All school systems in the Baltimore area closed Friday as several inches of snow blanketed the region overnight and with forecasters calling for a blustery day.
National Weather Service spotters measured almost half a foot of snow in Carroll and Harford counties, about 5 inches in parts of Baltimore and Howard counties, and up to 4 inches in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City.
Public schools in Baltimore City, as well as Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties closed for the day. Many had previously opted to open late.
Governments offices in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties were slated to open at 10 a.m. Baltimore City, meanwhile, adopted a liberal leave policy for city employees because of the inclement weather.
Courts in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Harford counties were closed Friday, while courts in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties are slated to start their dockets late.
The Maryland State Highway Administration urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel Friday morning while plows cleared roads.
“Roadways are slick,” the agency said in a tweet.
“The snow may have stopped, but there are still concerns over icy roads,” Maryland State Police added in a tweet.
State troopers responded to 36 crashes and 59 disabled vehicles across the state between 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 a.m. Friday, the agency’s tweet said.
While most of the snow is expected to have swept through the area by 9 a.m., the temperature Friday isn’t expected to eclipse 31 degrees and winds should grow stronger, according to the National Weather Service forecast. A steady northwest breeze between 11 and 20 mph could gust up to 38 mph.
Overnight temperatures were predicted to fall into the teens with the wind chill, causing city health officials to declare a Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert for Friday through Saturday morning. The alert comes when temperatures may fall below 13 degree or otherwise pose a danger.
“I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said.
There were as many as 8 inches of snow in Frederick County and 5 inches of accumulation in Montgomery County, according to the weather service.
Ahead of the snowstorm, the weather service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the state, and the stronger Winter Storm Warning for Garrett and Allegany counties in Western Maryland. Neither appeared to be in effect by 6 a.m. Friday.
“We ask Marylanders to avoid travel tonight and tomorrow morning if possible, especially with the possibility of wind gusts that could take down trees and wires,” Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter Thursday evening. “Keeping the roads free of heavy traffic gives the crews and first responders room to do their jobs.”
His warning comes days after bad weather closed I-95 in Richmond, stranding drivers for up to 24 hours.
A mostly sunny Friday will give way to a cold night: The low temperature is expected to settle around 18 degrees, according to the forecast.
Saturday is supposed to be sunny with temperatures in the mid 30s before the chance of more winter weather with freezing rain returns on Sunday morning, likely before 10 a.m.
This week marks the first time of the winter season — and the new year — for snowfall and icy conditions.
Monday’s snowstorm dropped as much as one foot of snow on parts of Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland, and about half a foot further north in Baltimore. Freezing rain followed on Wednesday, making road conditions hazardous once more.