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2010 ran hot and cold

January 02, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • A lone pedestrian walks up West Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown during a snowstorm on Feb. 6, 2010.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — It was the hottest of times; it was almost the snowiest of times.

The year 2010 featured the hottest summer on record in the Hagerstown area, according to local weather observer Greg Keefer’s website at http://i4weather.net.

But for many people, the winter was likely more memorable.

The winter of 2009-10 didn’t set a record for the snowiest winter in Hagerstown history. That was in 1960-61.

With 70.5 inches of snow, last winter was 3.51 inches shy of setting a new winter snowfall record, according to Keefer’s records, which date to 1898.

But there are probably a lot of people — perhaps the snowplow drivers, mail carriers and emergency service workers — who would have preferred 2010 hadn’t set so many weather records.

There was so much snow in February 2010 that for a while, it was difficult to find a place to shovel much of it.
Clear Spring Mayor Paul Hose Jr. said the town had to have snow hauled away twice last winter.

“We usually don’t get that much snow,” said Hose, noting that the February storms resulted in a visit from Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“Unforgettable” is how Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services Deputy Chief James Ulrich described last winter.

There were four calls during a February snowstorm in which crews couldn’t get an ambulance up to a house or driveway, he recalled.

The crew parked the ambulance up to a half-mile away and took four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles up to the homes so they could treat and stabilize the patients, Ulrich said.

One crew took care of the patient, while another crew used shovels to dig a path, he said. Then they loaded the patient into an SUV and drove back to the ambulance.

After three of the calls, the Maryland National Guard stationed a Humvee at the Smithsburg station for about four days in case the crew needed help, Ulrich said.

Last winter, and February in particular, set a few records.

It was the first time there were back-to-back snowstorms of 15 inches or more, and the first time three major snowstorms of 15 inches or more occurred during one winter, according to Keefer’s website.

Two February snowstorms of 21 inches from Feb. 5 to 6, and 17.4 inches from Feb. 9 to 10, followed a 16.2-inch snowfall Dec. 18 and 19, 2009, according to Keefer’s website.

February winds resulted in drifting snow.

The February storms were very demanding, with some plow drivers working 30 to 40 hours with short breaks, said Ed Plank, director of the Washington County Highway Department.

“Even a storm like that, I don’t care what type of operation you’re running, it’s hard to have experienced personnel that have faced blizzard conditions like that,” Plank said.

But now his crew has experience for the next one.

“Hopefully, that will be in another 20 or 30 years,” Plank said.

2010 weather highlights

• Second-snowiest winter, with 70.5 inches of snow in 2009-10

• New February snowfall record and new all-time monthly snowfall record for any month, with 44.1 inches

• Hottest summer on record with a three-month summer average temperature of 77.7 degrees

• Hottest June on record with an average temperature of 76 degrees

• Tied with July 1999 for hottest July and hottest month, with average temperature of 80 degrees

• Second-driest summer with 4.96 inches of rain

• Earliest 90-degree day set on April 6, 2010, with a high of 92

• All-time hottest low temperature recorded for Hagerstown — 81 degrees on July 24, 2010.

Source: Local weather observer Greg Keefer’s website, http://i4weather.net

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