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After 5 inches of snow in Carroll County, roads mainly clear, temps expected to rise

Snowfall over Carroll County ranged from about 4 to 6 inches Wednesday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Cody Ledbetter, with more at higher elevations.

That’s about what was expected by Foot’s Forecast Executive Director Keith Krichinsky, but not quite enough to qualify as what the group dubs a “Big Kahuna.”

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“For us a Big Kahuna is 6 inches or more of snow,” he said. “We didn’t quite get there. Here where I live in Hampstead, we got about 4.5 inches, so close, but no cigar.”

Trained spotters for the National Weather Service reported a little less than 4 inches of snow in the Eldersburg and Sykesville areas, about 4 to 4.5 inches in points north such as Uniontown, Manchester and Lineboro, 5.5 inches in Westminster and as much as 6.2 inches in Gamber, according to the National Weather Service’s preliminary snowfall map.

“The snow may have stopped but we still have freezing rain and sleet to deal with,” Krichinsky said around 3 p.m. Wednesday. The National Weather Service extended its Winter Storm Warning for Carroll County until 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Krichinsky said he expected freezing rain could continue as late as midnight Wednesday, while Ledbetter expected lower elevations would see a change over to regular rain as early as 9 p.m., with all precipitation moving out by Thursday morning.

“Once we get above freezing this evening, and once that transition occurs to rain, we don’t anticipate getting back to below freezing,” Ledbetter said. “[Thursday] we will have highs in the upper 40s, low 50s.”

How much lingering slush or ice impacts school closures or delays, Krichinsky said, remained to be seen. “It depends on how fast the county can get around to plowing and salting the school parking lots,” he said.

Carroll County Public Schools will be at least 2 hours late Thursday, after they closed for the sixth time for weather this school year Wednesday.

By 5 p.m., State Highway Administration crews had moved from plowing operations to salting roads and monitoring conditions, said Shantee Felix, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Ice accumulations between one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch, creating very hazardous driving conditions, were expected Wednesday afternoon into the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

“We expect temperatures to warm up [Thursday], and our crews will continue to monitor the forecast and treat the roads for icy conditions,” Felix said.

James Cook, Carroll County Bureau of Roads Chief, said all county-maintained roads were expected to be cleared by about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Additionally, Cook said, the bureau will have a skeleton crew — about 16 employees — working overnight in case temperatures drop below freezing and another group of workers ready to go at 4 a.m. just in case the extra salt needed to be spread.

Throughout the day Wednesday, SHA had approximately 80 pieces of equipment in Carroll County and more than 2,500 pieces statewide to clear roads. Shortly after 1 p.m., SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said Carroll’s state-maintained numbered routes were mostly wet but clear, but crews were continuing to reapply salt as earlier applications were diluted by the moisture, and would continue to do so until pavement and air temperatures were above freezing.

Gischlar said there had been a “fair share” of spinouts of vehicles and jack-knifed tractor-trailers earlier Wednesday wen snow was at its heaviest. He said many motorists who were on the roads were traveling too fast for the weather conditions, and reminded those who are on the roads that elevated surfaces such as bridges, ramps and overpasses freeze first.

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Sgt. McGee of the Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack said the agency handled roughly triple the number of crashes that they typically would by mid-afternoon Wednesday, all of which were weather-related.

Duty officers for both state police and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said no crashes had resulted in significant injuries as of 5:25 p.m.

There is at least something to look forward to for those sick of wintry weather, according to Ledbetter.

“Sunday it could be very warm. Friday and Saturday are still looking low 40s, about average this time of year,” he said. “But by Sunday, we could be looking into the low to mid-60s.”

Carroll County Times writers Jon Kelvey, Catalina Righter, Alex Mann and Wayne Carter contributed to this article.

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