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Six inches of snow might fall in county

December 09, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

erinc@herald-mail.com

A few of Washington County's Highway Department workers were standing by earlier this week waiting to plow snow that never fell.

On Thursday night, 64 department employees were prepared to work 12-hour shifts to clear snow that Director Ted Wolford believed was a "sure thing."

As much as 6 inches of snow was expected to fall Thursday night into this morning.

"We have (road crews) in and ready to go once it starts snowing," Wolford said Thursday about 8 p.m.

Snow began falling in Hagerstown about 10 p.m., and the county's snow emergency plan went into effect at 10:30 p.m. Accuweather meteorologist Chuck Caracozza expected 3 to 6 inches of light, fluffy snow to have blanketed the area by about 7 a.m. today.

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"It is going to be a heavy, rapid storm," Caracozza said. "It's not going to waste any time picking up in intensity."

Caracozza said the fast-moving storm is an early one for the area, which typically sees the first big snow of the year in January.

Last winter, the first recorded snowfall was Jan. 22 and the second was Feb. 24, Caracozza said.

Wolford said the county begins to prepare for winter weather during summer months, when the equipment is inspected.

Material such as salt is stockpiled in October and November, Wolford said. If there has been no snow by Thanksgiving, crews put plows on the trucks and chains on the tires, he said.

"So, if we get anything, we are ready to go," Wolford said.

Wolford said he had monitored the weather throughout the day Thursday. Fifteen contractors employed by the county were prepared to put 25 to 30 pieces of equipment on the road during the storm.

As the snowfall begins, crews start moving throughout the county, spreading salt and anti-skidding material along curves, hills and intersections, Wolford said.

"We put some material there and it helps out quite a bit," he said.

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