The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch that includes Carroll County. The watch will go into effect noon Friday through early Sunday morning.
"We're expecting heavy snow, strong winds and low visibility," said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Hofmann. "We are expecting a major storm with well over a foot of snow. There's potential for Carroll County to see two feet."
Foot's Forecast Executive Director Keith Krichinsky, of Hampstead, said he is most concerned about how slow-moving the storm appears to be and how fast the winds may become.
"We're comparing it to 2010's storms. This storm is going to sit off the coast and spin there, hitting us for about 36 hours," Krichinsky explained. "The winds are going to kick up during the second half of the storm. They could be gale-force winds that last about 12 hours."
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker said winds will strengthen, averaging 15 to 30 mph with even faster gusts, as the storm moves off the Maryland-Delaware coastline.
National Weather Service weather observer Ralph Hartsock, of Deer Park, expects the snowfall to be heavy.
"This has the potential to become a crippling blizzard, but it's too early to tell at this point. We'll know by Thursday morning," Hartsock said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Lasorsa forecasted the snow would begin Friday morning, with heaviest accumulation occurring Friday afternoon. He said the storm should wind down Saturday night.
"We have a low-pressure system tracking up the coast, developing over the southern plains on Thursday. It's expected to come up the Mid-Atlantic coast Friday," Lasorsa said.
On Tuesday, the Carroll County Department of Public Works issued a public service announcement urging drivers to avoid being on the roads during plowing operations and to use caution while on the roads.
State Highway Administration spokesperson Charlie Gischlar said his crew is ready for the storm.
"We're always prepared. They just don't know how much so we have everything ready," Gischlar said. "If it starts as snow not rain, we'll probably pretreat the day before. We don't know yet, but we'll make a decision Wednesday or Thursday and prepare accordingly."
National Weather Service weather observer Bobby Miller, of Millers, said the predicted storm's arrival time was not guaranteed.
"We're unsure of the start time on Friday but remember that just because you had a mild December doesn't mean winter is over," Miller said. "Although we had mild December 1982, we had a heavy snow on Feb. 11, 1983. It snowed over 2 feet. It can happen."
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