The snow came fast and furious last week, blocking roads and shutting down schools for four days. About 28.5 inches of snow fell in Howard County over three days. The average for February is only about three inches, according to the Weather Channel.

Piled several feet high, the snow gave residents a chance to shovel away those winter calories. But they were no match for the plows, which still were clearing turning lanes and intersections early this week, said Andrew Daneker, chief of the Bureau of Highways.

The county has spent about $1.8 million on snow removal this fiscal year, more than twice what it had budgeted. So what is the county doing to prepare for the snow predicted to fall today? Daneker answered with one word: "Praying."

A snowplow clears the shoulder of Centennial Lane in Columbia. Although the streets were clear, many roads were narrowed because of large banks of snow on the shoulders.Surrounded by a snowbank as high as he is, Harry Burns clears a hole near the storm drain at the Oella Church in Ellicott City. After the snowfall, the next concern was flooding.Concerned by possible flooding, Carolyn Harp, left, shovels snow from the storm drain near her home on Green Mountain Circle before the rain hit. A loader, above, clears the turning lane of Broken Land Parkway.