Storm's slushy mess snarls morning traffic, closes schools

City, county officials face problem of paying for latest cleanup

February 19, 2000|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

The storm that brought nearly 3 inches of snow to the Baltimore area yesterday -- closing schools and snarling morning traffic -- left the region a wet and sloppy mess by afternoon.

Temperatures rose to the mid-30s yesterday as rain washed much of the snow away.

The temperature today is expected to reach 55 with showers in the morning. Mild weather and clear skies should last through the beginning of next week, the National Weather Service said.

Yesterday's combination of snow and ice hit the region just before the morning rush hour, causing scattered accidents, none of them serious.

Snow emergency plans were in effect in western and central Maryland. Western Maryland saw mostly snow, while the Eastern Shore received a mixture of snow and rain, according to weather service meteorologists.

The snow turned to rain by 10 a.m., leaving roads covered with dirty slush for most of the day.

"It was not a particularly big storm, but it was messy for a while," said Kurt Kocher, a Public Works Department spokesman.

The biggest problem facing city and county officials -- who have spent nearly all of this season's snow-removal budgets on recent storms -- is figuring out how to pay for the latest cleanup.

"Leading into today, we had spent $3.4 million," said Ellen Kobler, spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Department of Public Works. "Our original budget was for $2 million. The County Council is allocating additional funding."

Other counties are turning to contingency funds.

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