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Forecasters say snow not expected to accumulate

February 26, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

Go on. Admit it. You just can't wait for more snow.

As if last week's storm, which dropped about 2 feet across the Tri-State area, was not enough, the National Weather Service reports more snow could be on its way to the region.

There's a chance of snow today, the Weather Service said, but accumulation should be light. A chance for more snow will linger through Thursday, and more precipitation - rain or snow - could come this weekend.

But the good news, according to National Weather Service Forecaster Jim Decarufel, is that this system "is just an annoyance. Considering what everybody's been through, this is a piece of cake."

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Despite having overspent their snow removal budgets for the year, local road crews said they're ready for whatever might come this week.

"We're always ready," said Washington County Highways Director Ted Wolford. His crew is "all rested up and ready to go," he said.

The Highways Department has enough salt and other materials to clear roads in case of another storm, he said.

But, he said, "I hope it's not a big storm."

Hagerstown Public Works Manager Eric Deike said his crews "are as ready as we can be. We're going over our equipment and making repairs."

Though warmer temperatures after last week's storm helped, Deike said city workers were still trying to clear the mounds of snow left on Hagerstown streets. They'll be working on areas of North Potomac Street today, he said, and he had a list of other areas still in need of attention. "If we have another big storm, it could be an issue," he said.

A problem plaguing city crews has been that "our budget has been totally shot," Deike said. "We've tried to balance what we can do during regular work hours" with using overtime, he said.

Snow removal budgets have been shot statewide, said Gary Shank, assistant resident maintenance engineer for the Washington County office of the Maryland Highway Administration.

"We've been over budget statewide since the last storm, but we're gonna clear the roads" if there's more snow this winter, he said.

Shank said the 60 pieces of equipment used to clear state roads in Washington County should be ready if needed this week. Like their counterparts in Hagerstown, Shank's crews were still trying to clear some "areas where the snow piled up from the massive storm we had last week so we will have space to store" any snow that comes this week.

The story is much the same in West Virginia - budgets are overspent, but road crews will be clearing the roads anyway. "We have to remove the snow," said John Coleman, supervisor for the Department of Highways office in Morgan County. He said his 18 crew members and an "ample supply" of salt were ready in case another storm hits, but "spring could come any time," he said.

"Everyone's getting tired of this," said Dwight Wilkins, acting highways supervisor for the Jefferson County office. "Everybody's looking forward to spring, especially our guys."

He said his 24-member crew would be working 12-hour shifts to clear the roads if necessary. Some of them were out Tuesday, "seeing if they can push the snow back any farther."

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