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Storm brings wind, some ice buildup in Washington County

December 17, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Sunday dawned cold and wet, but above-freezing air temperatures and rising surface temperatures kept ice accumulation to a minimum, the National Weather Service said.

Overnight Saturday, precipitation fell primarily as rain, but froze upon contact with colder surface temperatures, said Nikole Listemaa, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. Most of the Baltimore-Washington area got about a quarter-inch of accumulated ice, the National Weather Service said.

In Hagerstown, weather observer Greg Keefer recorded one-tenth of an inch of ice.

Police and emergency dispatchers said they got several calls about branches downed by ice and wind, and some areas of the city lost power.

Temperatures rose above freezing by 5 a.m., Keefer's records show, and by mid-morning, most of the ice had melted, though light rain continued through much of the morning, as did complaints of downed branches.

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All told, the wintry mix that began Saturday dropped 1.77 inches of precipitation by the time rain ended Sunday, according to Keefer.

That was enough to cause problems in Cascade.

Cascade Elementary School is closed today because of icy conditions in the area, according to Meghan Waters, a public information assistant with Washington County Public Schools.

There will be no bus service for middle and high school students in the Cascade attendance area, Waters said. Buses 21C, 65C, 71C and 80C will run today, but not in the Cascade attendance area, she said.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Washington County and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia that was lifted at 1 p.m. Sunday. A winter storm warning also was issued for Fulton County, Pa., and a winter weather advisory was in place in Franklin County, Pa.

By Sunday evening, rain had been replaced by strong gusts of wind, which Listemaa said were the result of low pressure deepening in a coastal system over the Atlantic Ocean.

A National Weather Service wind advisory was in effect until 6 a.m. today for winds up to 50 mph, she said.

Today should be dry with highs in the mid-30s and lows between 20 and 25 tonight, Listemaa said.

Reporter Erin Cunningham contributed to this story.

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