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Winter storm falls short of predictions, causes few problems

March 06, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Makayla Wade, left, and Devin Tosten have a snowball fight with the wet snow Wednesday morning in Boonsboro.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

A late-winter storm caused a lot of cancellations but few problems Wednesday, and in some areas, accumulations were a lot lower than predicted.

Weather forecasters said Tuesday that eight to 12 inches of snow could fall in the area but Hagerstown only received 2.7 inches, Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer said at his website www.i4weather.net.

The storm also moved through the area faster than expected, said Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

Some forecasts predicted snowfall to increase during the day Wednesday and that three to seven inches could fall during the day.

But Hagerstown had received its maximum amount of snow by 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Witt said the accuracy of National Weather Service forecasts for the Shenandoah Valley and eastern West Virginia were “up to par,” but they were more problematic in points east.

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That is because warm air moved into those regions and caused the snow to melt before it hit the ground, Witt said.

A winter storm warning had been posted for the local region through midnight Wednesday but the warning was canceled early Wednesday afternoon.

Nearly all elementary and secondary schools in the area were closed Wednesday due to snow. Colleges and universities also were closed.

FirstEnergy Power said Wednesday afternoon that 27 people lost power due to the storm in Washington County. That number had been reduced to six outages by 7:09 p.m.

FirstEnergy Power said a little more than 1,600 people in various communities in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia lost power but that number had been reduced to 135 outages by 7:09 p.m.

The 911 center in Morgan County was operating on a generator from 9 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. Wednesday because the storm knocked out the power, Morgan County Emergency Services dispatchers said. The emergency center was able to receive calls during the outage, a dispatcher said.

 The Hagerstown Regional Airport was closed for a time Wednesday morning, but Washington County spokeswoman Sarah Sprecher said at about 11:30 a.m. that the airport had reopened and runways were clear.

The Washington County Highway Department had all 36 of its plow trucks out at one point Wednesday, Diane Mongan of the department said. 

While areas in the eastern parts of the county near Smithsburg required plowing, other areas, such as on Halfway Boulevard, did not require it, she said. 

Reporters Caleb Calhoun, Dan Dearth and Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

Snowfall totals

The National Weather Service listed the following snowfall totals for areas of Washington County and West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle:

• Berkeley Springs in Morgan County, W.Va., 11 inches, 12:10 p.m. 

• Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, W.Va., 8.5 inches, 12 p.m.

• Near Cavetown in Washington County, 7.7 inches, 4 p.m.

• Waynesboro, Pa., 7 inches, 2:15 p.m.

• Greencastle, Pa., 5.8 inches, 5:45 p.m. 

• Falling Waters in Berkeley County, W.Va., three inches, 4:38 p.m.

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