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Baltimore crews clear more than 4 million pounds of snow from city streets

Baltimore officials are clearing 72,000 tons of snow a day, officials said Thursday

As Baltimore crews continue to clear the last side streets still blocked with snow, matted grass had emerged Thursday at Federal Hill Park in South Baltimore.

Rising temperatures have helped melt snow, and city leaders said all streets should be passable by the end of Friday.

"Slowly but surely, we're getting closer to normalcy," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Meteorologists ranked the weekend snowstorm as the fourth-biggest to pummel the Northeast since 1950, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A total of 24 million people were hit by 20 inches or more of snow.

Around the region, crews worked day and night to clear roads; more than 1,000 outside contractors aided the city. And with most streets now open, officials are scaling down the monumental cleanup. By Friday evening, about 50 percent of those contractors will continue clearing the city; by Saturday evening, 40 percent, officials said.

"Rest assured that we are not done," transportation director William Johnson said.

Constricted roads and snow-narrowed intersections still slow traffic, but Thursday's commute was free of major incidents.

City offices will open 10 a.m. Friday without liberal leave, officials said. Schools remain closed Friday in the city and Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties as crews continue to clear parking lots and sidewalks.

In Baltimore, city officials said workers cleared 144,000 cubic yards per day. Rawlings-Blake said on Twitter the city has hauled out more than 4 million pounds of snow.

Still, parking remains restricted on snow emergency routes.

Trash collections Friday will resume, but only from the front of homes. Those whose regular trash collection was Tuesday will have garbage picked up Saturday, while residents whose regular day is Wednesday will have a makeup Monday.

Recycling collection remains suspended in the city through the week, as are street sweeping, bulk trash collection and rat abatements.

Baltimore County officials said recycling collection has been canceled for the week, while trash collection will occur "only when and where conditions permit." Residents with alley trash collection are asked to put their trash out at the front curb.

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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