the fleet's in good condition, so we're ready to go."

Public works budgets were busted everywhere by the last storm, which dropped nearly three feet of snow and nearly paralyzed the state. The latest round will only put them further in the red.

"After the last one, we stopped looking at the pocketbook," said Lisa Ritter, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County, which spent more than $1 million on snow removal for the first time in its history. "It's a service issue, it's not a cost issue."

Still, she wouldn't mind a little relief. "Quite frankly, we'd all be happy to import some Florida weather up here at this point," Ms. Ritter said.

Some people performed such Herculean tasks to cope with the blizzard that anything this storm delivers will pale in comparison. Raymond Sweeney was one of the residents of the 100 block of N. Symington Ave. in Catonsville who pitched in to clear more than 20,000 cubic feet of snow by shovel. Today's snow is hardly worth notice, he said.

"It's a walk in the park, comparatively speaking," he said. "If need be, the neighborhood will get out and do the shoveling job, and shovel the street, the sidewalks and the alleys again."

For 15-year-old Alicia Atkinson of Oakenshawe, the snow will interfere with important plans, and she is hoping she can will it away.

"I don't really think that it's going to snow. I don't want it to rTC snow," she said. "I have a dance tomorrow night and if we don't have school the dance is canceled."

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