- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The first widespread snow of the season fell Thursday on St. Mary’s County, closing schools for the day. In addition to some car accidents and disabled vehicles, a bar in Loveville was struck by an automobile that morning.
The Loveville Tavern off Route 5 was posted as unsafe Thursday morning by the St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management after a vehicle crashed into it.
No other major incidents were reported, said Thomas Mattingly Jr., communications manager for the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services and Technology.
Four to 6 inches of snow fell early Thursday morning, while Charles County and points north only saw around an inch of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
The first priority county roads, 233 miles’ worth throughout St. Mary’s, were cleared and treated with salt by 9 a.m. Thursday, said George Erichsen, director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. There are more than 1,500 county roads, making for more than 1,400 lane-miles. “With the sun coming out, warming up the pavement, we should be in good shape,” he said Thursday morning, to clear the rest of the county roads.
County road crews went to work at 2 a.m. Thursday, and contractors were added at 7 a.m., Erichsen said, as it was still snowing.
Route 235 was still snow-covered and slushy early Thursday morning. “Usually we can pretreat roadways ahead of the storm,” said Charlie Gischlar, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. “It’s been well below 20 [degrees], certainly at night,” he said, and liquid pretreating is ineffective when it’s too cold. The high temperatures have remained below freezing since Tuesday.
The St. Mary’s County public schools had six people out checking the status of the roads early Thursday morning, said Brad Clements, deputy school superintendent. “We made the call about 10 [minutes] to 5” in the morning to close schools for the day, he said. The rest of Thursday was spent clearing school parking lots, “so we can open tomorrow on time and we’ll see what the next storm brings,” he said.
Forecasters are calling for another 1 to 2 inches of snow Friday afternoon.
Public schools were dismissed early on Jan. 17, when the National Weather Service issued a winter weather warning for Southern Maryland. That warning was downgraded to a winter weather advisory that afternoon, but most of St. Mary’s only saw cold rain and sleet. Southern St. Mary’s saw a thin coating of snow south of Hermanville Road.
“I was a little excited we might get something to cover the ground” from this week’s snow, said John Zyla, Ridge weather observer. When it was all finished Thursday morning, his location recorded 6.1 inches of snow, more than anywhere else in St. Mary’s or Southern Maryland, according to National Weather Service reports.
“It was a lot more than I was expecting,” Zyla said. “That’s interesting for us to get more than the north.” Southern St. Mary’s often gets less snow in winter storms.
Forecasters were initially calling for 1 to 2 inches in the area. Thursday morning, the National Weather Service reported 5 inches of snow in Callaway, and 4 inches in California, Bushwood and Hollywood.
“I love snow, so I’m fine with it,” Zyla said, of the heavier snowfall. “This is probably the most snow we had since 2010,” he said. Less than 3 inches fell all during the winter of 2011-2012.