Snow misses area but blankets Eastern Shore


The snow that missed Baltimore fell instead on the lower Eastern Shore, where 6 to 9 inches transformed the sands at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge into a white dream worthy of Audubon.

"We saw a cardinal in a pine tree set against the snow," said Leslie Morton, a refuge manager who led visitors on a count of snow geese and tundra swans and other birds yesterday. "Snow is unusual here, it's odd to see it on the beach and sand dunes. But to watch an egret reflecting in a pool of water -- a white bird with white snow all around -- that's something spectacular."

Yesterday, flurries amounting to less than two-tenths of an inch fluttered through the Baltimore metropolitan area during the day. Light snow began falling again during the evening. In Baltimore, the thermometer dropped to 19 degrees by 4 a.m. and held steady until late morning, rising only a few degrees after that. A low of 19 was also reported at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Today the forecast was for northwest winds of 20 to 25 mph, with higher gusts, and temperatures in the 20s in the morning, climbing to the low 30s in the afternoon. Gale warnings were posted for the Chesapeake Bay and the shore.

"Look for a lot of wind," said Fred Davis, chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service at BWI.

"It'll be cold and windy," he said, with some sunshine. "When you have a snowstorm with a cold front right behind it, things get colder than normal, but nothing unusual for late December."

Most of the snow fell on Tuesday between 6:42 a.m. and 6:11 p.m. as a pair of low pressure fronts passed through the Middle Atlantic states. Waldorf and parts of Southern Maryland were blanketed with 6 inches. Snow fell throughout the Eastern Shore with 4 inches in Easton, 5 in Salisbury and 8 or more in Ocean City and on the Virginia coast.

"Which makes sense since it was a coastal storm," Mr. Davis said.

"It's kind of dreary right now, just a faint bit of moisture," said Mary Lou Brueckmann, 63, a librarian at the Ocean City branch of the Worcester County Library. "But we got a lot of snow earlier. A lot of snow. I don't ever remember this much and I've lived here all my life."

"We only had 19 people come in today; this time of year, we usually get more than a hundred," she said yesterday.

Mrs. Brueckmann said the last time she remembers it snowing so much is the year she got married -- 1948.

"We were married in January and it was terrible," she said. "There was so much snow and ice piled up in front of the surf on the beach it looked like a fort -- it must have been 16 feet high."

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