Baltimore County braced itself for a major snow event Wednesday, but as of late this afternoon, county officials expect that the worst part of the coastal snowstorm has passed without major incident.
"It looks like most of it is clearing out," Lt. Jay Ringgold, a county emergency management spokesman, said. "Most of the stuff that's coming our way is changing over to rain. The roads have been good, no major outages, and hopefully we'll get through this event rather pleasantly."
Ringgold urged caution as temperatures drop and the wet roads potentially freeze, but otherwise said there was no recommendation for drivers to stay off the road this evening.
As of 4:08 p.m., BGE was reporting just 137 customers without power in Baltimore County, 119 of which are located near St. Elmo Court, just south of Warren Road near Timonium.
The State Highway Administration warned earlier this afternoon that conditions could deteriorate after sunset, and urged caution as drivers embark on their commutes home.
With schools closed and non-essential Baltimore County employees told to stay home on leave, all that distinguished downtown Towson from its appearance on any other nasty afternoon was the lack of bustling bodies.
Many restaurants and businesses remained open as a windy, wintry mix blew through the area, but without much foot traffic, some businesses have gone to great lengths to bring customers through the door.
Jason Hisley, co-owner of the bakery La Cakerie in Towson, said the shop decided to go with a limited menu and shortened hours in the face of the storm, but took to social media to ensure that everyone who had to trudge to work today would be rewarded.
Hisley said the shop offered two cupcakes for the price of one and free coffee to those who did trek into Towson.
"It was a good thing to do for the community," Hisley said. "The people that had to go to work, at least they got a cupcake and a coffee."
As a result, he said business has been steady all day.
"We're selling out," Hisley said.
Snow has been sparse so far in the Towson area, but county officials went to great lengths to ensure those who did leave their homes would be safe.
Students in the Towson area might have felt their collective hearts sink upon looking out the window and seeing rain this morning, but the threat of messy, damp snow gave them a treat Wednesday morning.
With the specter of the Maryland State Assessment looming for students, Baltimore County Public Schools canceled school early Wednesday morning-one of many preparatory measures taken by the county and state to prepare for the storm.
In some portions of the area, the snow started overnight. In others, it's still mostly rain. But Baltimore County announced its Emergency Operations Center opened at 10 a.m., and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center began operating with key staff and state agency representatives at 7 a.m.
As of 10:43 a.m., Baltimore County reported that all of the roads in the western region that includes Towson had been treated with salt, and that roads in the Towson and Cockeysville area were slush.
On Wednesday morning BGE announced it already has begun restoring power where necessary, and that power outages are expected to increase with the forecast of wet, heavy snow and wind gusts up to 50 mph. Both could cause power lines and trees to fall, BGE officials said.
As of 12:10 p.m., BGE reported 411 customers without power in Baltimore County, though none of those were in the Towson area.
BGE has 2,500 in-house storm and field personnel at the ready, plus around 650 out-of-state linemen from as far as Texas either in Maryland or on their way to assist with restoration.
Here's a list of useful links as the storm continues to progress:
Sun Towson Facebook — http://www.facebook.com/suntowson
BC Snow Fighter — Baltimore County's snow information page — http://egov2.baltimorecountymd.gov/snowfighter/pages/bcsnowman.htm
Baltimore County Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/Baltimorecounty
Baltimore County Emergency Twitter—http://www.twitter.com/BaCoEmergency
BGE Online Storm Center — http://www.bge.com/customerservice/stormsoutages/stormcenter/pages/default.aspx
Report an outage to BGE — https://secure.bge.com/Forms/Pages/ReportAnOutage.aspx