CUMBERLAND — The quick pace of the snowfall across the region Wednesday presented challenges for area snow removal crews who face the possibility of more snow early Saturday.
Models for AccuWeather are calling for 1 to 3 inches of snow beginning early Saturday, as the area recovers from a snowstorm Wednesday that, at times, seemed relentless.
“It snowed very hard at times,” said Tim Thomas, a local observer for the National Weather Service, who had the official snow accumulation for Cumberland at 8 inches.
“The models had been tracking the storm,” said Thomas. “It just got bigger as time went on.”
“Wednesday’s snow fell at such a pace by the time we cleared a street we’d have to go back and clear it again,” said City Administrator Jeff Rhodes.
Frostburg took an even harder hit from the storm that began around 7 a.m. and didn’t quit until around 5 p.m.
“I measured around 12 to 14 inches at my house here in Frostburg,” said Frostburg City Administrator John Kirby.
“We had a tough day,” said Kirby.
“We had some equipment breakdowns,” he said. “A couple trucks down. We were able to repair them overnight. We also had a sewer line that needed repair on Mount Pleasant Street.”
“As of today, our primary and secondary roads are in decent shape,” Rhodes said Thursday.
Rhodes explained how Cumberland uses its seven plows.
“We use one for each of the four parts of the city (East Side, North End, South Cumberland and West Side). Then we use one for downtown,” said Rhodes.
The remaining two plows, if there have been no breakdowns, are used for trouble areas, Rhodes said.
Frostburg receives help from other departments during heavy snow incidents.
“Our street department and also our parks and recreation and water department work together,” said Kirby.
As of Thursday afternoon, Rhodes reported that 90 percent to 95 percent of Cumberland’s streets were passable.
“Sometimes, people are not happy,” said Rhodes. “To get where we are in 24 hours is pretty good.”
Rhodes explained that his trucks are of various sizes while the streets are different widths.
“Our larger trucks can’t get into smaller streets,” said Rhodes.
“There are places that are tough to get to for us. We have to look at what’s a priority. If the street is flat or on an incline is a factor,” he added.
Rhodes also said his guys can only work 16-hour shifts.
As for the snowfall expected late Saturday, Thomas said it’s still being watched.
“Models are still tracking, trying to see what it’s going to do,” said Thomas.
Greg Larry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.