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Officials encourage residents to stay off the roads

Westminster cleans up, enjoys the aftermath of Saturday's epic snowstorm.

After a full day of plowing and treatments, many of Carroll's roads have started to be cleared following this weekend's blizzard, according to county officials. While many main roads are passable, they say there is still plenty of work to be done in the upcoming week.

Carroll County lifted its State of Emergency at 5 p.m. Sunday, but Deborah Lundahl, public information officer with the county, said many of the secondary roads still require a lot of work. State Highway Administration officials say each of the main highways in Carroll have at least one travel lane open in both directions as of Sunday evening, but planned to continue clearing shoulders, additional lanes and exit ramps.

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Carroll County schools, government offices and McDaniel College will all be closed Monday as snow clearing efforts are expected to continue.

Don't expect the snow to melt anytime soon; National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Elliott warned during the next few days, temperatures will be below freezing.

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"Anything that does melt will re-freeze, so expect some icy spots," Elliott said.

Elliott predicts a 25 percent chance of precipitation on Tuesday.

"We're expecting a very low impact, all liquid event," he said. "Nothing like what we just saw this weekend."

National Weather Service weather observer Herb Close Jr., who lives in Manchester on the second highest hill in the county, said he received a total 24.8 inches, with drifts up to 4 feet around his Mitsubishi 4x4 truck.

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"This wasn't my biggest storm, but it certainly wasn't anything to sneeze at," Close said. "We had lighter snow Friday evening than what they reported in other places."

Close said Carroll County received up to 30 inches in 1996, and residents were snowed in for two days.

"The winds were stronger in that storm. They weren't quite as strong in this storm where I live," Close said. "We're digging out now."

National Weather Service weather observer Bobby Miller, of Millers, said he received a total of 28 inches during this weekend's blizzard. While it wasn't the largest accumulation for Carroll County, it was significant.

"This was a record-type snowstorm," Miller said. "Now comes the big dig."

On Main Street, Westminster, a few cars braved the weather Sunday morning to get from place to place. By midday, each of the side streets were filled with residents digging themselves out of the heavy snowfall from Saturday. Some said they dug a little on Saturday, only to see their work covered again, while others said they stayed inside until the flakes stopped falling.

Ryan McGee, of Westminster, said he dug out his sidewalk on Saturday, but spent most of Sunday morning shoveling out his car. As plows cleared the roads, vehicles parked on the streets were blocked in by an added amount of packed-in snow. McGee said he was glad the snow happened over the weekend.

"This way I can spend most of the day today shoveling," McGee said. "I wouldn't want to have to do this tomorrow, when I have to go to work."

One conspicuous absence among the streets were the sights and sounds of children playing in the winter wonderland. There were few sledders about, and no half-built snowmen or snowball fights. Most of the people outside were focused on getting free from their homes. More than 30 inches of snow can be tough to navigate for anybody; it can be impossible for the younger, 4-foot and under crowd.

Jimmy Combs, a Towson University student living in Westminster, said that with the school closed Monday due to the snow, he planned to shovel and work on Sunday so he could have a play day the following day. He stayed in Saturday, and shoveled for hours on Sunday, so he wouldn't have any responsibilities during his Monday off.

Not everyone decided to hold their fun until after work was done.

Steve Allgeier spent his Saturday completing what he called his artistic project.

Inspired by a recent Minnesotan trend of leaving frozen pants outside in winter weather, Allgeier dunked a pair of jeans in the tub, brought them outside to freeze and spent the day moving them up and down Main Street Westminster.

"It was just a little bit of fun," Allgeier said. "I hope somebody saw them and had a good laugh."

The storm seemed to bring neighbors together, as people helped each other clear their cars, roads and walkways. Those with snowblowers popped in from house to house to help clear the huge accumulation.

Sandy Groseclose, of Westminster, was using her snowblower for the first time Sunday, having just bought the machine in November.

"I figured I was getting too old to keep shovelling," Groseclose said. "So I bit the bullet and bought a snowblower. I'm glad, now, I did."

In about an hour she had cleared sidewalks all along her street, including helping Allgeier out in his front yard. He said he was thankful for the aid.

"I don't know what I would have done without Sandy's help," Allgeier said. "Any help you can get on a day like today is great."

National Weather Service weather observer Ralph Hartsock, of Deer Park, said he used his snowblower for over five hours on Sunday morning.

"It's not easy. We have over 28 inches of snow," Hartsock said.

Hartsock said the snow was very difficult to accurately measure because some drifts were 4- to 5-feet deep.

"We take 10 measurements to get good average," Hartsock said.

Hartsock said when he started seeing information about this blockbuster storm last Sunday, he didn't believe them. "All the models really came true. They did a great job seeing this one coming," Hartsock said.

Hartsock said some models are predicting a possible snowstorm Thursday.

"The chances are low. It's the last thing we need. I love snow but we need a break," Hartsock said.

Foot's Forecast Executive Director Keith Krichinsky, of Hampstead, said his group was also keeping an eye on a potential Thursday snowstorm.

"It may not be a major ordeal. It's too soon to give anything definite," Krichinsky said.

410-857-7890

Twitter.com/Jacob_deNobel

410-857-7873

Twitter.com/michelelben

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