Southern Maryland continued to dig out all week from the major winter storm that closed schools, caused a few roofs to collapse and prompted county officials to predict that this year's snow removal costs will run more than $1 million over budget.

Snowfall totals in Southern Maryland ranged from as low as four inches on the southern tip of St. Mary's County to more than two feet in North Beach and Chesapeake Beach, officials said. Road crews could be working through tomorrow to clear some subdivision streets of snow, officials said.

"This is unprecedented," said Robert Taylor, Calvert County's director of public works.

Officials in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's closed schools Tuesday and yesterday, following the Presidents' Day weekend storm. Officials were planning to open school today, but they said Tuesday it would depend on road conditions.

County government offices, Circuit Court and District Court were to be open today. On Tuesday, Charles and St. Mary's government offices opened two hours late and St. Mary's County Circuit Court was closed.

Bus services in Charles and St. Mary's were to be running on schedule again today after suffering some minor setbacks. St. Mary's Transit Service did not begin running until noon Tuesday.

The storm caused at least 100 homes to lose power temporarily in Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert, said John Johnston, a spokesman for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative. All power had been restored by Tuesday, he said.

Road crews began working late Friday night in preparation for the massive storm and had most major local arteries open by Tuesday morning. But the tough part, road officials said, was getting to subdivision streets, where residents had begun complaining about snow sitting untouched on their neighborhood roads.

"Thursday and Friday, we're looking at doing cul-de-sacs," Taylor said. "It takes time."

Snow-removal strategies were similar in all three counties. Crews concentrated first on "collectors" -- main roads that don't "just serve a subdivision," Taylor said. Then, crews moved on to roads in major subdivisions, with side streets and cul-de-sacs left for last, officials said.

Charles County spokeswoman Nina W. Voehl said 2,000 to 3,000 tons of salt had been laid down in Charles, and more than 175 trucks were used to clear roads. Eleven to 15 inches of snow and sleet fell throughout the county, she said.

The crews were hampered not only by the usual array of cars, RVs and boats left parked on the street, but also by some residents who did not want their roads plowed. One crew had to call for assistance from the county sheriff's office this weekend when a resident on Garner Avenue in the Carrington neighborhood of St. Charles grew angry because the plows would leave snow across his driveway and force him to shovel it again, Voehl said.

"He just didn't want them to come in," Voehl said.

Bobby Cooper, manager of the St. Mary's County Highway Department, said the job of removing 10 to 12 inches of snow from roads in the county's northern end would be finished by today.

The crews' progress meant much to school officials. In St. Mary's, where 98 percent of students get to school by bus, officials roamed the county Tuesday by car, taking notes on intersections piled with snow and roads that were too slick for buses.

Pavement must peek out from the snow-covered roads and the streets within subdivisions must be cleared enough so that a 50-foot bus can make the wide turns around a corner to pick up children.

In addition to the visual inspections, school staff talk to myriad state and county agencies -- police, other school systems, even the Patuxent River Naval Air Station because it has a Doppler radar system. About one-third of the 24 St. Mary's school sites had been cleared by Tuesday afternoon, said J. Bradley Clements, chief administrative officer in charge of facilities.

The storm's toll will be noticed in county budgets. In Charles County alone, snow removal for the storm will cost an estimated $500,000 to $1 million, Voehl said. For the entire year, the county had budgeted $290,000 for snow removal. Snow removal costs for the year will be at least $1.4 million, Voehl said, because $900,000 had already been spent before last weekend.

In Calvert, Taylor estimated that the storm's cost will be at least $200,000; the county was already more than $200,000 over budget on snow removal before this weekend. Cooper said it was too early to know the storm's cost in St. Mary's, though it will be significant.

The money will most likely come out of the counties' general funds, money that sometimes goes to one-time capital expenditures. Charles has about $20 million in its general fund, Voehl said, though commissioners are loath to draw too much money from it for fear of degrading the county's bond rating.

Local law enforcement agencies said they responded to at least 47 accidents between Saturday and Tuesday morning. Most were not serious and only a handful involved injuries.

"I think people were heeding the advice: Stay home," said Kristen Adkins, a Charles County sheriff's office spokeswoman.

St. Mary's law enforcement was aided by the National Guard, which allowed the Maryland State Police to use federal Humvees on Monday. The seven-foot-wide, four-wheel-drive vehicles came in handy when authorities found a 4-year-old boy -- dressed in boots, sweat pants and a coat -- and his 2-year-old sister -- dressed in underwear, sandals and a coat -- playing in the snow without adult supervision outside a house in Callaway on Monday morning.

State police troopers discovered the children's unconscious mother inside the house, but there was so much snow she could not be carried to an ambulance, said Lt. Brian Cedar. So the Humvee was driven up to the door, and the mother was loaded onto it, Cedar said, before being handed over to technicians on the ambulance.

It's unclear how long the children had been outside. Cedar said the mother had passed out and was undergoing tests at St. Mary's Hospital to determine why.

With warmer temperatures and rain expected soon, Maryland and county officials asked residents to help keep storm drains clear of snow so that melting snow would not flood streets. Officials also asked residents with flat roofs to clean snow off the top of their houses because the weight of rain water and snow could cause a roof to collapse.

Snow caused the roofs of at least two buildings to collapse in Charles County this weekend, including the education center of the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy.

The structure was the main classroom for about 26 cadets from all three local sheriff's offices and the police department of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Classes were to resume yesterday in a nearby gymnasium, Adkins said.

The county condemned another flat-roofed building that housed a Valvoline oil change franchise near the St. Charles Towne Center, Voehl said.

Staff writers Raymond McCaffrey and Theola Labbe{acute} contributed to this report.

Anthony Minson of Waldorf examines shovels at American Hardware. The store sold more than 300 before running out Monday.Merchants used all manner of tools to clear their business areas. Above, Mike Jacobs shovels the sidewalk in front of the American Hardware store in Waldorf, saying the snow was too heavy for a blower. At left, George Walls brings in the heavy equipment to clear the parking lot at Walls Bakery. The Waldorf shop stayed open Sunday and Monday.

For children, of course, the emphasis was on entertainment instead of excavation. Courtney Narmour scoots down a hill on St. Stevens Drive in Waldorf on Monday.