Icy blast brings state snow that sticks

St. Mary's County gets an inch of accumulation

metro area expects share

January 19, 2000|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

About an inch of snow fell in St. Mary's County yesterday evening, while flurries dusted Central Maryland in a frigid weather pattern that is expected to bring this winter's first accumulation of snow to the metropolitan area by early tomorrow morning.

Minor traffic accidents were widespread, particularly in Prince George's County, where a snow emergency plan was in effect yesterday afternoon. Montgomery and St. Mary's counties also went to snow emergency plans and state highway trucks were salting roads. No serious injuries were reported.

"Except for St. Mary's County, it was barely enough to matter," said Dewey Walston, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. "Snow will develop after midnight [tonight], continue [tomorrow] morning and end about noon. We'll have some accumulation. We just don't know how much."

Walston said frigid air was pouring into the Middle Atlantic region from the Northern Plains and would remain for at least the next five days, probably longer.

Yesterday's high temperature was 23 degrees, recorded in mid-afternoon at Maryland Science Center at the Inner Harbor. A low of 11 degrees was recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 4 a.m. High temperatures for this time of year are typically in the mid-40s.

"There will be plenty of cold air in place and any precipitation will fall as snow Wednesday night and Thursday," said Walston. "We'll stay in this cold pattern for the next five to 10 days."

BWI has recorded no measureable snow this winter. An especially white winter has not occurred since 1996, which set a record with 62 inches of snow. Only four storms since then have delivered more than 3 inches and none more than 5.8 inches.

In Annapolis yesterday, dry snow began in the late afternoon, sticking as fast as it fell, with about a quarter-inch accumulating by evening. The dusting slowed rush-hour traffic and made footing slippery for pedestrians in the state capital.

As the snow continued steadily in the afternoon, State House grounds crews broke out motorized sweepers to brush it from sidewalks and threw snow-melting chemicals onto pavement around the complex.

Sun staff writers William F. Zorzi Jr. and Frank Roylance contributed to this article.

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