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Columbia Receives County's Highest Snowfall Total in Storm

The snowfall total in the city was about an inch less than the highest total measured in the state.

A snowy Robison Nature Center on Jan. 3. Credit: Submitted photo by Robinson Nature Center
A snowy Robison Nature Center on Jan. 3. Credit: Submitted photo by Robinson Nature Center

The National Weather Service reported 6.5 inches of snow fell in Columbia during the storm that swept through the region on Thursday night, the highest total reported in Howard County.

The weather service predicted Thursday morning that between 1 to 4 inches would fall, but as temperatures dropped quickly Thursday evening it became clear more was sticking.

According to measurements submitted to the weather service different parts of Howard County received between 6.5 inches and 4.4 inches of snow during the storm. The highest reported total in Maryland was in Norrissville in Harford County where 7.5 inches were measured.

Here are the measurements submitted to the weather service (COCARHS is the community collaborative rain, hail and snow network; a group of volunteers who monitor weather):

  • Columbia - 6.5 inches at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 3 - NWS employee
  • Southeast Clarksville - 6.3 inches at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 3 - COCRAHS
  • Southeast Simpsonville - 6.2 inches at 10 a.m. on Jan. 3 - Trained spotter
  • North Columbia - 6.2 inches at 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 - COCORAHS
  • West Elkridge - 5.7 inches at 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 - COCORAHS
  • Southeast Sykesville - 5.2 inches at 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 - COCORAHS
  • North Savage - 5.2 inches at 7:27 a.m. on Jan. 3 - Trained spotter
  • Southwest Elkridge - 5.2 inches at 8 a.m. on Jan. 3 - COCORAHS
  • West southwest Savage - 4.6 inches at 12:50 a.m. on Jan. 3 - Trained spotter
  • East northeast Columbia - 4.5 inches at 11:50 p.m. on Jan. 2 - Trained spotter
  • East Columbia - 4.4 inches at 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 - COCORAHS
The snowfall led to the closure of schools in Howard County and safety warnings from government officials.

The State Highway Administration warned motorists Friday morning to avoid plows clearing roads and to use caution on the roads.

“The main concern facing motorists this morning is blowing snow that can quickly cover recently plowed lanes,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters, in a statement.  “Motorists need to have realistic expectations and use heightened caution and reduce speeds.  Crews will continue applying chemicals but we warn people that any snow packed areas will be very slow to melt, even with salt or salt brine on the road.”

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