In Bel Air, a spring snow is good for snowball fights, comic books and pizza
By David Anderson
Mar 21, 2018 | 6:10 PM
Karisa Sikora, of Bel Air, and her children Zoe, 9, and Xavier, age 7, walked along Gordon Street toward the Klein’s ShopRite supermarket at Gordon and North Main Street Wednesday afternoon to pick up some groceries before going sledding on the nearby Bel Air Elementary School campus.
“It’s wonderful,” Zoe, a third-grader at Bel Air Elementary, said when asked how she was enjoying her snow day and this winter’s largest snowfall – on the second of spring.
“It’s OK, I’d rather be doing math,” Xavier, a first-grader, said.
He’ll have to wait until at least Friday, however, because early Wendesday evening, Harford County Public Schools announced classes would be canceled for at least a second day on Thursday. That will also require schools to be open on Thursday, March 28, which had been scheduled as the first day of spring break.
Xavier stopped to lie down in the heavy, white snow, and he and his sister and mother later engaged in an impromptu snowball fight during their trip to the supermarket.
“It’s exciting to be able to finally get a real snow day,” Karisa Sikora said. On the previous days schools have been closed, she said, the snow has been wet and slushy, not suitable for activities such as sledding.
“It’s funny that it snows on the second day of spring, but that’s Maryland weather for you,” said Sikora, who said she has lived in Maryland throughout her life.
The snowfall was light Wednesday morning, but it became steady by early afternoon. Government agencies and many businesses were closed in Bel Air. A few downtown stores and restaurants stayed open but closed early as the weather worsened.
Ken Matthews, assistant store director for the North Main Street ShopRite, said his store and other local ShopRites would close by 5 p.m. Wednesday to ensure employees get home safely.
Shoppers were in the Bel Air store around 2 p.m., although a much smaller crowd than the normal weekday afternoon. Matthews said the store opened at its normal time at 6 a.m., and the largest crowds were between 8 and 11 a.m. Matthews said the store has a number of walk-in customers.
She said she had received a call from the Collectors Corner owner who said she should close at 1:30 p.m. Collectors Corner operates three stores in Baltimore City, Parkville and Bel Air.
“Just because the roads are getting bad, and he wants to make sure that we get home safe,” Campbell said of the reason for closing stores early.
Campbell, who lives in Jacksonville in Baltimore County, said the main highways had been in good condition when driving into work, although side roads had been slushy.
The Buontempo Bros. pizza shop on South Main Street, a downtown Bel Air mainstay, was open and had lunchtime customers. The restaurant often stays open during inclement weather – co-owner Richard Lynch said he would close if the county declared a state of emergency, however.
Lynch said he and most of his employees live within walking distance, and those who live farther away have the option of not coming in.
“We’ve got a better track record than the post office for being open,” Lynch said.
The Harford County government had not declared a local state of emergency, nor had the state, as of 4:15 p.m.
The county did activate its Snow Plow Tracker, which is online at http://apps.harfordcountymd.gov/SnowPlowTracker/Disclaimer.aspx. County leaders urged residents, via Facebook, to stay off the roads and be patient as State Highway Administration and county crews work to clear snow that had hit “10 inches and counting” in some parts of Harford.
Buontempo’s customer Elaine Baxter, who lives and works in Bel Air, came in to get lunch while working in her downtown office. Baxter, who lives in town on Broadway, said she works in accounting and usually walks to her job.
“I’m fortunate to be able to be in town and be able to walk [to places],” she said.