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Winter makes a spring comeback

March 31, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

Basking in the belief that spring was here at last, Tri-State area residents awoke Sunday morning to learn the truth - the winter of 2002-03 isn't through with us yet.

Two inches of snow accumulated in Hagerstown after flurries fell all day, according to Greg Keefer, Hagerstown weather observer. Fortunately for motorists, little if any of that clung to the roads.

"We had two trucks out - in Cascade and on Sideling Hill - and that was all," said Ted Wolford, superintendent of the Washington County Highways Department.

Police agencies in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia reported few accidents and the ones that did occur were mostly vehicles sliding off the roads, with no injuries and little damage.

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The snow emergency plan was enacted in Frederick, Washington and Allegany counties Sunday morning. All were lifted by mid-afternoon Sunday.

Spurred on by the recent wave of warm weather, many frustrated gardeners already have started working in their gardens. Some may have even planted some tender annuals.

Too bad, said Chris Doyle of Mountainside Gardens in Boonsboro.

"It's way too early for most annuals," Doyle said. "Pansies should be OK and primrose, too, but not most petunias."

An exception should be wave petunias, at least Doyle hopes, since last Tuesday he put 1,500 of them outside because he was running out of room in his greenhouses.

"I did that last year, too, and my wave petunias were the best they had ever been," Doyle said. He also put about 4,000 dianthus outside on Thursday. Now they and the petunias are covered with snow.

"But that's good because the snow keeps them insulated and at 32 degrees," Doyle said.

After last summer's drought, Doyle is looking forward to a better growing season this year.

"I just hope we get some good spring rains," he said.

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