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Yesterday's coastal snowstorm perked up holiday spirits but did little else, as what started as rain changed over to big, puffy white flakes, then turned back to rain in the evening.

The storm, with temperatures in the low 30s, was expected to drop 3 to 5 inches of snow and cause slippery conditions before tapering off. The National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., issued a winter weather advisory late Saturday morning for the area that was to remain in effect until 9 p.m.

"We started salting ramps, bridges and the Jones Falls Expressway at 12:30 p.m. These are areas that tend to freeze first," city transportation spokeswoman Adrian Barnes said. "We will continue to monitor the storm throughout the weekend and adjust our plan if we should need to plow."

Jawauna Greene, Maryland Transit Administration spokeswoman, reported that all buses were on schedule. The only delay, she said, was on light rail because of a downed tree on the line between the Falls Road and Timonium stations.

While runway surfaces were wet, Jonathan Dean, spokesman for Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, said there were "no real delays to speak of."

The Maryland State Police reported no major incidents on area roadways,

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor was operating normally with no trains delayed, Amtrak spokesman. Marc Magliari said.

"Business was normal. It was just another normal Saturday," said Mike Blake, manager of the Eddie's Market in Charles Village, challenging the urban myth that Baltimoreans strip grocery store shelves bare of such essentials as milk and toilet paper when snow is imminent. "We had no increase in business because of the snow."

In Eldersburg at the Home Depot, it was a slightly different story. "We were busy all day selling snow shovels, salt and gloves. We had no browsers," assistant store manager Jim Luettgen said. "We also sold a lot of live Christmas trees and decorations. I guess people figured if they got snowed in, they'd decorate," he said.

Saturday evening, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported about 6,500 households with outages, the majority in Howard and Prince George's counties.

The first measurable snow of 2008, according to the National Weather Service, was 0.6 inch a year ago today.

But cheer up. Today, forecasts call for sunny with temperatures in the lower 40s, with westerly winds between 5 and 10 mph.

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