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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Arctic blast blankets county in snow

(Feb. 19, 2015) The first major snowfall of the year hit Worcester County late Monday evening, blanketing the area with more than six inches of snow.
Freezing conditions continued throughout Tuesday, resulting in public school closings in the county and impassable roads.
Bill Sammler, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the reports he received suggested between six and eight inches fell in Berlin, Ocean Pines and Snow Hill.
Sunshine on Tuesday gradually helped improve traffic conditions, although Sammler cautioned that the risk of a second snow shower Wednesday evening, combined with an arctic front, could further complicate conditions.
“Temperatures Thursday and Friday may struggle to get out of the teens and temperatures Thursday night could easily be in the low single digits,” Sammler said.
The snow will likely remain on the ground through the weekend.
“There’s another weather system this weekend that there’s some uncertainly about as to whether it’s going to be a warmer system or another potential winter weather event,” Sammler said. “The most recent information we have suggests that it’s going to be a little bit warmer, in which case any precipitation will be rain, but that’s only going to be a one-day shot and then it’s going to get colder again.
“Depending upon the temperatures this weekend and how much, if any, rain we get will determine how long the snow stays on the ground,” Sammler continued. “If we don’t get much rain and it doesn’t warm up over the weekend this could stay on the ground into next week.”
Sammler said the next 10 days will likely feature below-average temperatures. He also said people should be mindful of wind-chill factors.
“If it’s too cold and too windy, don’t go outside if you don’t have to,” Sammler said.  
In Ocean Pines, public works crews were out in full force, with six plows operating from 11 p.m. Monday evening well into Tuesday afternoon.
Dino McCurdy, a representative from Ocean Pines Public Works, expected crews to continue cleaning roads through the majority of the workweek.
Conditions were similar in Berlin, where Public Works Director Jane Kreiter said crews were working in shifts, starting at 7:30 p.m., using all four of the town’s plows and both salt trucks, along with other heavy-duty vehicles.
“We’ve done every road at least once,” Kreiter said on Tuesday morning. “We’ve salted and we’re just going back through to try to widen some of the areas.
“Right now our biggest limiting factor is staffing,” Kreiter continued. “We don’t have the luxury of having two shifts, so we do one shift, take a break, take a nap, and then get back out there and do it again. That’s the tough part.”
Kreiter said the town used the CodeRED notification system to warn motorists not to park near sidewalks Monday evening.
“Most people were considerate of that,” she said. “It’s been a long night, but I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on it.”
Kreiter estimated seven and a half inches of snow fell in Berlin, and said the most difficult task Tuesday was figuring out what to do with the excess.
“We’ve pushed it off the major roadways, but we don’t want to block any driveways,” she said.
With the cold expected to continue into next week, Kreiter warned motorists to watch out for icy conditions, including the dreaded black ice.
“Like everybody else is saying, don’t go out unless you absolutely have to,” she said. “I think a lot of people heeded those warnings [Monday] and a lot of people are staying home, hunkering down and being smart today.”