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Morning snow causes Baltimore County schools to close, complicates commute

Snow began to fall Thursday morning in Baltimore County, just in time for the morning rush hour, prompting schools to close.

Baltimore County Public Schools announced a delayed opening and the cancelation of morning preschool early Thursday morning, and called for a snow day at 7 a.m.

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The Community College of Baltimore County announced its three main campuses in Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex and extension campuses will open on a delay at 10 a.m. County government offices will open on time along with county public libraries and senior centers, according to county websites.

"We're salting county-wide. There will probably be some slick spots. I would warn everyone to proceed with caution this morning," county spokeswoman Lauren Watley said.

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Crews from the county's Department of Public Works are salting roads and have seen about an inch of accumulation, said county spokeswoman Lauren Byrd.

There are 350 personnel deployed, using roughly 250 plow trucks to clear the roads, Watley said.

The storm is the result of a fast-moving system traveling from the Gulf of Mexico toward North and South Carolina, said Dan Hofman, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

Hofman said NWS estimates about 1.5 inches of snowfall for the south part of the county and an inch to the north.

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"The snow could taper off sometime before noon," Hofman said. "The rest of the day should be clear."

Baltimore County Fire Department firefighter dispatcher Dana Canak said the department had not responded to any accidents at 8 a.m.

"We don't have any accident information on the boards.  We have been here since 4 a.m. this morning," Canak said. "In this kind of weather anything is possible."

According to county storm data collecting between November and Feb. 16, the county has spent nearly $9 million on storm-related costs this year between salt and labor. Eleven weather events have brought nearly 22.5 inches of sleet, snow and ice to county roads this year, county data shows.

Watley said the county budgets $6 million for storm-related costs each year.

"At the end of the year the money is taken from an allocated fund -- some years it is more, some years it is less," Watley said. "We're always going to have money for snow removal."

Last year, the county spent nearly $14 million on 19 storm-related events, county data shows.

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