One last word of winter


At least 2 inches of snow will fall in the city by tonight while up to six inches could accumulate in counties north of the city and in Western Maryland as winter refuses to defer to the start of spring, eight days away.

Last year on this date, the weather also was contrary. The high temperature was 92 degrees.

Dick Diener, a forecaster for the National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, said the latest forecast calls for 1 to 2 inches to snow to fall in the city. Residents of Baltimore, Harford and Carroll counties will see 2 to fTC 6 inches of snow, with higher amounts in northern sections.

In the mountainous region of Western Maryland, 4 to 6 inches of snow are expected, Diener said.

He said the warm ground was expected to melt the initial snowfall until later in the day.

The storm will move out of the state by tomorrow morning, the weather service said.

The snow started to fall shortly after 9 a.m. in the city and was expected to continue through the night into tomorrow morning, said Bob Melrose, another weather service forecaster.

Mixed precipitation was expected south and east of the city. Temperatures were expected to be in the low to mid 30s through the day and overnight.

Two separate fronts moving from the west and south are responsible for forming the storm.

A swirling low-pressure front that moved through the Midwest stalled for a time at the Appalachian Mountains before it picked up again and started its slow approach to the East Coast.

That storm met a moisture-laden system moving up from the South, triggering the collision of a cold front and a system of warm, moist air that moved up from Florida.

Today's mid-30s temperatures were expected to drop only a few degrees overnight because of the cloud cover, Melrose said.

Today's snow comes a day after Baltimore school officials announced a new policy that provides the option of delaying the opening of school until 10 a.m. in case of bad weather.

Classes were held on a normal schedule today.

The plan is an attempt to boost attendance on snow days by giving students and staff members more time to get to school, said Douglas J. Neilson, spokesman for the school department.

Previously, officials could either close school for the entire day or leave it open, despite poor attendance on days when the weather is especially bad.

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