As many downtown Towson businesses were digging out in anticipation of late openings, or just taking advantage of a lull in a storm, some businesses were beginning to see the spoils of digging out early Thursday.
Season's Pizza, the mid-Atlantic chain that boasts 25 locations, including 11 in Maryland, closed most of its locations Thursday. The Towson location on York Road near Towson University is one of just two that are open despite the snow.
"Every year we do it," co-owner Peter Philippakos said from behind the counter early Thursday afternoon. "We're known for it. It's customary."
Ken Mills, CEO of the Baltimore County Revenue Authority, was at Seasons Thursday picking up an early afternoon meal for the ten employees who were plowing the county's garages and parking lots.
"We rely on Seasons," he said.
Philippakos said the business caters to both residents and Towson students, and as the college students began to stir Thursday, delivery orders were popping up on his computer screen from campus addresses.
"They're creeping up on me," Philippakos said.
Up the road at Charles Village Pub, the popular Towson bar, bartender Elizabeth Ballinger boasted that their restaurant never closes. It was just Ballinger and a single chef serving the dozen people at the front bar, but she said she expected business to pick up once people decided to get out of the house.
She touted their snow specials, a list that pairs an amount of snow with a certain drink special. With 12 inches in Towson, she said there were plenty of specials Thursday.
"People within walking distance, we definitely want them to come," she said. "We usually do pretty good, considering."
The rest of Baltimore County is digging out in hopes of returning to normal Friday, but Baltimore County Public Schools has already said school is cancelled for the remainder of the week.
Baltimore County officials reported no snow-related "unusual problems" Wednesday into Thursday, and said Thursday morning that more than 500 county employees were working to clear snow off the roads.
Officials said at the county's Snow Fighter website, where it is updating residents on the storm's progress, that residents should stay off the roads Thursday. County work crews will focus on main roads until the snow stops, then begin to remove snow from secondary roads.
Residents can expect the snow to taper off Thursday afternoon and evening because of warm air, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Woodcock said. The sun is expected to reappear Friday morning, with highs in the mid-30s.
Snow totals reported by the National Weather Service include: 18 inches in Reistertown, almost 16 inches in Towson, 13 inches in Cockeysville, and 11 inches in Timonium.
As the storm progresses, Baltimore County will also be providing updates on snow removal and other emergency information via its emergency Twitter account, @BACOEmergency.
As county agencies and BGE braced for the year's biggest winter storm, Baltimore County Public Schools decided Wednesday evening that they would rather be safe than sorry and canceled school for Thursday. All of the area's independent schools and colleges also closed Thursday.
Additionally, the Towson Town Center mall is closed Thursday.
Snow began falling around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Early Wednesday, Governor Martin O'Malley declared a state of emergency in Maryland, and Wednesday afternoon, the Public Service Commission urged residents to stay off the road and avoid dangerous situations.
Winter Weight in Gold
When each storm passes, Baltimore County is updating its winter storm costs online. As of Monday, Feb. 10, the website reports that $8.7 million was spent on snow removal efforts for the season. Snow removal crews have used over 83,000 tons of salt, which cost between $54 and $55 per ton.