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Snow could snarl early St. Patrick's commute

White could be the new green this St. Patrick's Day.

A winter weather system moving into the Mid-Atlantic brought the potential of up to six inches of snow, beginning just in time for the Monday commute.

A winter storm warning was in effect for Anne Arundel, Howard and southern Baltimore counties, as well as points south, through 2 p.m. Monday. A winter weather advisory was in effect for Carroll, Frederick, Harford and northern Baltimore counties, also through 2 p.m.

The National Weather Service called for three to six inches of accumulation under the storm warning, and two to five inches in those areas covered by the advisory.

"We're going to get some good snow," National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Lee said.

Lee said the low pressure system will sit off the Carolina coast, meaning less of a direct hit than if the low pressure was located off the Virginia coast.

"I don't want to diminish this," he said. "[Monday's] rush hour will be impacted, and it'll be snowing pretty good for those who are leaving for work in the morning."

Temperatures were expected to peak Monday in the low 30s after an overnight low in the lower 20s. Slippery roads were possible, according to the National Weather Service.

Accuweather meteorologist Brian Edwards said, "The heaviest is probably done with by the mid-morning hours. I could see some lingering snow and flurries through 2 p.m."

He added that the Baltimore area should see two to four inches, and areas north will see less. Locations just north of the Mason-Dixon Line will see about an inch.

For Marylanders growing tired of a long, snowy winter, Lee says, the end may be in sight.

"If people are looking forward to springtime ... relief is on the way toward the end of the week, with highs becoming much more normal: in the upper 50s to low 60s" Lee said.

The first day of spring is Thursday.

Baltimore-area school systems have exhausted their allotted snow days, and some governments have had to restock on road salt. Commercial businesses have also sold out of salt and snow melt during recent storms.

Before this storm system, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the official weather location for Baltimore, has received 30.7 inches of snow this season, Edwards said.

With temperatures in the 60s Saturday, and another warm spell ahead, Monday's snow may serve as the last wintry blast of the season. But Edwards says anything is possible in March in Maryland.

"March can still be a turbulent time of year," Edwards said. "You can still get big swings in temperatures in the month of March. That's not out of the ordinary. Sometimes the snow can be big, because they're coming up from the Gulf."

sjwelsh@baltsun.com

twitter.com/seanjwelsh

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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