Winter storm socks Eastern Shore, but largely spares Baltimore area

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In Ocean City, between 6 and 8 inches of snow covered roads and beaches by late afternoon.

A winter storm that moved up the Atlantic coast Saturday mostly spared the Baltimore region but dumped the state's heaviest snowfall on the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland.

The National Weather Service said parts of St. Mary's and Calvert counties got between 5 inches and 7 inches of snow Saturday.

In Ocean City, between 6 inches and 8 inches of snow covered roads and beaches by late afternoon, said Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan. A large convention of 4,000 people had come into town, but most arrived Friday before the storm, he said.

"We haven't experienced any major problems," said Meehan, who noted that no power outages had been reported.

"It's an anomaly to see the boardwalk and the beach covered with snow. It's unique," he said Saturday. "Right now it's beautiful out — but still driving can be dangerous."

The storm produced heavy snow accumulations in Virginia and northeast North Carolina before moving northeast. In those areas, icy roads caused hundreds of crashes and thousands of people lost power.

North Carolina reported more than 250 crashes. Virginia State Police said they responded to 325 crashes and 322 disabled vehicles across the state between midnight and noon Saturday. Hundreds of crashes were reported in Tennessee starting Friday. Parts of three interstates in Mississippi have turned into parking lots as motorists were stuck when the roads became too icy to negotiate. The weather was believed to be responsible for a 20-vehicle pileup on a Connecticut highway, although initial reports indicated there were no serious injuries.

Power outages had grown to about 25,000 in North Carolina alone, according to a news release from the governor. By sunset on Saturday, the number had dwindled to just below 2,400.

Baltimore was mostly spared. The city saw about an inch of snow, and Reisterstown recorded 0.2 inches, according to the weather service.

Baltimore County police reported no snow-related incidents, and city police said there were several minor accidents.

Anne Arundel County had been under a winter weather advisory, and by 11:45 a.m., 1 inch of snow had fallen in Edgewater. BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport reported a little less than a half-inch of snow as of 1 p.m. Saturday.

Capt. Russ Davies with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said by early afternoon the department had responded to seven vehicle accidents — none fatal and three reporting minor injuries.

On the Eastern Shore, Maryland State Police at the Berlin barrack said officers responded to four disabled vehicles and seven minor collisions early Saturday, none resulting in injuries.

Elsewhere, at least two deaths are being blamed on the weather. In Kentucky, a man was killed when his pickup truck went off a snow-slick road Thursday. In Georgia, a 20-year-old Georgia State University student was killed after his SUV crashed on Interstate 75 in Monroe County.

State Highway Administration crews plowed and salted Coastal Highway, and Ocean City public works crews worked on side streets and the Convention Center parking lot. Traffic was light as the city implemented a snow emergency plan.

Many recreation and parks programs were canceled for both Saturday and Sunday in the beach resort town, and Meehan encouraged people to stay inside.

"It's cold and windy," he said.

The storm carried sustained winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour and gusts of 25 miles per hour to Ocean City, with a low of around 17 degrees Saturday evening.

Nevertheless, a winter storm warning remained in place through 1 a.m. Sunday for the lower Eastern Shore, with Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties bracing for freezing drizzle and temperatures in the lower 20s overnight.

A National Weather Service forecast said final snow totals could be 6 to 10 inches in those areas, both inland and on beaches.

The forecast for Sunday on the Eastern Shore was expected to be sunny but cold, with wind chills as low as zero.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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