First snow blankets some of Harford the day before Thanksgiving

Snow begins to pile up along Gordon Street in Bel Air during Wednesday's snow.
Snow begins to pile up along Gordon Street in Bel Air during Wednesday's snow. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Wednesday's first snow of the "winter" of 2014-15 in Harford County turned out to be little more than a nuisance.

Some roads were slick and, as would be expected on the day before Thanksgiving, some travel was delayed along I-95 and elsewhere. For the most part, however, the snow arrived as a changeover from rain in the late morning, as had been predicted, and skedaddled from the area by nightfall.


There were some "thunder snow" conditions reported from Bel Air, however, and lightning hit a tree near a home in Jarrettsville, according to the Harford County Fire and EMS Association's media Facebook Page.

"So we've avoided our first significant snowfall for the season," Department of Emergency Services spokesman Robert Thomas said shortly after 3 p.m.


Steady rain in the early and mid-morning gave way to snow in Bel Air shortly before 11 a.m., and the snow kept coming at good clip until it began to taper off to flurries by 2 p.m. Temperatures in the mid-30s kept accumulations on the roads to a minimum, however.

No Harford County roads were closed and no significant traffic incidents were reported in the county, according to Thomas, who also said the county Emergency Operations Center did not have to be activated to a snow emergency mode.

The lightning strike, reported shortly before noon, did generate smoke in an adjoining home in the 2400 block of Linda Lane in Jarrettsville, fire and EMS officials said. Responding firefighters said there was no damage to the dwelling and no injuries.

Harford County Public Works Director Tim Whittie said DPW crews began salting and clearing county roads around noon.


"The snow started coming down pretty heavily and covering the roads, especially in the northern end of the county," Whittie said.

"The roads are clear right now," he said around 4 p.m. "We salted them all, and they're clear, just wet."

Whittie said the northwestern part of Harford received the heaviest snowfall, and public works resources were moved to the north from southern parts of the county, where the snow was not sticking to the roads.

Whittie said he planned to have trucks out on the roads until early evening.

Kelly Long, of Forest Hill, said she saw a truck that had gone off the side of the road near her home in the Grafton Shop Road area at about 12:30 p.m.

Long, who was picking up cake and desserts for Thanksgiving at Bel Air Bakery early Wednesday afternoon, said the snow seemed a little heavier in her neck of the woods.

"Traffic wasn't terrible, but you're combining it with everyone running around doing errands for Thanksgiving," she noted.

Long said the burst of fluffy flakes was more than she had expected.

"I thought it was going to miss us," she said.

Nevertheless, the snowy day was exciting for her children, 4-year-old twins, a 3-year-old and a baby.

"We have young kids, so they like it," she said, adding it's her baby's first snow, "so we are excited about that."

A steady stream of customers visited Courtland Hearth and Hardware on Bond Street in downtown Bel Air. The store was already running Black Friday sales, which will continue through early December, and customers also came to pick up gloves, snow shovels and ice-melting materials, cashier Barbara Gizinski said.

She noted the store sells ice melt that is pet-friendly.

"We've sold quite a few snow shovels," Gizinski said.

Customer Len Nicewonger, of Bel Air, said the snow had not affected him at all, and he still planned to travel to Southern Maryland for Thanksgiving.

"This is light, compared to what we've had," he said. "I have a four-wheel-drive truck, so I don't have any problems."

Customer Rick Gempko, of Forest Hill, held a grain shovel that he said is also an effective snow shovel, and he was looking for ice scrapers.

"It'll take care of the ice," he said of the feed shovel.

"I travel 48 weeks out of the year, so this is my time to stay home," said Gempko, a vice president of sales for the Deli Express sandwich company.

"Slow down," he said of advice he would give to drivers making their way through the slushy streets. "It's just the number one thing, whether you have four-wheel-drive or not."

County Councilman Chad Shrodes, who lives in Norrisville in the far northwestern corner of the county, said he got a few inquiries about Route 136 being "pretty treacherous."

He said he called State Highway Administration about getting some plows and trucks to the northern area.

Although he was spending most of Wednesday in Bel Air, he heard from his wife that snow was sticking early Wednesday.

"I know they have a couple inches up there," he said.

At the opposite end of the county in Havre de Grace, Bill Reeder, of the city's public works department, said they had not yet needed to do anything with the streets.

"It's just another rainy day in Havre de Grace," he reported. "Everything's kind of quiet."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun