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Snow expected today

colder temps on the way

November 30, 1999|By KAREN HANNA

Bundled in hats and scarves with their hands in their pockets, a group of men shifted on their feet, passing time outside Wednesday night before they could find relief at a cold-weather shelter.

Mary Lou Koontz, who was helping log in homeless clients at REACH Caregivers' shelter, said more than 50 people had slept at the West Franklin Street facility during each of the previous two nights. On some nights, people have slept at tables in the dining area, she said.

"We don't turn them away," Koontz said.

Weather forecasters predict winter's first sustained blast of brutally cold temperatures will arrive this weekend, with lows in the single digits and colder. Both Luis Rosa, a National Weather Service meteorologist, and Dave Houk, an AccuWeather forecaster, said Wednesday that snow showers will coat the area today and tonight.

"I think it will be consistently colder than average through the end of next week," Houk said.

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According to a Web site maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer, temperatures only have fallen into the single digits once this season. That was on Jan. 26, when Keefer's site, www.i4weather.net, recorded a low temperature of 8 degrees.

Houk said Monday's high temperatures could peak in the teens, with a low as cold as 2 degrees below zero.

The coldest February days in Hagerstown occurred Feb. 13, 1899, and Feb. 28, 1934, when temperatures bottomed out at 20 degrees below zero, according to i4weather.net. The record low for Monday's date, Feb. 5, is 12 degrees below zero, which was set in 1918.

Neither Houk nor Rosa predicted much snow, though Houk said conditions look favorable for snow-making machines at resorts, where warm temperatures earlier this season put skiing on the skids.

"Yeah, winter's going to stick around, and it's only going to get colder here as we move into the weekend and early next week," Houk said.

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