Quick storm brings fresh blanket of snow; mostly slush for city

A fresh blanket of snow fell across the Baltimore area west of Interstate 95 by midday Tuesday, but heavier bands of precipitation that were expected to raise snowfall totals did not materialize.

As much as 6 inches fell, reported in Manchester in northern Carroll County, with totals of 2-3 inches more common across northern Baltimore County and Harford County and 1-2 inches in Howard County. Conditions were mostly slushy, with some new snow accumulation on grass and vehicles, in and around Baltimore City.

A winter storm warning and winter weather advisory in effect over the region were canceled before 2 p.m.

Now, attention turns to a chill ahead. Temperatures are forecast to drop to the teens the next couple of nights and could struggle to break freezing before Friday, potentially cause more ice hazards on area roads and sidewalks. 

"Hopefully we won't have people out on the streets driving crazily causing us to use more of our resouces," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said after a briefing with city officials at the city's emergency operations center.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport officials said Tuesday morning via Twitter to expect delays for clearing of ice. About 40 flights, both arrivals and departures, were listed as delayed on the airport's website, with another 40 flights canceled.


About 1,500 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers were without power as of 10 a.m., most of them in western Howard County just south of Sykesville and in northern Carroll County west of Manchester.

Federal government offices in the Washington, D.C., area were closed, as well as Social Security Administration offices in the Baltimore area and schools in Baltimore City and Carroll, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties.

Government offices in Carroll, Baltimore and Harford counties were closed, while Howard and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore City were on liberal leave.

In Carroll, the county's annual tree lighting ceremony scheduled for Tuesday night has been postponed until Dec. 17. In Harford, the county's Transit Link commuter services ceased operations. Anne Arundel schools officials postponed a public forum on their search for a new superintendent from Tuesday night to Wednesday night.

Early snowfall totals included 3.2 inches in Parkton, 2 inches in Columbia, 2 inches in Bel Air and 4 inches in Roland Park. Downtown, there was some slight accumulations on grass and vehicles but pavement was wet and slushy.

The lack of snow downtown came as a disappointment to some, including the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore, who reported from Pratt Street during the morning rush hour.

"We're at 32 degrees, but its not snowing intense enough, plus there's been enough pretreating of these roads," Cantore said on the air.

Beyond the snow, frigid and blustery conditions are expected. Overnight lows are forecast in the upper teens, with 15-25 mph winds making it feel close to the single digits.

Temperatures could remain below freezing untill Friday afternoon. Highs Wednesday are forecast in the mid-20s, with lows in the lower teens, under clear skies. Thursday, highs are forecast around 30 degrees, with lows in the upper teens.

Friday afternoon, temperatures could crack freezing and reach the upper 30s, with lows in the lower 20s.

The Baltimore health department issued a "Code Blue" advisory through Friday, warning of the risk for cold-weather-related health problems such as hypothermia and frostbite. City shelters are on standby as other resources are mobilized to bring homeless populations in from the cold.

Saturday brings another chance of precipitation possibly a cold rain turning into evening snow. Chris Strong, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office, told city officials Tuesday morning that system is looking likely to bring just rain to the city but could carry a risk of freezing rain or other frozen precipitation.

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