As state shivers, Garrett Co. is also vexed by snow Storm moving north; warmer weather forecast


The winds were blowing at 20 miles an hour or better. The temperatures dropped as the day passed, down to the teens in the Baltimore area.

It was a bone-chilling day, with the windchill factor last night dropping to 10 below. What could be worse?

Snow. Swirling, stinging, blinding, drifting white stuff fell throughout the day in Garrett County yesterday and was expected to reach an accumulation of 10 to 15 inches by today in some parts of Maryland's westernmost county.

As of last night, the amount of snowfall in Garrett County had reached 8 to 10 inches. Blowing and drifting, with winds sometimes reaching 30 miles an hour, it looked like a blizzard.

"It's been blowing real hard. Sometimes we can't even see across the street," Susan Crosby, a secretary at the town hall in Oakland, said. Ms. Crosby said the snow began Thursday night and was continuing on and off.

She said Oakland had gotten about 6 inches by midafternoon.

"It's not that much, but the snow blowing around is the hardest part," she said.

Most of the main roads were passable, she said, but drifting was "real bad" on the secondary roads.

Butch Smith, a road supervisor for the southern part of the county, said he believed that some areas had received between 6 to 8 inches of snow as of yesterday afternoon. The roads were being tended to, he said, "but the visibility has been very poor, sometimes zero. The winds are also causing a lot of drifting."

In Friendsville, Betty Wolford of the Friendsville Pharmacy said her area had gotten between 3 and 4 inches. And Beverly Diehl, who works in Grantsville at the deli and gas station, said that area had received about 3 or 4 inches and counting.

At the Wisp Resort Hotel near Deep Creek Lake, front-office manager Janet Atkinson said about 5 inches had fallen and more was on the way. Despite the arctic conditions, Ms. Atkinson said, the forecast for snow had attracted skiers to make business "great for this weekend."

No serious accidents were reported on county roads, but police were busy tending to a lot of "fender benders," said Cpl. Larry Gnegy of the Garrett County Sheriff's Department.

No roads were closed as of yesterday afternoon, but Corporal Gnegy said he expected some county roads would be closed throughout the night because of the drifting.

The snow was largely confined to Garrett County. State police reported only flurries or a dusting in Allegany County, and no snowfall in the areas around Hagerstown and Frederick.

Corporal Gegy said the snowstorm was about the fifth of the winter season in Garrett County -- a "mild winter" by local standards for an area that has had as much as 200 inches in a single year.

"We've seen more bare ground this year, compared to some of the other winters," the corporal said.

Garrett's snow and the cold conditions throughout the state were a result of a "very deep storm," said Amet Figueroa of the National Weather Service's office at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

He said that although the system had passed west of the state Thursday and was now in Canada, it was a big enough storm to bring the strong winds and cold weather usually associated with deep storms.

"Because it is such an intense storm, even though it is quite a ways away from the area, it is still influencing us," he said. "They're having cold air as far south as Florida."

As the storm keeps moving north, the winds will diminish and temperatures will slowly rise, Mr. Figueroa said. Low temperatures last night were expected to get down to between zero and 5 degrees in Western Maryland. Add in the windchill factor, and it will feel like 40 degrees below zero, he said.

In the Baltimore area, temperatures were expected to drop to the teens last night, with a windchill factor making it feel like it could be between zero and 10 degrees, he said.

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