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Temperatures remain below freezing

caution on roads urged

February 09, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • A horse moves through a snowy pasture along Ritchie Road during Wednesday's snowfall.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Ground temperatures were warm enough Wednesday afternoon to keep snow off the roads in Washington County but the National Weather Service urged area motorists to use caution Thursday morning as temperatures remained well below freezing.

There was a danger that “black ice” could form on roads as the temperatures drop, said Ed Plank, director of the Washington County Highway Department.

“Everybody needs to take care and drive slow, of course,” Plank said Wednesday afternoon.

The Maryland Department of Transportation reported no problems on western Maryland highways early Thursday.

Nearly all Tri-State area schools were operating on time Thursday. Heritage Academy near Hagerstown and the Central Fulton School District in McConnellsburg, Pa., were to begin classes on a two-hour delay.

Although the weather service was predicting 1 to 3 inches of snow for Hagerstown Wednesday afternoon, only 0.80 inches had fallen by 4 p.m., according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer’s website at i4weather.net.

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By 6 a.m. Thursday, Hagerstown had received 1.2 inches of snow since Wednesday morning, according to Keefer's website. The temperature was 24 degrees.

Temperatures hovered around 33 degrees Wednesday afternoon, keeping ground temperatures warm enough to keep snow from sticking to roadways, Plank said.

State and county crews also pretreated area roads before the snow fell to help prevent accumulation, Plank said.

State highway workers use a liquid salt brine, while the county  pretreats with a mixture of salt and liquid calcium, he said.

Although Washington County Public Schools had no early class dismissals Wednesday, public schools in Jefferson County, W.Va., dismissed students two hours early Wednesday due to the snow.

Temperatures are expected to be around the low-to-mid-40s Thursday and Friday, but more seasonable temperatures are expected to return to the region over the weekend with a high of about 33 degrees.

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