With visions of last week's springlike weather still fresh in their minds, Marylanders braced for the brutal return of winter as an overnight storm was expected to make for a slippery commute in the Baltimore region.
The storm, which began Monday evening with sleet and rain, was expected to turn to heavy snow overnight and dump 4 inches to 8 inches throughout the area, said Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's forecasting office in Sterling, Va.
"If you don't have to go out, it's best not to," he said.
The National Weather Service issued a 12-hour winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Tuesday for a good chunk of northern Maryland, from Garrett County all the way east to Harford County and parts of the Eastern Shore. The warning includes Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties.
Emergency officials warned travelers to stay off the roads Monday night and check conditions in the morning before getting behind the wheel. The Maryland Highway Administration spent Monday preparing with salt, plows and crews to work through the storm.
"Our crews will work throughout the night, but depending on when it stops snowing, all routes may not be completely cleared by morning rush hour," said highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen. "Please check conditions before driving in the morning and allow extra travel time."
Ice and wet snow could weigh down tree limbs already weakened from last week's windstorm, increasing the potential for power outages. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. advised customers it would be monitoring the storm closely.
There is a bit of good news: Forecasters called for a sunny rest of the week, with temperatures reaching the 40s on Wednesday and into the 50s on Thursday and Friday.