First snowstorm of the year comes up short of hype Featured

Snowman building after snowstorm StellaPauil Folder and Alex Fulda from Florida make a snowman in the first snowfall they’ve ever seen - following snowstorm Stella this week. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

ROCKVILLE – It took until the last week of winter, but the area finally got some measurable snow.

A nor’easter hit the County, along with much of the Northeast Monday and Tuesday giving the Washington metropolitan area its largest snowfall of the winter. The Up-County received the brunt of the storm, with Damascus getting 4.5 inches, Derwood receiving 3.5 inches while Takoma Park got 2 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

On Monday night, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency, and Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County government closed on Tuesday.

After local and state governments took precautions for a large snowstorm, once most of the storm had passed, County residents did not seem too concerned about it.

“People are freaking out for nothing. This is not that bad – we’ve seen worse,” said Rockville resident Rameez Khatri of how County residents often make a big deal out of few inches of snow.

Khartri, who originally is from Detroit, took a stroll through Rockville Town Square Tuesday afternoon and said he the storm caused him to stay home from work.

“We were going to go to work, but I’m working from home,” Khatri said.

While the streets of Rockville Town Square were more deserted than usual, that did not prevent Rockville resident Eva Ghitelman from running her errands on Tuesday.

“Well, it has been annoying waiting for the bus, but I knew I had to do my errand today by hell or highwater,” she said.

Unlike other parts of the East Coast that saw 2 feet of snow on Monday night and Tuesday, Montgomery County was lucky to received only a few inches, according to Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton

"We were well-prepared, we didn’t get the snow that was expected, and so we were able to keep ahead of it, all leading to a job well-done,” Donnell Newton said.

Newton said she was pleased with how city Public Works Department cleared the roads of snow.

”I think we did a great job,” Newton said. "I’d give us a 10."

Patrick Lacefield, a spokesperson for the County, said while it was good the County avoided heavy snowfalls like in New England, it was best for residents to stay inside on Tuesday while the snowplows cleared the streets.

“If you don’t need to go out, you know to your job or whatever, just stay at home, give our trucks a lot of room to do what they need to do, and let’s see what situation is tomorrow,” Lacefield said.

County government followed Lacefield’s advice, canceling the weekly County Council meeting along with the presentation of the County executive’s budget, which will be rescheduled to later in the week.

Lacefield said the County sent out most of its 250 trucks, along with some of the 150 additional trucks it leased, to salt and plow roads. But while many of the County main roads are clear, Lacefield said, residents should not expect neighborhood roads to be clear until 16 hours after the end of the snowfall.

Although the snow stopped Tuesday afternoon, Lacefield said the County is concerned that about the potential for melted snow and slush freezing and coating roads in black ice.

“Whatever is on the ground is going to refreeze tonight,” Lacefield said Tuesday. “We still got some challenges.”

@neal_earley   @kathleenstubbs3


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