Road crews prepared for storm

February 17, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

Tri-State road crews were on standby Friday night, prepared with plows, salt and anti-skid stones to start clearing the roads once the first of two anticipated snowstorms began this weekend.

With a winter storm warning in effect through Monday morning for Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland and West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, some roads departments had already split their crews into shifts for the weekend.

While references have been made to two storms, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Woodcock said they are part of the same storm system.


The first part coming from Tennessee was expected to result in 2 to 3 inches of snow overnight in Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle and 2 to 4 inches of snow in Franklin County, Pa., weather officials said.

The "evil twin" of that storm, which is expected Sunday, is forming on the Carolina coast and could dump much more snow on the area, Woodcock said.

Woodcock couldn't say how much snow was expected Sunday.

"Yeah, everyone wants to know a number so we can run around and say 14 inches, woo, woo, woo, woo. Fourteen or eight, either way there's going to be a lot of snow to shovel," Woodcock said.

"Let's wait and see how things develop," Woodcock said.

Road crews were waiting to start their engines Friday night, but they weren't waiting to get ready.

"We have material. We're ready for it," Washington County Highway Department Director Ted Wolford said.

Wolford said he let his drivers go home at the end of the work day to spend time with their wives or girlfriends for Valentine's Day, but they knew to come back at midnight.

Several Tri-State area roads officials said their departments were either almost out of money or over budget for snow removal.

"We're probably over budget statewide, but we're going to do whatever it takes to keep the roads clear," said Gary Shank, assistant resident maintenance engineer with the local Maryland State Highway Administration office.

Once the snow was to begin arriving, the snow emergency plan was expected to be activated, Maryland State Police Sgt. Kevin Lewis said.

Under that plan, vehicles on all state highways and interstates must have tires with chains, snow tires or all-season radial tires, Lewis said. Any vehicles parked or left unattended on those roads are subject to being impounded at the owners' expense.

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