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Winter storm forecast for area

February 12, 2007|By KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

For the boys in the Bower family, their previous state of residence conjures up images of hurricanes.

Snow, they said, is not as scary.

"We play in it," 5-year-old Justin said Monday while walking with his brothers and father, Eric Bower, near The Home Depot at the Centre at Hagerstown.

Eric Bower carried a new shovel and a jug of salt.

The Bowers, who moved to Maugansville from Florida, were preparing for a winter storm that forecasters said could deliver a wintry mix today and Wednesday.

John Darnley, observation program leader for the National Weather Service, said Monday that the brunt of the storm will miss Hagerstown. He predicted about an inch or 2 inches of sleet, freezing rain and snow today, with a little more snow Wednesday.

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AccuWeather's forecast calls for worse weather. Meteorologist Carl Erickson said people could wake up to a little precipitation this morning and that 3 to 6 inches of snow will fall during the day.

Freezing rain and sleet could coat the area by tonight, Erickson said.

"It will be quite a mess. You could have several inches of snow, and on top of that, sleet and ice," Erickson said.

Erickson and Darnley said the storm will drag with it colder temperatures and wind, and the harsh conditions will last the next couple of days.

Eric Deike, director of the City of Hagerstown's public works department, and Ed Plank, director of Washington County's highway department, said their crews were preparing for the storm.

City crews were planning to start work Monday night, Deike said.

County crews would work 12-hour shifts, Plank said.

"We're in pretty good shape," Plank said. "We'll be available to take care of whatever happens. That's the best we can do."

Outside The Home Depot, brothers Mitch, 13, and Levi Leizear, 8, of Clear Spring, held shovels. The boys and thier mother, Janeen Leizear, said they planned to shovel for neighbors. The boys said they also hoped to sled.

Even in a winter that until recently was mostly warm and dry, Leizear said the boys have used their sleds.

"We have a straight-down hill in our front yard, so it can be a dusting, and they use them," Leizear said.

The Bowers also were getting ready.

"We moved up here from Florida, so we don't have a shovel or anything else," Eric Bower said.

While his boys - ages 5, 8 and 9 - appeared excited, Bower was not cheered by forecasts of snow.

"No, I'm not looking forward to shoveling it, no. I grew up in upstate New York, so I know what shoveling's all about," Bower said.

Staff writers Dan Dearth and Tara Reilly contributed to this story.

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