A winter storm dumped lots of snow and caused high winds through Maryland's Eastern Shore and its oceanfront by Saturday, making travel treacherous for motorists and challenging for road crews.
Snowfall totals approached or exceeded a foot in some portions of Worcester County, with Ocean City reporting 12 inches (30 centimeters) by the time the storm left the region Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Wicomico and Somerset counties, which reported close to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow in spots, along with Worcester, were among several counties under blizzard warnings for the first half of Saturday, when wind gusts of 45 mph (72 kph) were possible.
Portions of southern Delaware also saw about a foot of snow, while Accomack and Northampton counties on the Eastern Shore of Virginia received several inches, the weather service reported. Snowfall totals were much lower further inland, in places like Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore and Washington, as the nor’easter's precipitation increased near the coastline.
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The governors of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware had all declared states of emergency before the storm that began Friday night and had prepped National Guard members to join the cleanup. Only “essential personnel” were allowed to drive on Delaware roads in two of the state's three counties, under an order by Gov. John Carney. Elsewhere, motorists were urged to stay off the roads or to drive slowly and with caution.
Maryland State Police tweeted that troopers had received more than 670 calls for service and responded to 92 crashes as of mid-morning Saturday. There were no immediate reports of storm-related deaths and power outages were minimal.
David Bowling of Salisbury drove to the Ocean City waterfront to check out the snow with his son Liam, 9, and daughter Kaylee, 17.
“Most of the time when it snows, it’s more inland. But this is nice because you rarely get to see snow on the beach,“ Bowling said. Before he reached the water, Bowling’s sedan became stuck in the snow in a parking lot. They pushed the car out of the snow with the help of another motorist with a shovel.
Wind gusts in eastern Maryland made it difficult for snowplows to keep roads clear, as blowing snow could cover them again in minutes, the state's highway administration said.
There were snow readings over 11 inches (28 centimeters) in the southern Delaware communities of Bethany Beach and Millsboro, with 14 inches (36 centimeters) reported in Lewes, the weather service said. Further north, areas around Wilmington had 3 inches (8 centimeters) of snow.
A stretch of eastern Virginia from the Northern Neck south to Tidewater communities such as Norfolk and Virginia Beach received 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of snow before the storm left the region Saturday morning.
Winter weather advisories were posted until early Sunday in the Eastern Shore regions. Temperatures there also were expected to plunge into the high single digits and teens by Sunday morning, leading to some wind chill advisories.