Winter Stale? Area Seems To Be Losing Its Fear Of The Flake

February 04, 2010|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,jill.rosen@baltsun.com

Let's face it: When the forecast calls for snow, Marylanders aren't known for their steely reserve.

But this winter, with its broken-record forecasters calling for more and more and more and more, Marylanders seem to be, if not exactly embracing the flakes, learning to shake them off in the style of New Englanders, Minnesotans ... Eskimos.

Even though at least 3 inches of heavy, wet snow fell across Baltimore on Tuesday night - enough to stop the city on other occasions - on Wednesday morning Baltimore got up, laced up its boots, pulled down its hat and got on with it.

Drivers pooh-poohed slushy roads. Office managers barely blinked. Most schools not only opened, but busloads of students from across the region made it to Center Stage for a field trip to see the play "Cyrano."

"The show always goes on," said Julianne Franz, the director of community programs.

This breezy bravado comes from experience - 33.7 inches of experience, to be exact.

"To put that in perspective," says Accu-Weather meteorologist Tom Kines, "in a typical entire winter, Baltimore would see about 18 inches. So we're doing pretty good."

And that's not counting what's brewing for the week's end. A storm that's in Texas now is heading this way, threatening to bring another eight to 12 inches.

Kines says the snow, which should start Friday morning and continue into Saturday, could - "if everything came together just perfect" - wallop the area with 16 to 18 inches.

Blizzard, shmizzard, says Curtis Weaver.

The delivery driver for H.C. Walterhoefer couldn't have been less concerned about Wednesday's snow as he unloaded boxes from his truck, parked alongside a snowy Charles Street curb in Mount Vernon.

"It don't bother me - I was out at 5 a.m. this morning," he said. "The streets might be a little slippery, but once you get moving you're fine."

And the fabled run on milk, bread and toilet paper? At Santoni's Super Market in Highlandtown, no one ran for anything.

"It wasn't like that," said Kathy Sprezian, a clerk who finished her shift at 7 p.m. Tuesday, just when the crazed throngs should have been stripping the shelves bare.

At lunchtime Wednesday, the milk coolers were full; the bread supply looked a little sparse, but there was, after all, a two-for-one sale under way.

Bernard Williams was pushing a cart through the aisles - a cart with all three of the most in-demand items in it - but he insisted it had nothing to do with weather hysteria. The retired carpenter from Monrovia was merely getting some things for his mother, who's sick.

"Oh no, I don't get all excited about that," Williams said of the weather. "I don't even think about it."

Even Geno Carapico, a Hampden retiree and self-described detester of snow, someone who swears he will not suffer a flake, was strolling the sidewalk Wednesday morning, swinging a bag of rolls.

Shouldn't he have been inside, on lockdown?

"That wasn't a big snow," he said with a shrug. "It's almost gone."

At New System Bakery in Hampden, Chris Doiron was icing chocolate cupcakes because, as he put it, a bakery is like the post office: "You got to keep churning it out." And, he added, "I'm from New England, so this isn't really a lot of snow."

"What snow?" chimed in Robert Pizza, who was eating a sandwich at the bakery with his friend, Bryon Newcomer. "We got snow?"

Newcomer figures after all of these storms, even Baltimore people are starting to get the hang of it. During the first big snowfall in December, he said, a young woman got stuck in front of his house. She got out of the car, in sneakers and no socks, and tried to swat her car clean with a broom.

"People are getting used it now," he said. "We're more prepared."

What's on the way

Friday-Saturday forecasts call for more snow, but amounts vary:

* AccuWeather: 7 to 14 inches on Friday, and 1 to 3 more on Saturday

* National Weather Service: 12 or more inches, with a good chance for localized amounts over 20 inches

* Foot's Forecast: 12 to 26 inches

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