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Winter storm drops 5 inches of snow, closing schools and disrupting travel, but warmer weather is ahead

A winter storm moving across the eastern half of the country dropped 5 inches of snow across Maryland on Wednesday, closing schools and disrupting travel in the middle of the work week. But warmer weather is in the forecast.

A clash between cold, dry air from the north and Gulf of Mexico moisture from the south produced 5 ½ inches of snow around Westminster and Columbia, and more than 4 inches from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to Parkton and Fallston.

The storm was expected to add a glaze of ice Wednesday night along the Interstate 95 corridor, and anywhere from a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch of ice to the north and west of Baltimore.

On city roadways, slushy conditions reigned during the day. City crews with roughly 600 plows, salt trucks and other pieces of equipment worked 12-hour shifts to keep roads clear, said Transportation Director Michelle Pourciau.

Baltimore police said they had responded to 145 calls for crashes by 3:30 p.m. Maryland State Police said they responded to more than 200 crashes across the state, and more than 100 calls for disabled or unattended vehicles on roadways.

In Anne Arundel County, a bus driver was injured in a crash that shut down all lanes of Interstate 97 in the morning.

At BWI, one-third of flights were canceled and about one in five departures were delayed Wednesday, among more than 2,200 cancellations and 4,700 flight delays across the country, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. More than 40 percent of flights out of Washington’s Reagan National Airport were canceled Wednesday.

The storm’s impacts were far reaching. Snow and ice prompted school closures from Minnesota and Wisconsin to Kansas and Missouri. Heavy rains on the warm side of the system caused problems in parts of the Deep South, with flood watches and warnings across northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, and nearly all of Tennessee.

In Maryland, warmer conditions are forecast Thursday, with highs expected to reach the lower 50s. The next likelihood of precipitation comes Saturday, when a cold rain is expected, but then temperatures are forecast to rebound into the 60s Sunday.

Other than another chance for snow or rain around the middle of next week, there is no major winter weather threat through the end of the month — and, with that, the end of meteorological winter.

Meteorological spring starts March 1. A couple of inches of snow, on average, fall each March in Baltimore.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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