In the end, Sunday's snowfall wasn't much of a storm in a season that, so far, hasn't been much of a winter.
But tons of salt, legions of trucks, gallons of gasoline, tanks of brine and the hours and hours of overtime still cost, and states and municipalities across the area are now looking at seriously depleted snow-removal budgets, with spring still almost four weeks away.
In Northern Virginia alone, transportation officials had 1,015 trucks and 1,200 workers plowing, salting and sanding during the storm.
In Howard County, "we're broke," Public Works Director James M. Irvin said of his snow budget. "We were broke before we started."
It was the same for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
"It's been a late, sloppy winter," spokesman David Buck said. "We've had some weekend storms, which is beneficial for crews doing their jobs, but it makes for a more expensive storm."
In Anne Arundel County, the year's snow removal cost was almost $700,000 over budget -- before Sunday.
In the District, even though there have been only two serious storms, the city had to mobilize crews for eight other minor weather "events" this season, noted Erik Linden, Department of Transportation spokesman. And all but $1.2 million of the city's $5.2 million annual snow budget has been spent or committed, he said.
Before Sunday's storm, the Maryland Highway Administration, which maintains almost 17,000 miles of roads, had already exceeded its $21 million budget by more than $9 million, Buck said.
Breaking the budget is relatively common in Maryland, where for eight of the past nine years the agency has required additional help from the General Assembly.
"It's not an inexpensive venture to keep the roads clean," Buck said. "It's really not an option to throw your hands in the air and say, 'Okay, we're done.' "
He said several weekend storms like Sunday's pushed up costs because they involved paying hundreds of employees overtime to clear roads. The icy weather, as opposed to plowable snow, has also increased costs.
Before this storm, the agency had already sprinkled 180,000 tons of salt statewide, at a cost of about $50 a ton.
Buck said that Sunday's costs are still being tallied but that they would likely be at least a few million dollars.
Although there won't be a final cost estimate for Northern Virginia until tomorrow, it will probably be much less than the $7.2 million state officials spent for the Feb. 14 ice storm in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Arlington counties, according to Joan Morris, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The weekend storm was the eighth "weather event" of this winter. A Jan. 21 storm cost $1.6 million in Northern Virginia; a Jan. 31 dusting cost $860,000; and a Feb. 6 storm cost $1.5 million. On other occasions, crews were paid to be on standby, which costs about $40,000 each time, Morris said.
Howard's public works director tallied Sunday's snow costs: $250,000 to call in 130 workers on their day off to operate plows, salt trucks and front-end loaders as they cleared 985 miles of roads, finishing the job yesterday morning.
Previous winter storms, especially the Valentine's Day icing, used up the entire $500,000 the county earmarked for snow removal and forced $350,000 more to be spent.
The cost of dealing with Sunday's storm, during which workers spread 3,000 tons of salt and used 3,000 gallons of fuel, puts the county at $600,000 over its snow-removal budget, Irvin said. Sharp increases in the price of salt and fuel mean that even typical storms increase the cost of clearing roads by tens of thousands of dollars over what was spent a couple of years ago, he said.
Montgomery County budgets about $3.3 million each year for snow removal but typically exceeds that and has to use additional supplemental funds, spokeswoman Mary Anderson said.
Anderson said storm costs for this year are still being added but would likely also go over budget.
Anne Arundel's snow-removal costs for Sunday's storm will be well over $100,000 because of increased overtime pay, according to Pam Jordan, a county spokeswoman.
She said that as many as 170 trucks were on the road during the peak period and that 1,750 tons of salt were used.
The county is still piling up costs for clearing the last storm -- close to $1 million as of Friday. The county budgeted $300,000 for snow removal this fiscal year, Jordan said.
Charles County spent more than $250,000 on snow removal Sunday, spokeswoman Nina Voehl said.
Labor expenses accounted for most of that, she said. About 70 employees and contractors worked 16 hours of overtime, plowing roads from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. They used an estimated 180 pieces of equipment and spread more than 2,000 tons of salt, Voehl said.
Prince George's County spread about 7,000 tons of salt on Valentine's Day, at a cost of $350,000, and 3,300 tons Sunday. Last year, the county's total budget for snow removal was about $3 million. "It hasn't seemed to have chewed up that amount yet," spokesman James Keary said
The one snow-removal bargain yesterday appeared to be the "brine," or salt water, that was sprayed in some places to combat ice on roads. Doug McCobb, of Alexandria's Department of Public Works, said the city sprayed about 2,000 gallons Sunday. Cost: 5 cents a gallon.