Wind gusts top 50 mph at BWI-Marshall
High winds driving around the west side of the big snowstorm now centered over Long Island reached more than 50 mph in gusts across parts of Central Maryland overnight. The winds contributed to thousands of power outages locally. Here's a sampling from the National Weather Service:
...ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY...
1 N BALT-WASH INTL A 53 mph 1:24 AM 2/26 KBWI ASOS
1 W HARMANS 53 mph 1:09 AM 2/26
1 N BALTIMORE MARTIN 46 mph 11:00 PM 2/25 KMTN AWOS
MIDDLETOWN 56 mph 4:10 AM 2/26
1 ENE BRUNSWICK 53 mph 3:49 AM 2/26
A station near Petersburg, W.V. reported a gust of 67 mph at 3:17 a.m. Here's more. And here's a sampler:
Ballenger Creek: 63 mph 7:45 a.m.
Buckeystown: 57 mph 7:29 a.m.
Green Valley: 57 mph 7:53 a.m.
Middletown: 56 mph 4:10 a.m.
Washington County: 63 mph 7:44 a.m.
High wind warnings remain in effect across the region until 6 p.m. Friday. The NWS said:
"STRONG GUSTY NORTHWEST WINDS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH TODAY.
NORTHWEST WINDS OF 25 TO 35 MPH WILL GUST BETWEEN 55 TO 60 MPH...
WITH LOCALLY HIGHER GUSTS...ESPECIALLY LATE THIS MORNING.
"WINDS THIS STRONG WILL CAUSE DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS...AND
LIKELY KNOCK DOWN TREES AND POWER LINES."
Meanwhile, way out west, the hardy folks of Garrett County are grappling with blizzard conditions and another (nearly) two feet of snow out of this system. That comes on top of the 19 FEET of snow they've had already this season. That's no typo. Wisp resort reports 26 inches this week, with 218 inches so far this season.
Now, Marylanders living out in Garrett are no snow sissies. But this winter is beginning to get to them. We received this report this morning from Cindy Stacey on the latest blow:
"Weather is probably worst of winter so far. We received 21.6 inches in this system. County emergency folks say most county roads are impassable. Brad Frantz is director of emergency management in Garrett County. He's advising everyone to stay off roads, unless emergency ... Nearly everything is closed, including Wal-Mart! Before this system, we've had 19-ft of snow this winter. Calling it hurricane-like storm ... even worse than blizzard. Amazingly, our power is still on, despite 30-50 mph winds."
We are trying to reach a spokesperson for the Garrett emergency management office. But it's a small outfit, and they say they are "extremely busy." We'll keep trying. Meantime, if you're up there, send snow photos. Clogged roads, buried houses and cars, crazed residents. It's all good.
John McCracken was snowboarding in two feet of fresh powder this morning. McCracken is marketing coordinator at the Wisp Resort in McHenry.
He said his commute to work this morning took twice as long as usual as snow and wind combined to fill in quickly behind the county plows.
"As far as the local roads around the area, they're definitely snow-covered for sure," he said. "I saw something I've never seen in my life - a personal truck with a personal plow actually plowing a state road this morning. And they definitely appreciate all the help they can get."
UPDATE: Garrett County emergency management officials say Garrett's roads are "basically impassable," and are likely to remain that way throughout the weekend. There have been two multi-vehicle pileups on I-68, with casualties. Plow crews "cannot keep up." Motorists are being urged to stay home.
Has Garrett County had enough of winter yet?
"With a lot of the locals, you kinda get comments like, 'Boy, I haven't seen a snowfall like this in years.' So they've seen it before, but not recently," McCracken said. "We haven't broken the record for snowfall in Garrett County yet, but we're close."
"People new to the area, I think they're a little ... I don't want to say sick of snow ... but they are definitely ready for warmer temperatures and for spring to come," McCracken said.
Not so on the mountain. Despite gusts over 40 mph, and perhaps higher on the ridge tops, ski and snowboard conditions are terrific, McCracken said. "We're looking for a high of 22 today. I have been out all morning snowboarding, and it's not bad. A little windy ... not something you want to hang around in all day."
"As far as conditions, they are amazing. I got first track this morning ... I was riding in snow over my knees, some of the best conditions you can have," he said. Most trails and lifts are open, although a few loading and unloading areas are too deep in snow and need to be cleared.
(Top: Anemometer/Frank Roylance; Bottom: Wisp Resport/John McCracken, used with permission)