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Snow, sub-freezing temperatures forecast into Thursday

The Baltimore area was blanketed by 3-5 inches of snow overnight as a winter storm moved north through the region. More snow is predicted Wednesday. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Another coating of snow Wednesday and some of the coldest temperatures this winter could follow the 5 inches that fell across Baltimore Monday night and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A cold front of Arctic air is forecast to usher in a quick burst of moderate snow Wednesday, leaving up to an inch in the area, the weather service said. Temperatures should remain below freezing, expected to dip to zero — not including wind chills — by the end of the week.

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NWS on Wednesday issued a winter weather advisory for snow from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a wind chill advisory for sub-zero temperatures from midnight to Thursday at 6 p.m.

NWS said most areas will likely see a coating to an inch of snow. Areas near the Mason-Dixon Line will likely see an inch to two inches of snow, NWS said. Snow showers will likely begin in the adternoon with the heaviest amounts expected between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., NWS sadi.

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Wind chill temperatures should dip to as low at 15 degrees beloe zero late Wednesday night through Thursday, NWS said.

The extended cold in the forecast prompted the city on Tuesday to convert the War Memorial Building into an overflow homeless shelter that will be open 24 hours a day through the end of the week.

Public schools in Caroline, Talbot, Worcester and Wicomico counties on the Eastern Shore, hit particularly hard by the snow, announced they would remain closed Wednesday. Others announced delays; for a complete, updated list, go to bsun.md/snowday.

Gov. Larry Hogan urged residents to prepare for the frigid weather over the next few days.

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"The snowstorm has ended, but winter has not," Hogan said in a statement. "Dangerous temperatures are forecast for Maryland over the next several days. Now is the time to prepare your home, your car and your pets."

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency warned pedestrians and drivers to watch out for patches of snow and ice along sidewalks and roadways.

"Help us help you," said Maryland Emergency Management Agency executive director Clay Stamp. "If possible carry a cellphone with you at all times, even when just walking out to get the mail or newspaper in some neighborhoods or rural areas, your fall might not be discovered quickly, and frostbite, hypothermia and death could occur quickly in single-digit temperatures."

One fatal accident occurred on the slushy roads Tuesday. Police said a man was killed in a collision at 9:10 a.m. on Route 97 at the Howard and Montgomery county line, where his car hit a patch of slush, causing him to lose control and crash into a pickup truck with a plow on its front.

The victim was identified as Zeyu Zhang, 26, of Timonium. Zhang was wearing his seat belt, and alcohol was not a factor, Howard County police said. The pickup truck's driver and passengers had minor injuries.

Throughout the region, government and school cancellations and delays Tuesday meant fewer cars than normal on the roadways during rush hour.

Twenty-three of the state's 24 school systems closed, as did many businesses, colleges and government offices, while plows cleared streets and residents scraped off their cars and shoveled their driveways.

St. Mary's and Calvert counties had up to 8 inches of snow, the weather service said, and Ocean City officials reported about 7 inches. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport got 4 inches.

Trains, buses and other public transportation reported cancellations and delays, and trash and recycling not picked up Tuesday will be retrieved Wednesday.

Due to the weather, Vice President Joe Biden called off a trip Wednesday with Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski to Baltimore, where they were to have addressed funding for rape kits at the Maryland State Police Forensic Science Laboratory.

Federal offices in the Washington area also closed Tuesday, the Office of Personnel Management said.

The post office in Catonsville was open, though, after closing for Presidents Day on Monday. Daisy Shumpert, a sales and service clerk, said all the major roads were clear by Tuesday morning, so she had no problem getting to work. The post office opened a little late due to the snow, but had the normal line of customers by the midafternoon, she said.

Daniel Johnson, 15, and Nicolas Van Besien, 15, turned their day off into a business venture.

"We thought as soon as the snow stops, to ask around and get some money for shoveling," said Johnson, a sophomore at Archbishop Spalding High School.

By midmorning, the two had made more than $100 at five houses in the Epping Forest neighborhood of Annapolis.

On The Avenue in Hampden Tuesday, Joe Hauser peeked in the window of Cafe Hon, which had a sign taped to the door letting customers know it would open at noon. Hauser, originally from Southern California, said he was enjoying the snowy day.

"I love the seasons here," said Hauser, who lives in Bolton Hill. "Seventy degrees year-round is nice, but this gives you something to look forward to."

The cold, which began last week, is another story.

Last weekend's sub-zero temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic prompted a record 12,000 emergency roadside assistance calls on Monday, AAA reported, eclipsing the record of 11,023 calls set last month.

In Baltimore Tuesday night, an auditorium inside the War Memorial Building held 100 cots, with room for 100 more if necessary, according to Connor Scott, deputy director of the city's Office of Emergency Management.

The memorial has previously served as a hurricane shelter, but this is the first time it's been used for a temporary cold-weather homeless center, Scott said. The city's shelters have been "stressed to the max" and were resorting this week to putting cots in closets in order to fit everyone who needed a bed, he said.

"We'll have people here working overnight," Scott said. "It's an all-hands-on-deck approach."

Baltimore Sun reporters Catherine Rentz, Pamela Wood, Yvonne Wenger, Jessica Anderson and John Fritze contributed to this article.

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