Storm drops up to 5 inches of snow in Baltimore area

Some places could see nearly 2 feet of accumulation from weekend system

February 03, 2010|By Brent Jones | | Baltimore Sun reporter

Up to 5 inches of snow fell overnight in downtown Baltimore and the surrounding area, keeping work crews up as they cleared major roadways.

The snow began subsiding about 1 a.m. Wednesday as the storm headed northeast, but the National Weather Service forecast office in Sterling, Va., this afternoon posted a winter storm watch for nearly all of Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay, warning of the possibility of more than a foot of snow — and "a good chance" for more than 20 inches in some places — by Saturday.

Essex recorded 5.3 inches of snow Wednesday, among the highest totals in the state, while Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport had about 1.5 inches.

Interstate 95 and other major roadways were cleared before rush hour.

Anne Arundel County closed its public schools Wednesday, while Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Howard and Harford counties delayed school openings by at least two hours. Temperatures were expected to climb near 40 degrees as the day wore on.

"At this point, our operations are looking at wrapping up this storm first," said weather service meteorologist Howard Silverman. "But all signs look like a storm late Friday for Saturday. And it has the potential for some accumulation."

The weather service said in its winter storm watch that the next round of snow would begin by late morning on Friday and continue through Saturday evening. Temperatures late Friday and Saturday were forecast to be in the upper 20s to 30 degrees.

Adrienne Barnes, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Transportation, said 125 city vehicles were put into service Tuesday as the snow began to fall and were plowing or salting main roadways and interstates. She said the city still had $1.2 million in its budget for snow removal and treatment.

"We'll be out there all night and this morning," Barnes said.

Mariska Jordan, spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration, said statewide there were nearly 1,500 snow removal and salting pieces of equipment pressed into service. She said SHA personnel monitor some 100 statewide cameras, directing equipment as the need arises. Like the city, state crews expected to work into midmorning, she said.

Baltimore Sun reporters Frank D. Roylance and Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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