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Old man winter frigidly enters Bitter cold, strong winds envelop Md.


Marylanders faced more bitter cold and strong winds tonight as Old Man Winter sought to balance the books on a thus-far unusually mild winter.

"Under normal winter conditions we would just call it 'quite cold' or something," said Ken Shaver, a National Weather Service forecaster at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

"For this winter I guess it is bitterly cold," he said.

The forecast called for gradually diminishing winds and very cold temperatures tonight, with lows near 15 degrees. With winds of 10 to 15 mph, the wind chill factor will make it feel like 10 below.

Tomorrow should be partly sunny and not as cold, with highs of 35 to 40 and southwest winds at 15 to 20 mph.

Last night, a snow squall slicked roads across the northern tier of counties. Police in Harford and Baltimore counties reported icy bridges, slippery roads, minor accidents and rush-hour traffic jams in many northern and western sections. Especially hard hit were Dulaney Valley Road, Greenspring Valley Road, the Jarrettsville Pike and Manor Road in northern Baltimore County and in western Harford County.

There were fender benders and long backups, police said, but no serious injuries.

Cpl. John O'Brien, a Baltimore County police dispatcher, said, "We're still having our share of accidents, but it's not a typical snow day. After a good snow, we're loaded up by this time."

The poor road conditions prompted Harford County to open schools one hour late. Other area school systems opened on time.

The powerful northwest winds blew several inches of lake-effect snows across Garrett County. One inch fell in Cumberland.

Temperatures at the airport fell from 29 degrees at midnight to 19 degrees by midmorning, with winds at 30 mph and the wind-chill factor at 19 degrees below zero, Shaver said. Wind gusts peaked at 51 mph at 7:14 a.m.

Peggy Mulloy, spokeswoman for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said the winds caused few power outages. Only 1,500 customers throughout the service area were without service at midmorning.

One of those customers was the new Joppa View Elementary School, in Perry Hall, where a falling tree this morning cut power to the school. Students were sent home, but repairs were expected in time to reopen on schedule tomorrow.

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