Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Taking a snow day

Lydia Tracht, 2, was stuck. She was bundled up in a pink overcoat and positioned on a sled near the top of a steep hill.

She was ready to glide down the hill, but it was a struggle. Too much slush, mud and slop. Not enough snow.

A powerful winter storm pushed through the mid-Atlantic as expected Wednesday, but many areas received considerably less snow than forecast. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Carroll County Wednesday with 6 to 8 inches of snow predicted. Most snow totals fell short of that.

Just 4.5 inches of snow fell in Westminster, according to Carroll County Emergency Management. By mid-afternoon, much of that snow had melted before Lydia and her siblings Toby, 4, and Finley, 3, tried sledding down a hill overlooking Md. 31 near Westminster.

"I wish we had more [snow]," said their father, David, while a mix of rain, sleet and snow fell. "It's a lot of slush."

Blame surface temperatures hovering just above freezing for that. It led to quick melting of the already wet snow in Westminster and points south and east. Portions of North Carroll received steady snow through the afternoon, but roads even there remained mostly wet.

With Carroll County Public Schools canceled and just 13 days until spring, some residents decided to trek out during the snow - and at some points, the snow-rain mixture.

Amanda Smith, 9, trudged up a hill near McDaniel College, blue circular sled in hand, around noon Wednesday. She shrieked as she slid down to the bottom, where dad, Andrew, was waiting.

For Amanda, it was a reprieve from school. For dad, it was one from work. So the two bundled up in thick coats and hats, drove to the hill, unloaded their two sleds and began climbing up and down, up and down.

"We're going to go until she drops," Andrew Smith said.

A few minutes later, it was time to reward themselves with hot chocolate.

Others though, such as emergency management personnel, still had to go to work.

County road crews worked through the wet, slushy conditions of the day and the evening commuting hours. They then took a break before going out again to prep the roads for the Thursday morning commute, according to Roberta Windham, county government spokeswoman.

Maryland State Highway Administration crews did the same Wednesday, salting the roads where needed, particularly in the northern part of the county experiencing cooler temperatures.

Some children braved the cold during the day. Near Westminster Elementary School, three neighbors had created a snowman - complete with black buttons, an orange nose, a black hat and a red scarf - and were on to their second.

Grady Baldwin, 8, rolled a ball of snow around in the ground along the 100 block of Slate Drive in Westminster to enlarge it and perfect its circular shape.

A few feet away, Alina Nowosielski, 11, and Marli Baldwin, 12, worked on the other two big snowballs for the snowman's body.

"Do we have any carrots in the house?" Baldwin asked, an idea for the snowman's face forming. He suggested they use fruit snacks for the mouth.