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Weather forcast prompts residents to stock up on essentials

January 29, 2000|By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY And MARLO BARNHARTs

Washington County residents geared up Saturday for a winter storm expected to strike early today.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning at 4 p.m. Saturday, and forecasters predict heavy snow at times today with accumulations from 6 to 12 inches.

The storm will cover much of the mid-Atlantic region with an icy mix of sleet and snow, but Western Maryland should be spared an ice storm as temperatures will hover just below the freezing mark here, forecasters said.

"It does look like mainly a snow event" for the Hagerstown area, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Michelle Margraf.

This snowfall trails by five days a surprise snowstorm that dumped 13.5 inches of in Washington County, and the lesson learned Tuesday wasn't lost on shoppers in area grocery stores.

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But others were surprisingly calm about the possibility of another whack of winter weather.

"This is nothing special ... today is just my regular grocery shopping day," said Mary Anne Bauer of Sharpsburg as she checked out at Weis Market on Maryland Avenue.

Janet Crossland employed a kind of reverse psychology as she shopped Saturday.

"I'm really preparing so nothing will happen," Crossland said as she stocked up on groceries.

Her plan was to get plenty of food in the house, cover her car windshield with plastic as if expecting a big snow, figuring that's when it won't happen.

"I got caught before with that other storm, making no preparations," she said.

"It could work," Crossland said as she threw a bag of salt in her cart.

Cenny Martin said she was doing her regular Saturday shopping for the most part. But she acknowledged she was getting a little extra milk for herself and her mother just in case.

"Yes, I was one of those who got caught last Tuesday when it snowed," Martin said.

Jeannine Brewer and her husband, of Martinsburg, W.Va., were loading up on bread and milk and toilet paper.

"We're usually pretty well stocked up," Brewer said. She added that, especially after Y2K preparations, she might break out some of that stored food.

A visual sampling of grocery carts in the checkout lines at the Weis Market showed normal amounts of food for the most part.

There was also some evidence of Super Bowl shopping, an event which is supposed to coincide with the predicted snowstorm.

Eric Hahn, assistant store manager at Weis Market, said the store was busier than a normal Saturday, possibly because of both the storm and the big game.

Whatever the reason, store managers must stay sharp if they are to have enough supplies when storms hit.

"It usually only takes a day's notice to increase our supplies of bread and milk, for example," Hahn said. The main distribution center for the Weis chain is in nearby Pennsylvania.

But Hahn said Tuesday's storm came out of the blue, and no one can prepare adequately in those instances.

Shoppers shouldn't have to stockpile too many supplies, as snow is expected to taper off this evening, Margraf said.

Forecasters predict scattered flurries continuing into Monday, and sunny skies with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Tuesday.

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