Transportation officials, forecasters warn of icy Tuesday afternoon commute threat in Carroll

The Maryland Department of Transportation is warning people of a potentially dangerous afternoon commuting situation Tuesday, as forecasters call for snow and ice for the Baltimore and Carroll regions.

“An Arctic air mass will arrive as the low-pressure system enters the region, creating a sudden drop in temperatures, which could make snow and ice form on pavement during the afternoon and evening rush hour Tuesday,” according to an MDOT news release Monday. “Any areas that remain wet after the storm departs could refreeze as temperatures are predicted to be the coldest of the winter so far.”


As of 9:30 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service was calling for a wintry mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain in the early morning, around 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., according to Meteorologist Ray Martin.

“Accumulation should be very light but it could produce icy roads because it is cold,” he said. “Then temperatures will rise to above freezing during the day for a little while and then a cold front will move through in the early afternoon and it will change back to snow.”


That change over back to snow could occur early to mid-afternoon, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Muccilli.

“We’re talking 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. in the afternoon and then going into the evening, ending around 8 or 9 p.m.,” Muccilli said.

Keith Krichinsky, executive director of Foot’s Forecast, believes snowfall could begin a little earlier, perhaps noon, and last until around midnight Wednesday morning, but emphasized that the Tuesday afternoon commute is where the real impact will be.

“This is not going to be a major snow storm, we’re not going to get 2 or 3 feet of snow here, we’re looking at maybe 2 to 4 inches or so,” he said. “It’s the timing and the fact that another bitter arctic cold front is right behind this, pushing it through. Thursday and Friday we are going to see high temps in the single digits probably.”

The fact that the weather event will likely start as rain before turning to snow with falling temperatures could lead quickly to icy conditions, Krichinsky said

“The roads are going to be wet because they are going to start treating, and everything is going to freeze,” he said. “The most dangerous part is the people who have four-wheel drive who think they are indestructible and don’t realize that all four-wheel drive does is help you get started. Once you get going, it’s not different than any other kind of vehicle, especially on ice.”

Those who can work from home, Krichinksy added, should consider doing so Tuesday.

Wednesday and beyond might bring some light snow showers here and there, but the real impact will be cold and wind, according to Muccilli.


“The highs on Wednesday will only be in the 20s, lows Wednesday night in the single digits and then highs on Thursday only in the teens,” he said. “You combine that with strong, gusty winds and you will have wind chills of five to 10 below zero Thursday morning.”

It’s a cold snap that will bring January in line with historical averages, according to Muccilli, the month having been slightly warmer than usual thus far.

“We will probably finish the month roughly around normal. It’s an average of extremes; we had some warmth and we had some very cold conditions, so it averages out to normal,” he said. “As far as snow, we are running a little above, and most of that is due to that one system that came through in the middle of the month.”

February is typically a snowier month for Carroll County than is January, according to Krichinsky, and while he said he was not seeing any storms in the long term forecasts just yet, he wouldn’t could something out in the coming weeks.

“I still expect there will be enough snow in February to keep the snow lovers happy,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a dry February.”

Due to this anticipated cold weather, warming centers will be open throughout Carroll County from Wednesday, Jan. 30 through Friday, Feb.1. Carroll County’s Department of Citizen Services will operate six warming centers around the County, and Carroll County Public Library branches will also be open and available to anyone in need of a warm place.


Warming centers are open during regular business hours at Carroll County senior centers and the Department of Citizen Services. All residents who are vulnerable to extreme cold and who do not have sufficient heat in their homes are encouraged to seek warmth in any of the following locations until the close of business:

Citizen Services Office Building, 10 Distillery Drive, Westminster (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Mount Airy Senior and Community Center, 703 Ridge Ave., Mount Airy (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

North Carroll Senior and Community Center, 2328 Hanover Pike, Hampstead (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

South Carroll Senior and Community Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Taneytown Senior and Community Center, 220 Roberts Mill Road, Taneytown (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)


Westminster Senior and Community Center, 125 Stoner Ave., Westminster (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

All branches of the Carroll County Public Library System will also be open as warming centers during regular business hours, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

On Our Own provides additional options for keeping warm during the day at its 265 East Main St., Westminster community center. Hours vary and are available at or by calling 410-751-6600. The county also suggests those searching for other options check out stores, malls, restaurants, churches and neighbors’ homes.

For after-hours cold shelter needs: Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc. operates a Cold Weather Shelter at 127 Stoner Ave., Westminster overnight from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. during the cold weather season. Up to date information about Cold Weather Shelter operations can be obtained by calling the Cold Weather Shelter Information Line at 410-871-4877. General information about the Cold Weather Shelter can also be obtained by calling 410-857-8473. In times when overflow space is needed, HSP has partnered with the Westminster Rescue Mission to provide transportation to a limited number of alternative overnight accommodations.