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Forecaster says snow is coming, not much will stick

December 07, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

HAGERSTOWN - A National Weather Service meteorologist said Wednesday that he is confident people in Hagerstown will see snow this afternoon.

"It looks like the first snow showers are going to move in through the day Thursday," meteorologist Brian Lasorsa said.

He said areas west of Washington County, because of the mountains, will have snow for a longer duration, possibly lasting into Friday.

The National Weather Service is predicting minimal accumulations.

"It looks like it should be dry on the weekend," Lasorsa said.

With winter weather approaching for the season, agencies that plow or remove snow are reviewing policies, and many are posting those on their Web sites.

The "snow-fighting guidelines" in the City of Hagerstown and Washington County are similar, City Public Works Manager Eric B. Deike said.

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The city's average cost per snow season is about $312,000, Deike said. At $671,074, the 1995-96 season was the costliest in the past 10 years, he said.

The city maintains a list of "primary streets" for clearing. Those include Washington, Franklin, Prospect and Potomac streets and Wesel, Burhans, Eastern and Wilson boulevards.

"Secondary streets" include Spruce, Guilford, Devonshire and Vale streets.

"It doesn't mean that we don't hit those immediately," Deike said. "It just means that our priority is obviously on the main streets, the main thoroughfares, and then we step over and really focus on the residential areas."

The Washington County Highway Department is responsible for snow removal on all county roads. The department's first priority is to clear main roads, school bus routes, severe curves and intersections, according to the county's Web site.

In Pennsylvania, the state transportation department will use its 2,250 trucks, plows and salt spreaders to clear nearly 100,000 snow lane miles, which is the number of miles plowed multiplied by the number of lanes. The state also rents trucks for clearing roads.

PennDOT's goal is to keep at least two lanes of interstates and expressways open in storms that accumulate 2 to 8 inches. The department limits salt and instead turns to anti-skid materials on secondary state roads, according to its Web site.

The City of Martinsburg's public works department is responsible for 52 miles of public roads. It uses six snow plow trucks, according to www.martinsburg.com. Property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks within 12 hours of the storm's end.

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