Cumberland Times-News

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January 20, 2014

Get ready for major winter storm

CUMBERLAND — The first major winter storm of the new year is expected to arrive in the Cumberland region early Tuesday before dawn, according to the National Weather Service.

To the west, winter weather in the form of freezing temperatures, several inches of snow and gusty winds created severe conditions in the higher elevations throughout the weekend.

Points east of Frostburg are not expected to escape Tuesday’s storm as they did over the weekend.

“This will be our first measurable snowfall of 2014 and it’s going to be dangerous conditions,” said Tim Thomas, retired Allegany County 911 dispatcher who has served as an observer with the National Weather Service for the past 49 years.

A winter storm warning was posted by the NWS at 11:44 a.m. Monday for the period from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Thomas said the city could see 6 inches of snow, and higher locations and the ridges could receive 8 to 10 inches of snow.

“It’s not going to be pretty no matter how you look at it,” said Thomas while monitoring the storm system early Monday afternoon as it converged on the area from the upper Midwest region of the U.S.

Thomas said gusting winds to 25 mph and several inches of dry, powdery snow were expected to produce sudden whiteouts, or poor visibility conditions created by snow and wind gusts.

“This is one of the worst storm scenarios we have seen in the past several years. You may want to leave your water faucet trickle to prevent freezing of pipes, check your heating systems, and use extreme caution with any portable heaters and keep indoor areas ventilated.

“You should check on your neighbors and relatives and make sure everyone is all right in the neighborhood. Residents should also check on the well-being of animals in their care to protect against the severe weather.

“If you are traveling, take an emergency supply kit with you, extra food, water, blanket, snow shovel, anything you might need in case you break down. These supplies will hold you over until someone can get to you,” said Thomas, who is a veteran volunteer in the LaVale Rescue Squad.

AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kinds said, “The good news is it will be dry powdery snow that will be easy to get rid of, if there is a positive side to it.” He also urged travelers to exercise caution and allow extra time to safely navigate highways coated with snow and ice.

“The problem is when the temperature dips the salt doesn’t work as well on the roads,” he said.

Kinds said travelers heading south should expect heavier amounts of snow. “But it wouldn’t take much of a northward jog to increase the snow into the 6-inch zone.”

Temperatures in the area Tuesday night are expected to dip into the single digits and Wednesday’s high temperature would not exceed the teens.

A look at the three-month outlook from February through April shows the Cumberland region should expect above-average temperatures and precipitation generally in the normal range, according to the National Weather Service.

State, county and municipal road workers were busy Monday checking equipment and salt supplies in anticipation of Tuesday’s snowstorm.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at jlalderton@times-news.com.

 

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