Twice the snow, twice the fun

Weather: For many in the area, snow from the second storm in two days offered the perfect Saturday amusement.

December 07, 2003|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

A winter storm, billed as the second half of a one-two punch, delivered a softer blow than many expected yesterday, offering up a powdery snow that brought few new problems and some opportunities for fun.

The storm lived up to the lower end of its forecast totals, depositing 3.3 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and 4 to 5 inches around most of the rest of the area Friday night and yesterday morning, the National Weather Service said. Drifts were deeper farther north, with Harford County getting 6 to 8 inches in the second round.

That all came on top of the 6 to 9 inches of snow on the ground from Friday's storm in some areas but was the first accumulation for other areas, including the southern half of Anne Arundel County.

The accidents, delays and commuting hassles brought by the first snow weren't repeated during the second, which landed on a day off for most people.

Constellation Energy Group, the parent company of Baltimore Gas and Electric, reported that about 300 customers were without power yesterday, mostly because of downed tree limbs in northern Baltimore County.

BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean reported "business as usual" at the airport. Some travelers there experienced delays or cancellations because of problems at other airports along the East Coast where snow was heavier, Dean said.

Amtrak officials said they had delays of no more than an hour in the Mid-Atlantic region and no cancellations.

Baltimore-area police departments reported the usual number of fender-benders and no serious accidents. But on the Eastern Shore there was a flurry of morning fender-benders, and a car carrying firefighters to help with another accident was involved in a crash on U.S. 50.

The second half of the storm came yesterday morning, when many people could enjoy the winter landscape instead of having to get to work. Kids seemed to have the best time.

The three Spears brothers trudged though foot-deep drifts before 9 a.m., hunting for shoveling jobs in their quiet Lutherville cul-de-sac. "Three dollars!" announced 10-year-old Jack to an inquiring neighbor as ice formed on his wool cap.

"How about $2?" said Jack's brother, Stephen, 6, before the prospective client could respond.

Dogs, parents and children with apple cheeks dotted the slopes of Wyman Park Dell in the shadow of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Christopher Gardner, 36, chose a hill with just the right gentle slope for his boys, Oliver, 5, and Lukas, 3. Gardner, decked out in a bright yellow jacket and pants, aimed a digital camera as Lukas spun down the hill on an orange plastic saucer.

Linda Dusman and Susan McCully, who live near the Gardners in Charles Village, brought a thermos of cocoa and granola bars for their son, Sam Dusman, and his friends.

Nearby, Jacob Hartman, 6, had something else to munch on. "We won't have to eat lunch," he said, sampling a snowball. "We'll be full on snow."

Next to Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, Tristan Rynn, her daughter Fauston, 6, and several of the girl's cousins had spread snow back over a paved path that had been plowed by the Columbia Association, creating a smooth slide with a built-in bump at the end for their red, blue and yellow plastic saucers.

Fauston cried after going airborne over the bump, but her 7-year-old cousin Weston Rynn-Mason said that's the part he likes the best.

Across the concrete dam that created the lake, Joy Marshall 47, was the only adult sliding down a longer hill. "I enjoy it," she said, smiling sheepishly. "I'm having a good time with my son and his friends."

The storm brought economic winners and losers. Charles Green, 30, was earning $75 for plowing a Wendy's parking lot in Cockeysville, a job that took about 20 minutes.

But just up York Road, David Shapiro was suffering. He runs Sports, a cavernous entertainment center where, according to its motto, "summer never ends." Except for a small birthday party, his center - and its miniature golf course, batting cages and climbing wall - was empty.

In downtown Annapolis, which mostly escaped Friday's snowfall, some businesses felt the brunt of yesterday's storm. "The snow definitely did slow down the walk-in business," said Brice Phillips, assistant general manager of Phillips Seafood Restaurant at Annapolis Harbor. Yesterday, the lunch crowd was down about 75 percent, he said, and only about half of the usual dinner crowd showed up.

White Marsh Mall was bustling, though. "When the snow stopped, the crowds came," said Jessica Bloom, a mall manager. By about 2:45 p.m., she said, there were more people at the mall than on a typical Saturday.

Digging out to get to places such as the mall was less painful because it was the weekend.

In Baltimore, some pedestrians took advantage of the sparse traffic to walk in the streets, braving danger and slush from passing cars to save their shoes.

"You have to be careful. But you just really have to walk in the street," said Mark Mitchell, 47, a clockmaker headed without boots toward his shop on Read Street. "It's the only place you have dry land."

Neighbors helped each other create more passable spaces. In the 2800 block of Harford Road, John Fleetwood shoveled the walk in front of his rowhouse, then helped Shirley Pretto down the street.

"I help everybody," said the 55-year-old man, sprinkling salt from a cup.

Fleetwood won't necessarily have to repeat his good deed too often this year. Howard Silverman, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the early snow does not mean a severe storm season will follow.

Sun staff writers Julie Bykowicz, Larry Carson, Frank Langfitt and Matt Whittaker contributed to this article.

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