Snow won't be blowing on balmy weekend

January 03, 1997


Staff Writer

The temperature reached 55 degrees Thursday and weather forecasters were predicting Washington County's spring-like weather will continue into the weekend with highs expected in the low to mid-60s today.

The weather has been so balmy that it's hard to remember that county residents were bracing for one of the worst storms of the century nearly a year ago. But Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Gary Spielman remembers well - he was stuck in the snow after working until midnight last Jan. 7.

"The first time I ever got stuck in my four-wheel-drive vehicle was in that storm," Spielman said Thursday.

Spielman said he got a hand from a neighbor, who plowed a path through his development at about 1 a.m.

"I went to bed and figured I had it made," he said. "When I woke up the next morning, I was sadly mistaken. The snow had drifted back and it was like he had never been there."


Spielman, along with thousands of stranded people throughout the county, logged many hours with the shovel that morning.

Before it ended, the storm dumped 35 inches of snow. Four days later, residents had another 10 inches to deal with.

The storm closed schools and businesses, claimed lives in Pennsylvania, disrupted the mail and shut down major highways.

The National Weather Service predicts it will be partly cloudy today with highs in the 60s. Saturday will bring more of the same, with highs in the low to mid-50s and a slight chance of rain on Sunday with highs ranging from 55 to 60 degrees, forecasters predict.

"It's a little bit different than last year - so far, anyway," Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer said.

All Bob Hernbon remembers from the first week of January of 1996 is that he was busy - extremely busy. Hernbon, assistant manager of the County Market on West Hillcrest Road, said he was working feverishly to meet the demand of customers who were preparing for the storm.

"That's just it - busy," he said. "We kept our shelves pretty stocked."

When the storm did hit, Hernbon was one many people throughout the region who was unable to get to work the next day.

But county residents might not want to trade in their snow shovels for suntan lotion just yet.

Hernbon vowed not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency.

"I think we'll get hit," he said. "There's five weeks in January."

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