'Take it easy out there': High winds, slippery roads expected as county tries to return to normalcy after storm

After the first major snowstorm of the season somewhat underperformed Tuesday, one Carroll official was hoping for "business as usual" on Wednesday, with forecasts calling for high winds and, perhaps, a bit more snow.

National Weather Service meteorologist Isha Renta said Tuesday that winds would pick up, gusting as high as 30 mph Tuesday night and 25 mph overnight with a low temperature of 18 degrees.

Renta said there was a 30 percent chance of snow showers Wednesday with a high around 26.

"The winds will really pick up," Renta said. "We expect 15 to 25 sustained with gusting up to 40 mph."

Jeff Castonguay, the county director of public works, said they're hoping for "business as usual" on Wednesday. He expected that the work that was done throughout Tuesday would keep roads drivable throughout the night, before county crews headed out again around 2 a.m. to get another layer of salt down in advance of the Wednesday morning commute, he said.

"They should be good to go," he said.

Crews were working to get roads cleared Tuesday so Carroll County Public Schools staff could get out to the facilities and get snow removed.

"We're going to make every effort to get the roads clear enough for buses," Castonguay said.

The school system announced Tuesday afternoon that Wednesday's schools would open two hours later than usual (with a 7 a.m. re-evaluation) because of the potentially hazardous conditions.

Lindsey Franey, a spokeswoman with the State Highway Administration, said roads were cleared and passable by Tuesday afternoon, but she cautioned drivers that many remained wet and could refreeze as temperatures dropped during the night.

Crews planned to continue to salt roads overnight, but Franey said with temperatures hovering around freezing and mixed precipitation falling instead of pure snow it can be difficult to prevent leftover wetness from freezing and creating slick conditions. She advised drivers to slow down and treat any area that seems wet with caution, as well as delay any travel on Wednesday morning until temperatures rise.

Franey said drivers should remember to stay behind any plows they encounter, and reminded motorists that any intersection that has lost power should be treated as a four-way stop. She said several intersections lost power Tuesday, but crews were able to restore power to each of them by the early afternoon.

According to Keith Krichinsky, of Foot's Forecast in Hampstead, snow and sleet may melt over the next few days, but the temperature will drop down below freezing in the evenings refreezing the melted precipitation and making walking and driving continue to be hazardous for the rest of the week. Krichinsky said there is no doubt in his mind that black ice will continue to be a major factor for Carroll residents until the weather warms up to the 40s this weekend.

Castonguay warned that despite the best efforts of roads crews, there could still be slippery spots plaguing motorists.

"We try to get 100 percent, but there's always some spots around," he said. "Take it easy out there."

Times reporter Emily Chappell contributed to this story.

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