Howard schools will open two hours late Thursday

After Howard County closed schools Wednesday because of a snowstorm accompanied by a second round of the "polar vortex," officials announced that school would resume on Thursday, starting two hours late.

On Tuesday, the first flakes of the storm that had been expected to bring six to 10 inches of snow to the county, according to the National Weather Service, began to fall in the morning.


About 9:45 a.m., snow had already started to accumulate on Columbia Gateway Drive, according to a tweet from the Howard County Economic Development Authority.

The county was under a winter storm warning until 11 p.m. Tuesday.

A cold snap has followed the snow, and Howard County was under a wind-chill advisory from 6 p.m. Tuesday through noon Wednesday. With snow still falling into Tuesday night and temperatures dropping, school officials decided to cancel school on Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, snow began in parts of Howard County between 7 and 10 a.m., with the heaviest snow falling during the midday and afternoon. Wind chills were expected to be between five and 15 degrees below zero Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, with lows in the single digits Tuesday night and in the teens on Wednesday.

Winds with gusts up to 40 miles per hour were forecast for Wednesday morning.

Students already had the day off Tuesday in the Howard County Public School System for a professional development day. Teachers and staff were initially supposed to report to work at 10 a.m., but in a second email school officials said both schools and offices would be closed Tuesday.

All evening activities, both school- and community-sponsored, were canceled. That included sports and practices. That also included the information session on the Common Core State Standards Initiative scheduled Wednesday night at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia.

The Howard County Library System, Howard County Recreation and Parks facilities and Howard Community College were closed Tuesday.

The Columbia Association announced its liberal leave policy was in effect. The organization canceled all classes, programs and activities scheduled after 10 a.m. and said its headquarters would close at noon.

All Howard County senior centers were closed Tuesday, according to officials. The Howard County Center for the Arts and the Welcome Center in historic Ellicott City also closed.

A Howard County Council public hearing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. also was canceled. The hearing was rescheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m..