Light snow may have snarled traffic and frayed nerves early last week in Southern Maryland, but the region easily shook off the effects of Thursday's storm.

Many people stayed home from work, and snowplow crews had plenty of warning for the storm, which dumped three to five inches on the area. The result: Roads were relatively clear of traffic and more or less clear of snow by midday.

The storm caused few problems at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary's County, where some 140 aircraft were tucked snugly away.

"You just put 'em in hangars," said base spokesman John Romer.

In La Plata in Charles County, the snow kept farmer David Lines from going out to cull unwanted varieties of trees from a 90-acre stand that he is cultivating for oaks and tulip poplars.

"We are just kind of hunkered down," Lines, 53, said Thursday as the snowfall was ending.

That was okay, in a way.

"It allows me a moment to catch up with my seed and seedling orders," Lines said. "I should be out enjoying sleigh-riding. But I haven't done a thing except go out there and get the newspaper from the mailbox."

Others in Southern Maryland, however, took the opportunity to engage in winter activities. Chris Therres, a Washington firefighter who lives in Calvert County, stopped at a Prince Frederick store to pick up a couple of sleds so he could take his 9-year-old daughter and two of her friends out for some frolicking in the snow.

"It keeps them happy," Therres said. "Keep them in the house and you'll be nuts."

Michael Howard, a 16-year-old from Charles County, was enjoying the snowfall. He took advantage of his day off to play with his two younger brothers, ages 10 and 12. First they had a snowball fight; then they built a giant snowman on their front lawn along Route 231. What was next on their agenda?

"I don't know--probably go inside and warm up," Michael said.