Carroll residents getting cabin fever should at least be able to get out and shovel Sunday, but the heavy accumulation and high winds brought by Winter Storm Jonas created difficulties for those charged with keeping roads clear.
Major roads may be passable Sunday but still very challenging to drive safely, while secondary roads will remain hazardous to drivers, said Deborah Lundahl, public information officer for Carroll County government.
Carroll County government declared a state of emergency for the county at 8 a.m. Saturday, meaning all personal travel on the roads is banned until the state of emergency is lifted. It was still in effect as of 6 p.m. Saturday.
Throughout the day, plow drivers dealt with heavy accumulation, particularly during the mid- to late afternoon, and high winds, which re-covered already plowed roads and lowered visibility for the drivers.
State Highway Administration spokeswoman Kellie Boulware said motorists should allow another day or two before attempting to hit the roads.
According to the National Weather Service, travel may be hazardous throughout the upcoming week as above-freezing temperature days are expected to combine with freezing cold nights to melt and refreeze the piles of snow.
Carroll residents awoke Saturday morning to as much as 12 to 15 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service, and by evening, those totals had more than doubled in most places.
Unofficial estimates from trained weather spotters in Carroll showed 31 inches had fallen in Eldersburg, 30 inches in Westminster, 28 inches in Manchester and Mount Airy, 26 inches in Taneytown, 24 inches in Hampstead by 6 p.m. Saturday. Snow drifts made it difficult to get accurate estimates.
Few in Westminster braved the storm Saturday as the constant snowfall likely discouraged early shovelers from trying to dig their cars out.
Not everyone decided to hunker down, however; McDaniel College student Jason Lawrence, from Fallston, said he and a few other of McDaniel's lacrosse players decided to try to keep ahead of the ever-increasing snow totals by shoveling out their cars on Hersh Road in Westminster Saturday morning. Soon, they were recruited into a shoveling mission.
"While we were shoveling our sidewalk, our neighbors came over and explained that there were people on the street who were elderly and couldn't get outside," Lawrence said. "We decided to help them out by shoveling their walks as well."
Lawrence said three or four of the players began shoveling and eventually cleared the sidewalk for the entire length of the road. With the steady snowfall, though, it was soon covered again. By 12:30 p.m. Lawrence said they've cleared the sidewalks three times.
"You just want to stay ahead of it. With these kinds of snowstorms, you really have to help the people that need it," Lawrence said. "It can help someone tremendously, just to do a little bit of work. If they're working, or just want to go out, I want to make sure they have a clear and safe path."
Wind gusts of 15 to 25 miles per hour were recorded in Westminster, but a National Weather Service meteorologist said it has not been steadily or consistently strong. Around the county, brief gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour were recorded, blowing snow over cleared areas.
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