Ice storm expected in region's highest elevations

Mar. 2—CUMBERLAND, Md. — Significant icing was expected Friday in the region's highest elevations as a winter storm was forecast to bring a mix of precipitation.

The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. for extreme Western Allegany, Garrett and Western Mineral counties. Ice accumulation from freezing rain in those areas were forecast at two-tenths to four-tenths of an inch, with snow and sleet accumulations of up to one inch. Strong wind gusts up to 50 mph were also expected.

"I do expect secondary roads in Garrett County will get slippery, but main thoroughfares such as Route 219 and I-68 will stay wet," said Chad Merrill, a Cumberland native and meteorologist who serves as the Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack weather prognosticator, chief meteorologist at WOAY-TV in Oak Hill, West Virginia, and freelance meteorologist for WTOP Radio in Washington.

The weather service also cautioned of power outages and tree damage because of the ice and wind.

The rest of the area was placed under a winter weather advisory until 6 p.m. Friday. According to the weather service, mixed precipitation was expected, with snow and sleet accumulations up to an inch and ice accumulation from freezing rain up to one-tenth of an inch for elevations above 1,500 feet.

Merrill said only trace ice amounts will accumulate in the city and only on colder surfaces, with no travel problems expected.

"In the mountain ridges around Cumberland, a few hundredths of an inch will coat trees and the grass," he said. "This is not enough ice to weigh down tree branches and bushes, though."