By Melanie Dzwonchyk, Luke Lavoie and Sara Toth email@example.com
2:25 PM EST, March 6, 2013
Schools in Laurel closed today and federal government employees had an unexpected, non-sequester day off as a winter storm moved into the area overnight. While some neighboring states got hit with more snow than rain, Laurel at noon had just an inch or two of snow on the ground, but precipitation was continuing to bring cold rain mixed with snow.
The National Weather Service placed a winter storm watch in effect for Laurel and surrounding counties that began Tuesday evening and continues through 12 a.m. Thursday, March 7.
Laurel City Spokesman Pete Piringer tweeted Wednesday morning that there were "no major problems on streets, roads, sidewalks in Laurel area," and that snow crews from Laurel Department of Public Works were deployed early.
"We expect the snow will pick up this afternoon with the slush starting to accumulate on the roads, but should not create any major problems for our DPW&T crews until this evening," Piringer wrote in an email.
The Maryland State Highway Administration was also cautious about what conditions the afternoon would bring. Wednesday morning SHA issued a release, warning drivers that, despite little to no accumulation in the early morning hours, conditions will deteriorate throughout the day.
"Don't be misled by the bare pavement you may see as you wake up this morning," SHA administrator Melinda Peters said. "Conditions will change rapidly and we're urging driver to stay off the roads and leave the driving to our crews."
SHA has more than 2,000 crews patrolling state roads, plowing and treating them with salt.
According to the NWS, Laurel will receive an additional three to five inches on Wednesday.
The NWS is predicting 100 percent chance of precipitation for Wednesday, with a 40 percent chance of precipitation on Thursday.
The snow could impact testing schedules for elementary and middle school students in Laurel. This week and next are the scheduled windows for the Maryland School Assessment; Wednesday was to be the second day of testing for many students. School officials said the second day of testing will be moved to Thursday, March 7. In the case of a cancellation Thursday, March 7, the second day of testing will be moved to Friday, March 8.
The MSA testing window is Monday to Friday, March 4-15, with two make-up days scheduled for Monday, March 18 and Tuesday, March 19. If the school system loses more than two days of testing, the system has to request the Maryland State Department of Education extend the testing window by an additional two days.
Baltimore Gas & Electric is urging customers to prepare for power outages by making sure they have a full tank of gas, one gallon of water per person per day for three days, etc.
For more information from BGE, click here.
This story has been updated.