Updated at 4:50 p.m. Wednesday
Ready for snow?
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm watch for Howard County and much of the Baltimore and DC region Thursday and forecasts a possible five - or more - inches of snow.
A winter storm watch means there is the potential for significant snowfall, as opposed to a warning, which indicates a storm is imminent.
Precipitation will begin as a mix of snow and rain Thursday morning, changing to snow later in the morning and through the afternoon, according to the watch.
"Snow may be heavy at times during the afternoon and evening," according to the storm watch, which means the evening commute might be affected.
In addition to snow, NWS is forecasting winds gusting as fast as 20 mph and temperatures in the low-to-mid 30s.
Officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration said Wednesday afternoon they are preparing their equipment for the storm, but are not salting roads yet, as rain is supposed to come before the storm Thursday, and it could wash away the salt.
The morning commute is not anticipated to be difficult, but the afternoon drive might be, state officials said.
“Storms during afternoon rush hours pose certain challenges because SHA snow plows are driving in rush hour traffic, making snow clearing more difficult," said Melinda B. Peters, SHA Administrator, in a statement. "If the forecast calls for snow during any commute and you want to avoid hours of traffic congestion, it is best to leave early, telecommute or stay late until the snow stops.”