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Weather straining roads crew resources

February 10, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

The Tri-State area is expected to get more snow before the weekend is over and it may strain the resources of roads departments.

The forecast for today is partly sunny, with a high temperature in the low 30s. Tonight will be partly cloudy, said Jackie Hale, a spokeswoman for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

There's a 40 percent chance that snow will fall after midnight Sunday and again Monday morning.

About 4 inches of snow blanketed Washington County by Friday morning when a storm came up the nation's southeastern coastline, weather officials said.

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The snow caused a handful of minor accidents in Hagerstown Friday morning and one minor accident on county roads, police agencies reported. There were no reports of snow-related accidents in the Tri-State area Friday afternoon or evening.

Public schools were closed in Washington County; Frederick County, Md.; and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

The first flight out of Hagerstown Regional Airport Friday, scheduled at 6:05 a.m., was delayed an hour, but later flights departed and arrived without incident, airport manager Carolyn Motz said.

Some roads still had snow on them Friday morning, but they were passable, county Highway Department director Ted Wolford said. Many were clear by evening.

The storm ended around 7:30 a.m. Friday but started again about 10, according to local weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site at i4weather.net.

The snow came from a low pressure system that developed off the Carolina coast and moved north, said Trina Heiser, a weather technician with the National Weather Service. That system was moving out to sea Friday morning.

This latest storm was another blow to local snow removal budgets.

"We've shot the budget, or we're close," Wolford said.

Hagerstown's snow removal budget had about $48,000 left before the storm, Public Works manager Eric Deike said.

"We're going to get pretty close here," he said.

If the snow forecast this weekend arrives Sunday instead of Monday, it will hit the budget harder because public works crews will be paid double time to clear the roads, Deike said.

Deike said there will be a lot of cleaning up to do after the storm. He said he should have enough salt for the snow expected Sunday or Monday, but he will order 400 additional tons of salt that should start arriving Monday.

Staff writer Andrew Schotz contributed to this story.<

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