Parts of Maryland were under a winter weather advisory until 1 a.m. Thursday after a storm brought heavy snow to the region Wednesday. Here’s how the storm played out and what’s next.
What’s next in the forecast
“The key thing that we’re watching right now are the temperatures,” Howard Silverman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said late Wednesday night. Temperatures are forecast to rise overnight, Silverman said. “By sunrise tomorrow we should be above freezing everywhere,” though still chilly in areas west of Interstate 95 and in the northwestern suburbs of Baltimore.
Into Thursday morning, precipitation is forecast to turn to rain, with temperatures rising into the mid-30s. They are expected to reach the upper 30s by Thursday morning, and then could surpass 50 degrees amid sunshine in the afternoon. Conditions on Thursday are likely to be slushy and wet, but otherwise more pleasant.
As warmer air moves in overhead, producing the mixed precipitation, forecasters said a clash with cold, drier air could also produce sporadic lightning strikes — better known as “thundersnow.”
The icy precipitation and temperatures hovering around the freezing mark made for continuing slick conditions on roadways during the Wednesday evening commute. Freezing rain coated surfaces with a glaze of ice in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties.
Areas of freezing rain are expected to continue across north-central Maryland, especially in Frederick County, through 1 a.m. Thursday. “When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be slippery,” the NWS advised on Twitter.
Snow piled up quickly as soon as it began falling across Maryland on Wednesday, despite arriving later than meteorologists had initially predicted. Some of the heaviest snowfall was reported south and west of Baltimore, where precipitation arrived earliest.
Accumulation totals by 8:30 p.m. included:
» 5.5 inches in Westminster and Columbia
» 5 inches in Elkridge and Severn
» 4.5 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
» 4.3 inches in Fallston
» 4.3 inches in Northwest Baltimore
» 4 inches in Parkton and Catonsville
» 4.5 inches in Ellicott City
State officials reported some travel disruptions as snow coated roadways and runways Wednesday.
Maryland State Police said they responded to 241 crashes and 167 disabled or unattended vehicles and answered 799 calls for service between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. It dispatched extra patrol vehicles for the evening rush hour. But the agency noted that traffic was light because of widespread school and business closures.
In Baltimore, slushy conditions reigned, and city crews with roughly 600 plows, salt trucks and other pieces of equipment worked 12-hour shifts to clear roads throughout the day Wednesday, Transportation Director Michelle Pourciau said.
“We need folks to slow down, drive very carefully,” Pourciau said. “Stay home, if you can, because that allows our plows and equipment to work and to get past what we’re seeing today so that we’ll have clear conditions going into the night and tomorrow.”
Baltimore Police said they responded to 145 calls for crashes as of 3:30 p.m.
In Anne Arundel County, a bus driver was injured in a crash that shut down all lanes of Interstate 97 in the morning.
State Highway Administration officials said they had 2,200 plows and other pieces of snow removal equipment in use around the state.
The weather closed some roads. Interstate 895 south was shut down at Exit 1 on Wednesday night around 8 p.m. because of ice, then was reopened a half-hour later, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
“The pavement may not be snow covered, but conditions may still be icy,” a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration wrote on Twitter. “Reduce speeds, allow extra travel time and increase driving distance if you must get out on the roads.”
Light Rail, Metro and MTA Mobility service were operating as normal, Maryland Transit Administration officials said. The Baltimore Water Taxi canceled its afternoon Harbor Connector route.
Runways were operational at BWI, but many flights were canceled or delayed.
More snow coverage and resources
» Timeline: How long will snow keep falling?
» Sledding hot spots in the Baltimore area
» How much time you have to shovel snow from your walkway before you're fined in the Baltimore area?