'Waves' of snow targeting area

CUMBERLAND — Multiple bouts of snow were expected to coat the tri-state through Friday, but there was no consensus among forecasters as to how much will fall.

“Looks like the next round of snow will occur Wednesday afternoon but it’s not one big storm,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker said.

He said a half-foot of new snow was expected to accumulate by Friday as a “series of waves” of precipitation unfolds in Mountain Maryland, the Potomac Highlands and nearby Pennsylvania.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday afternoon issued a winter storm warning through Thursday morning, saying snow could total 4 to 8 inches. Additional snow was expected Thursday evening through Friday.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” the weather service said.

The snow will likely be accompanied by temperatures in the low- to mid-30s before colder air descends into the region, according to the AccuWeather forecast.

“It’s not a crippling snow,” Chad Merrill, weather prognosticator for the Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack, said. “The heaviest snow will take place between 6 and 11 p.m. Wednesday.”

National Weather Service observer Tim Thomas said any new snow accumulations will top a citywide snowfall cover of about an inch that remained on the ground early Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s quite crunchy and difficult to measure but we are averaging about an inch of snow cover throughout the city right now,” said Thomas, noting that some areas of the city may have no snow cover at present.

As for snowfall accumulations, Thomas explained the measuring technique he employs at his Hilltop Drive weather station.

“We always use two white boards to measure the snow — one we keep clean to record new snowfall totals and the other stays covered until all the snow melts in the spring,” said the retired Allegany County 911 dispatcher.

As forecast models collected more data late Tuesday morning, Thomas said “the big deal is Wednesday night into Thursday” for the next round of wintry precipitation.

The National Weather Service predicted 3 to 5 inches of snow Wednesday night, but that was subject to change.

“These systems are constantly moving and changing. You just have to wait for those things to play out to see what we will get,” he said.

Thomas said cold temperatures were expected to remain for the foreseeable future.

“There’s plenty of cold air out there and plenty behind it with no improvement expected through the 22nd,” he said.

Thomas said he recorded 12.9 inches of snow in Cumberland in 2020, including a 7-inch snowfall in December.

For 2021, Thomas measured 9.3 inches of snow this month, preceded by 1.4 inches of snow that fell in January.

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