The forecasters aren't backing away from their predictions that the snowstorm expected to arrive in Harford County sometime today (Friday) will be a whopper. Take them seriously.
The slow-moving storm is expected to be on par with the memorable – and crippling – snowfalls of February 2010, February 2003, January 1996 and February 1983, the Baltimore Sun's Scott Dance noted in an online article Thursday morning.
As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service continued to maintain a blizzard watch for Harford and the rest of the Baltimore region, with a prediction of between a foot and two feet of snow to fall before the storm moves away late Saturday. Accompanying all that snow will be winds from 25-35 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph.
With a forecast like this, drifting snow and whiteout conditions are likely, and there will probably be many power outages and every other dangerous situation that accompanies a storm of this magnitude.
Fortunately, there has been plenty of fair warning on this storm, which meteorologists have been tracking from the West Coast since late last week. There's been plenty of time to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, as the all too familiar saying goes whenever a potentially devastating storm is forecast. And, while it's true that not every forecast of a really big storm turns out to be anything but, why take a chance?
Ahead of the pending white doom forecast to immobilize us, we are encouraging everyone to be smart and look out for each other.
The public works directors of Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace and a spokesperson for Harford County government remind people not to park along snow emergency routes and clear sidewalks where the law requires.
County spokesperson Cindy Mumby urges residents to not park their vehicles along the street, as they impede snow plows, but if they must park on their streets, keep the vehicles on the side of the street fronted by even-numbered houses "until the opposite side is cleared."
"The bottom line is, the county workforce is preparing for what may be coming so that we can keep our citizens safe," added Mumby, who also reminded residents to look out for the well-being of their neighbors, particularly elderly folks.
At Tuesday's city council meeting, Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin had some good advice to dispense, which applies to all of us, regardless where we call home.
In asking residents to be sensitive to each other, Martin said: "Use this as another example of a time we can come together and show everybody the true character and caliber of who we are as a city."
He encouraged city residents to help neighbors shovel snow and to avoid stealing parking spots that have been shoveled clear of the heavy snow by the hard work of others.
"Be cool; be kind to your neighbor," he said. "Let's embrace adversity, as I always say."
We don't know so much about embracing adversity, but it's pretty clear that we'll at least have to survive it, if not tolerate it.
Less than 48 hours ahead of the event, the National Weather Service, which is prone to more measured forecasts than the breathless, sky is falling approach of broadcasters looking for a ratings boost, is making it pretty clear this is a big, dangerous storm.
Here are parts of the Wednesday warning from the National Weather Service: "Blizzard watch remains in effect from Friday afternoon through late Saturday night … Heavy snow and wind with blowing and drifting snow … accumulations 12 to 24 inches … heaviest snow … strongest winds … and potential life threatening conditions expected Friday night through Saturday … heavy snow and blowing snow will cause dangerous conditions and will be a threat to life and property."
That's serious stuff. Please take it seriously during the storm, and keep calm and be neighborly after the storm passes.