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Slippery roads, canceled classes follow snowstorm

December 19, 2000

Slippery roads, canceled classes follow snowstorm



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Shoveling a pathA repeat of Tuesday's winter storm, which canceled area classes and made roads slick, is expected to hit the area Thursday evening and continue into Friday, forecasters with National Weather Service said.

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"It doesn't look as potent as this one but things can change in a couple of days," forecaster John Margraf said Tuesday. He wouldn't predict how much snow would accumulate Thursday.

Margraf said the high temperatures today through Friday were expected to be in the 30s.

Tuesday's storm dumped more than four inches of snow on the Tri-State area, which made traveling difficult and accidents common.

Maryland State Police in Hagerstown and Washington County Sheriff's deputies said numerous minor accidents were reported throughout their coverage areas.

The snow started falling lightly around 6 a.m. and gradually became heavier. By 3:30 p.m., 2.4 inches of snow had fallen and the amount increased to 3.1 inches at 4:30 p.m., according to Hagerstown Weather Observer Greg Keefer's Web Site.

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Washington County Schools closed two hours early in response to the weather.

The Springfield Middle School's 6th and 7th grade band concerts were rescheduled for today at 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Hagerstown Community College's Institute For Learning in Retirement Winter Open House was rescheduled for Jan. 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at HCC's Valley Mall center.

Highways in Washington County were passable Tuesday afternoon but slippery, said Steve Davis, an engineer with Maryland State Highway Administration.

"Our biggest problem is that once we plow the roads people get a false impression that they can pick up speed," said Davis. Road conditions can still be a problem as winds cause drifting. Snow melts and then freezes, he said.

"It's kind of a double whammy with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and bad weather makes it worse," he said. State Highway workers were out since 3 a.m. spreading salt and magnesium, he said.

The 50 trucks out on the road focused first on the main roads and then cleared the on and off ramps, repeating the process as snow continued to fall, he said. "It's a never-ending battle," he said.

They had only a few breakdowns which has helped them keep a handle on the road situation, he said. "We're trying to keep everything at least passable. If people use common sense they can get where they have to go," he said.

Roads in Hagerstown were also in good shape throughout the day Tuesday, kept clear by 14 city trucks, said Eric Deike, acting city public works director.

There were so many minor accidents in Franklin County by late afternoon that they were backing up in the computer in the Pennsylvania State Police Barrack in Chambersburg, a spokesman there said. None was serious, he said.

About four inches of snow had accumulated on the ground in Franklin County, Pa. by 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

It was slackening off some around 5:30 p.m. with a projected snowfall of 4-6 inches.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials sent their snowplow drivers home at 4 p.m. for a four-hour break before calling them back for another night shift, a spokesman there said.

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