The most talked about news event in 2010 happened just about a month in.
According to News-Post archives, on Saturday, Feb. 6, a “record-breaking” nearly 30 inches of snow fell on Frederick County. The storm caused power failures, stranded motorists and “even a disruption in mail service for the first time in at least three decades,” according to a story published the following day.
But it didn’t end there.
Two days later, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the area beginning the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 9, and lasting until the following afternoon. The prediction was for another “5 or more inches” on top of the roughly 2 1/2 feet still piled around the county. Then on Wednesday, Feb. 10, a NWS meteorologist upped the expected snowfall prediction to 10 to 18 inches by the end of the night. A whopping more than 20 inches ended up falling, bringing the grand total of snowfall from the two storms to more than 4 feet.
The storms dominated news coverage for days, not just in Frederick but across the region, and the event became known as “Snowmageddon.”
And while many areas across the state were hit hard, Frederick County gained notoriety with the second storm. During a visit on Feb. 12 to the Frederick County Emergency Operations Center, then-Gov. Martin O’Malley publicly declared the county was one of the “worst-hit areas” in terms of snowfall and snow drifts.
Stories about the snow continued for days, and ranged from documenting the efforts of officials to dig everyone — and everything – out, to publishing what residents were doing to cure cabin fever while stranded in their homes (the top answers were chores, books and playing Nintendo Wii).
On Feb. 19, nearly two weeks after the first snowflake fell, The Frederick News-Post printed a story that said crews were still struggling to pick up trash and recycling for residents on unplowed and under-plowed roads. Residents in some of those areas were expected to have to continue holding their trash for the third week in a row.
The storms were also costly. According to a story from March, costs associated with the events went $700,000 over the city of Frederick’s snow removal budget for fiscal 2010. The city budgeted $310,511 and spent $1.03 million. However, there was a chance for reimbursement for a portion of the costs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
While that all sounds pretty dismal, Snowmageddon 2010 wasn’t all bad. A column by Lori Rypka printed Feb. 21 pointed out the lighter, more positive side of the heavy snow: the camaraderie it stirred among neighbors.
“I will say that snow can really bring a neighborhood together, and it’s really great when you enjoy your neighbors. If I didn’t, those snowbound days would have been pure hell,” Rypka wrote.
Fast forward several months to April, and Snowmageddon was back in the news again with Frederick County Emergency Communications dispatchers receiving awards for their works answering calls for service during the storms.
In November, the News-Post revisited the storm again when a “blizzard baby boom” hit the local hospital. According to a story from Nov. 13, the number of births was up and hospital staff members were struggling to find places for all of the expectant moms. The staff members directly attributed the influx of births to the February snowstorms, according to the story.
Looks like residents failed to mention that activity in the cabin fever story.