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Snow to deepen

January 27, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Those hoping for an end to the wintry blast that has hovered over the area since Friday evening probably will be disappointed today as forecasters are predicting more snow and some freezing rain.

Forecasters also say temperatures are not expected to climb above freezing until Thursday at the earliest.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Andy Woodcock said light sleet and freezing rain were expected late Monday and early this morning. Today, there is a strong likelihood of up to 1/4 inch of freezing rain in parts of Washington County and beyond, Woodcock said.

"The freezing rain is our main concern," Woodcock said. "I think the afternoon through the evening drive will be the critical time."

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Woodcock said colder temperatures tonight probably will lead to about another inch of snow, which is expected to taper off by 10 p.m. He said there also is a slight chance of snow Wednesday.

"It's only a 30 percent chance, so I doubt it will be significant, he said.

Woodcock said the high temperature could reach the upper 30s Thursday and the low 40s Friday.

"It's not going to melt the snow greatly," Woodcock said. "I think you're going to have snow on the ground into Saturday."

Most weather observers in Washington County reported approximately 7 inches of new snow between Sunday and Monday to add to totals from the snowstorm earlier in the weekend.

Residents in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and south central Pennsylvania were greeted in many areas by about 6 inches of snow Monday.

The snowy conditions caused several car crashes on panhandle roads. School officials in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties said schools would be closed for the second straight day today.

Plans for schools in Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania were not announced early Monday evening.

Washington County Board of Education spokeswoman Carol Mowen said no decision had been made Monday evening for school closings or delayed openings today.

Hagerstown Public Works Manager Eric Deike said city crews worked throughout the night to clear roads, though they were not getting much help from the weather that followed the snowfall Monday.

"The streets are OK, but the colder temperatures are certainly making it harder," Deike said. "Every bit of snow that falls, none of it's melting."

Deike said crews are running out of places to put the snow because of the 14 total inches that has fallen since Friday. He said city officials began discussing the possibility of hauling snow out of the downtown area.

Washington County Highway Department Director Theodore Wolford could not be reached for comment Monday night. Wolford's advice Monday morning to area motorists was to stay home.

About 40 people from the highway department worked through the night clearing snow from area roads, Wolford said. He said county roads should be in good shape until the area is hit with a significant amount of sleet.

Maryland State Highway Administration Spokeswoman Lora Rakowski said Monday evening that crews were addressing the beginning of patches of slick conditions on secondary roads and shoulders of interstates. Crew members have logged many hours since Friday, when snow began falling on the area.

"We've had crews out around the clock today," Rakowski said.

Rakowski said there were 2,000 pieces of equipment and 2,400 employees and contractors working Monday statewide. She said the administration hoped to scale back crews in anticipation of the ice storm conditions today.

"We'll keep skeleton crews throughout the night," she said. "Ideally, we'd like to get folks some rest."

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