Winter storm brings more uncertainty than snow in north Baltimore

Painter Doug Preston had a scheduled job in Greenspring Valley on Wednesday morning, but his client told him not to come because the house was up a hill and even an inch of snow would make it difficult to reach.

Yet as Preston, of Guilford, went shopping at the Giant supermarket in Hampden instead, he wondered if he shouldn't have tried. There was only rain mixed with snow and not much of the latter.

"What's going on?" Preston asked a reporter. He had listened to weather reports on TV saying snow was still on the way, but late-morning reports were more conflicted, saying Baltimore might only get an inch or two of snow, but that the storm was still a going concern and would continue to be through Wednesday night.

A Giant manager said the store planned to stay open throughout the storm.

The ballyhooed storm so far has brought more uncertainty than snow, and most residents and merchants are taking their best guesses about going out in it. At Deepdene Road and Roland Avenue in Roland Park, Crimson & Clover Floral Design had an open sign on its door, but the Gundy's gift shop next door was closed.

The McDonald's restaurant on Falls Road in Hampden announced bags of ice for $1, but there appeared to be no need yet, although there were intermittent signs of a harder snowfall..

On The Avenue in Hampden, "so far so good," emailed Benn Ray, president of the Hampden Village Merchants Association and co-owner of Atomic Books on Falls Road at The Avenue. "Just seems like a cold rain storm right now. Most of the merchants are just debating about whether or not to open."

The Oakenshawe Improvement Association issued a statement saying, "Although it seems doubtful the snow will live up to the hype, our fleet of neighborhood snowblowers stands ready in (a resident's) garage."

The association had a community meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening at Union Memorial Hospital and still planned to hold the meeting," said co-president Mark Counselman.

However, the York Road Partnership canceled its scheduled meeting Wednesday night, "for the safety of all the York Road Partnership family," according to a partnership group email. Michael Sarbanes, executive director of partnerships, communications and community engagement for Baltimore City Schools, had been scheduled to talk about the 10-year plan for city schools.

"We will work with his office to reschedule this event," the email stated.

Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke sent out a group email with storm contact information, but she said she hadn't heard of any snow emergencies or power outages yet and wasn't sure what the storm would end up being.

"Whatever this storm is going to amount to, it may amount to at the evening commute hour," Clarke said after talking to the city government's "storm room."

"It's the wind I'm worried about," she said.

Clarke said if there were outages or other effects of the storm later, she was sure she would hear about them.

"When people see me, they either think of a dirty alley or a light bulb that's not lighting," she said.

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