Expected snow fizzles in drizzle Only a few flakes so far, but inch (yawn) could fall today.


Today's weather forecast: High Anxiety, Part II.

With yesterday's predictions of 1 to 3 inches of snow still fresh in our minds, the National Weather Service advises today that a massive low pressure system out of the Carolinas is pushing northward to Maryland and that -- are you ready? -- an inch of snow could fall in the western and north-central parts of the state.

Also be advised that temperatures around the state today will reach the upper 30s.

Nonetheless, snow plows and salt trucks were out overnight making sure that the drizzle and rain didn't ice the roads. There were some fender-bender road accidents yesterday, and a couple of county school systems opened two hours late today.

And, in typical Baltimore response to a forecast of snow, folks trekked to their nearby markets and stocked up on bread, toilet paper and other necessities.

"We're a little gun-shy after yesterday," said Bob Melrose, a forecaster for the National Weather Service at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The service, which revised its forecast several times yesterday, eventually settled for 1 to 3 inches in central Maryland and possibly as much as 6 inches in Western Maryland.

At the State Police barracks at Cumberland today, you could almost hear the yawns.

"Nothing much up this way," said Sgt. Michael Mattingly. "We have several inches at the most and some roads are slippery but we've had no accidents."

In Bel Air, State Police Sgt. Roy Nelson said the storm "didn't match up to its billing." School officials in Harford County ordered classes in secondary schools to start two hours late today and elementary schools to be closed.

In Carroll County, where schools also opened two hours late today, State Police Sgt. Andrew Mays said "we had a couple of fender-benders, a drunk ran off the road, nothing major."

Schools also opened two hours late in Frederick County and the Hereford zone in northern Baltimore County.

Phase 1 of the snow emergency plan was in effect today in Garrett and Carroll counties. Vehicles were required to be equipped with snow tires or radials or chains.

Melrose said a radar screen reading indicated today, as it did yesterday, that "we're going to get clobbered."

"But yesterday's system veered and dumped all of the snow farther north," he pointed out. "Today, we will get perhaps an inch of snow in some places but mostly rain because it will be approaching 40 degrees outside."

About 2 inches of snow could fall in Western Maryland, the weather service said.

Melrose said the weather will clear up tomorrow, and Saturday should be sunny. Temperatures should be in the high 40s or low 50s, he said.

Unlike previous snowstorms this winter that snarled traffic and caused motorists to abandon their vehicles in mid-commute, yesterday's was tame, although the weather left in its wake a number of auto accidents throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area.

While there were no fatal accidents, several people received minor injuries in collisions in the city and at various locations in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

City police said there were 38 personal-injury accidents during the snowfall that sent drivers or their passengers to hospitals for precautionary measures.

In Baltimore County, State Police at the Valley barracks responded to at least four personal-injury accidents, including one three-car accident on the Baltimore Beltway just east of the York Road overpass that injured a Cub Hill woman and her two sons.

The injured were taken to two hospitals and released after being treated for head, neck and chest injuries.

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