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Storm was 4th largest on record

February 18, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A three-day winter storm that battered the region wound down Monday, but not before depositing 23 inches of snow in Hagerstown, the fourth-largest amount in the more than 100 years that records have been kept.

Some parts of the Tri-State area reported 2 feet of snow or more, including Clear Spring with 32 inches and Berkeley County, W.Va., with 27 inches. Smithsburg logged 24 inches.

The last time Hagerstown got this much snow was Jan. 7 and 8, 1996, when a record 35 inches fell, according to weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site.

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Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania were under a state of emergency Monday.

Heavy snow caused two barns in Franklin County, Pa., to collapse Monday. One collapse happened in St. Thomas Township, killing three cows. The other was in Washington Township.

Police did not report any major automobile accidents on Tri-State roads.

The County Commuter in Washington County, Greyhound bus service and MARC commuter rail service each shut down Monday because of the storm.

Hagerstown Regional Airport closed Sunday afternoon because of the bad weather and reopened at about 4 p.m. Monday, Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said.

US Airways canceled two flights from Hagerstown to Pittsburgh Monday because of snow on the runways, she said.

Flights resumed after the snow was cleared, she said.

All Allegheny Power customers in the Tri-State area had power as of 6 p.m., a spokesman said.

About 100 Washington County customers, mostly on Broadfording Road, were without power Monday morning, but service was restored later in the day, the spokesman said.

The Hagerstown Light Department had no reports of storm-related outages.

Because Monday was Presidents Day, several segments of government were already scheduled to be closed in Washington County, including state offices and the county's school system.

The county planned to keep its offices open on the holiday, but the storm changed that.

Although Ted Wolford, director of the Washington County Highway Department, said his crews did a good job keeping the roads clear, school officials decided to keep schools closed today.

Schools in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia will be closed today, along with the Greencastle-Antrim, Waynesboro and Chambersburg schools in Franklin County, Pa.

Hagerstown's trash hauler is not picking up mixed paper recycling this week and has canceled trash pick-up for the next few days, city spokeswoman Karen Giffin said.

The next North End trash pick-up will be Friday morning and the next South End trash pick-up will be Saturday morning.

The City of Hagerstown was having trouble removing all of the snow, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

The city was changing accommodations at the parking deck on Potomac Street due to snow at its other parking lots, Giffin said.

During the day, anyone with a permit for a city lot can park free of charge at the deck at any time for the next several days, she said.

All residents may park at the deck for free from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. over the next few days while the city clears the parking lots of snow, she said.

The change helps residents park and helps the city plow the parking lots, Giffin said.

Washington County Health Officer William Christoffel had this prescription for Tri-State residents: "Tell people to stay off the roads."

Several downtown Hagerstown residents were out with shovels, laboring to clear piles of snow from their parked cars. Some vehicles were completely buried in white mounds, with only side mirrors sticking out.

Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop said the county's goal was to have at least one passable lane for each county road.

Washington County also declared a state of emergency, following Gov. Robert Ehrlich's designation for Maryland. The county's declaration means the government will be eligible for compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency if the area is declared a disaster area by the federal government.

P. Duff Rearick, the Greencastle-Antrim schools superintendent, said the school system there was set to make up a previous snow day on Monday, but instead had to call off school.

Days will be added onto the end of the calendar, he said.

Edwin Sponseller, the superintendent of Chambersburg schools, said schools there were already closed Monday for Presidents Day.

Carol Mowen, a spokeswoman for Washington County Public Schools, said buses didn't run Monday for the 30 students normally sent to the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, Md., and the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore.

Washington County Public Schools and its central offices will be closed today. The school board meeting scheduled for today has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25, Mowen said.

Mowen said school officials will have to discuss how the recent snow days are going to affect the school calendar.

Schools in the Waynesboro Area School District were also already closed for Presidents Day Monday.

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