Delmarva braces for snow Saturday

(Delmarva Now) -- Winter weather is expected to hit Delmarva on Saturday.

"There is a system coming in from the southeast United States this weekend that will wind up being a two-pronged attack," said Chaf Shafer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey. "There is a system coming in behind that one, coming in from the Great Lakes which is aiding the system to the southwest of us. As that swings to the northeast, that's what's bringing the chance of snow."

Worcester, Somerset, Wicomico, Accomack and Northampton counties will be under a winter weather warning from 1 a.m. Jan. 7 to 1 a.m. Jan. 8.

Snow accumulations are expected to total 8 to 12 inches in Northampton County and 6 to 8 inches in Accomack, Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico counties.

Temperatures will be in the mid 20s to low 30s.

Winds will be out of the north at 10 to 20 mph, increasing to 15 to 25 mph with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Eric Seymour, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia, said the snow will begin at midnight on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and 4 a.m. in Maryland with the worst of the storm coming at about 8 a.m.

Sussex County is under a winter weather warning from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 7 to 6 p.m.

Sussex County could receive 4 to 8 inches of snow Saturday, said Lee Robertson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey. The beaches could see near 10 inches.

Snow is expected to begin around midnight, Robertson said, and will only taper off at the end of the day Saturday.

Temperatures will be in the low to mid 20s Friday night and in the mid to upper 20s on Saturday, Robertson said, with winds reaching 30-35 mphs. He added wind speeds could be higher at the beaches.

According to the weather service, a winter storm watch is when there is a medium possibility winter weather could produce snow, sleet or freezing rain.

A winter storm warning is when there is high confidence a storm will produce snow, sleet or freezing rain.

As the storm approaches, road crews and residents across the region are prepping to deal with the snow as best as they can.

Kelly Jarvis, the manager at the Rommel’s Ace in Salisbury, said she and her store started prepping for the storm once they saw it on the radar about a week ago.

“We have gotten calls that other stores are out of salt but we are prepped for it,” he said. “You kind of just need to watch the forecast, see what you need and sell what you can.”

Residents don't appear to be too worried, either.

Vince Arena, a Salisbury resident, said the storm doesn't bother him.

“I was just at a store and I grabbed some rock salt,” he said. “I don’t really panic. Other people do, though. But I have four wheel drive and a snow shovel.  We’re not used to this snow here, though.”

Rob Ruark of Fruitland was at Rommel’s Ace in Salisbury prepping for the storm.

He said he isn’t worried about the weather, either.

“We get deicer for the car and make sure there is plenty of gas in the vehicles,” he said. “We also get deicer for the sidewalks and the streets.”

Despite little concern from citizens, road crews are prepping to battle the elements.

Richard Outen, the road superintendent for Wicomico County, has been busy loading salt trucks to make sure they are ready to go when the time comes.

“We have gone through all of our equipment and we made sure everything is good to go and clean,” Outen said. “We make sure the blades are secure on the trucks. The preparation is important.”

Included in the truck is a blanket in the event a truck breaks down or slides off the road and gets stuck.

Outen said his crews will first salt the roads once there is enough precipitation for the salt to stick to. After the snow accumulates to three or more inches, Outen said the county will start to send out the plow trucks.

The county will use 70 employees and 45 pieces of equipment to keep roads clear, he added.

In a release, Ocean Pines said they will begin to clear roads when there is either 3 inches of snow or the conditions warrant plowing.

Public works in Ocean Pines will also coordinate where and when to salt roads, with priority being placed on Ocean Parkway, entrances in and out of Ocean Pines, bridges, fire department, police station and then other high traffic roads.

Maryland's State Highway Authority treated the roads in advance of Friday's light snowfall and those efforts would serve as pretreatment for forecasted snowfall as well, SHA said in a release.

“We ask that travelers make smart and informed travel choices based on weather conditions and delay travel during snowfall so crews can effectively treat roads," said SHA Administrator Gregory C. Johnson.

Maryland drivers can view the latest road conditions online by visiting www.roads.maryland.gov and clicking CHART. Drivers can also call 511 for traffic and weather information.

While snow was originally anticipated overnight Thursday Jan. 5, Delmarva received little to no snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Eric Seymour, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia, said snow did fall in Salisbury between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Friday, but did not stay.

"Because the temperatures were so high, most places were coming in with a trace or a hundredth of an inch if anything," he said. "It wound up not being anything significant."

About an of inch of snow fell in northern Delaware overnight.

rghughes@dmg.gannett.com

On Twitter @hughesg19


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