Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Print this Article

Wind-driven snow Tuesday night canceled schools Wednesday and delayed openings for government offices. The threat of the storm closed government offices early and canceled schools on Tuesday as well.

Weather observers recorded 5 inches of snow in Ridge and 4 inches in Hollywood when it was all over around midnight Tuesday, but howling winds blew that snow all over the place.

With a low temperature of 8 degrees Wednesday morning in St. Mary’s County, plus the winds, it felt like minus 15 degrees to the bare skin.

State and county roads were still slippery Wednesday morning as crews continued to work to clear the snow.

The St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation sent out 17 of its snowplow trucks and 20 salt contractors to combat the winter storm starting Tuesday. As the snow stopped around midnight, crews were brought back to the shop at the St. Andrew’s facility where they got about three hours sleep before heading back out, said Director George Erichsen.

Some of the snow drifts were two to three feet high in areas like Ridge, “just because you get an open field and a flat road,” he said.

Despite the bitter cold temperatures, the snow and ice on paved surfaces were expected to clear on Wednesday. “The sun’s out — that’s your friend,” Erichsen said. As more traffic takes to the roads and grinds the salt down, it helps warm up the pavement.

Ellen Scott of California took advantage of the calm before the storm Tuesday morning to do some emergency food shopping.

“I normally don’t do it ... but they said this one’s going to be real bad,” she said of the pre-storm shopping.

She said she bought a few bags of staples, including milk and bread.

“We’re all ready” for the snow now, she said as she exited a grocery store in California.

Stewart Dement, program manager for the State Highway Administration in Leonardtown, said on Tuesday up to 80 pieces of equipment would be working to clear the 600 miles of state roads in St. Mary’s County during a snowstorm.

On Monday evening contractors for SHA pre-treated major roads.

“We put out 24,000 gallons of salt brine on the roads as a pre-treat,” Dement said. The solution helps keep snow from bonding to the road, making clearing easier when the time comes, he said.

County government crews and contractors are responsible for about 1,200 miles of county-maintained roads during snow storms. County roads crews prioritize what is plowed first, including about 462 miles worth of major collectors and urban commercial roadways like Route 235.

And except for what’s been plowed, snow will likely stick around as temperatures were predicted to stay in the 20s through the rest of the work week.