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Statewide Efforts to Prepare for Heavy Snowfall, Adverse Conditions; Marylanders Urged to Exercise Caution

 

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland has activated a government-wide response to prepare for heavy snowfall and other severe conditions anticipated on Wednesday and Thursday.

A winter storm warning is in effect in Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, and Washington counties. A winter storm watch is in effect in Baltimore, Cecil, Harford, Howard, and Montgomery counties and Baltimore City.
“As our state braces for its first major winter weather event this season, we have mobilized an all-hands-on-deck effort to keep Marylanders safe,” said Governor Hogan. “Stay tuned to your local forecasts for the latest updates, heed the guidance of state and local authorities, and most importantly, use common sense.”

Heavy snow is expected in northern and western Maryland, with total snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches possible. Snowfall is anticipated between 7 a.m. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday, becoming heavy during the afternoon and evening and tapering off late Wednesday night. According to the National Weather Service, travel will be “very difficult to impossible” in some parts of the region. More central and southern areas of the state may see anywhere from zero to four inches of snow or potentially a wintry mix. Heavy rain capable of producing flooding may affect the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland.

St. Mary’s County is forecast to see mostly rain from this weather event. However, the rain/snow line could change over the next 24 hours. The Department of Emergency Services urges citizens to be prepared and continue to monitor the weather forecast.

Appropriate preparations include “Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Be Informed.” The plan should include agreed-upon ways to communicate with family members in the event of an emergency. When building an emergency kit, remember to include batteries, bottled water, medications and other essential items. To stay informed, tune into local radio and television broadcasts. In advance of a storm, residents can sign up to receive emergency notifications through the county government CodeRed Emergency Alert System.

For more information about Emergency Preparedness, please visit www.stmarysmd.com/es.

Marylanders are advised to take the following steps in preparation for severe weather:

• Pay close attention to emergency information and alerts from official sources. Marylanders can subscribe to alerts from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) by texting “MdReady” to 898211.

• Keep devices charged in case of possible power outages.

• Make sure emergency kits include face coverings, hand sanitizer, and other COVID-19 related supplies in addition to the usual disaster supply kit components.

• Exercise extreme caution if you must travel. Marylanders can call 511 or visit md511.org for travel updates.

More resources on winter storm preparedness can be found here.
 

Statewide preparations include the following:

Maryland Emergency Management Agency
• The State Activation Level (SAL) is currently Enhanced. MEMA will be activating state agencies and coordinating the state’s response.

• MEMA continues to facilitate daily weather briefings between the National Weather Service, state agencies, and local emergency managers.

• MEMA is ramping up public information efforts through its digital properties, billboards, and through the MdReady and MdListo text alert programs.

Maryland Department of Transportation

• The State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) began treating roads over the weekend in Western Maryland in response to earlier snowfall.

• MDOT SHA continues to encourage Marylanders to delay unnecessary travel as snow continues to fall throughout the day, and to clear their entire vehicle off as large sheets of snow and ice can fly off vehicles and become a hazard.

• Marylanders can check current road conditions at roads.maryland.gov, and can view where MDOT SHA assets are located with the S.T.O.R.M. app.

Maryland State Police
• Maryland State Police troopers will be monitoring road conditions closely and will implement snow emergency plans where needed.

• Troopers will again be working with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration’s Coordinated Highway Action Response Team and tow companies throughout the state, where needed, to remove any abandoned vehicles so that snow removal operations can be effectively conducted.

• In addition, troopers from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Automotive Safety Enforcement Division will be reassigned wherever additional patrol troopers are needed due to weather conditions. 

Maryland Department of Health
• COVID-19 testing operations are subject to change due to inclement weather. COVIDtest.Maryland.gov will be updated accordingly. Patients are advised to verify the schedule of any site where they plan to get a test.

• Marylanders in need of warming centers are encouraged to reach out to their local health department or to call 2-1-1 and provide their county location and ZIP code to get information about warming center locations, hours of operation, and available accommodations. 

• The Maryland Department of Health advises Marylanders that to prevent the onset of cold-related illness, individuals should curb their exposure to cold weather, both by limiting time outside and by wearing several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Detailed information about staying safe during extreme cold can be found on the Maryland Department of Health website. 

Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services System
• MIEMSS is continuously monitoring statewide EMS system activity and hospital situations and will assist local jurisdictions as needs arise during the storm.

• The agency will monitor weather implications and coordinate situational information between EMS personnel and hospitals.
Maryland Department of Human Services

• The department is taking steps to ensure it can assist DHS-licensed residential facilities to retain power and critical utilities during winter weather events. The Property Management Unit is prepared to monitor for any facility-related infrastructure issues related to the weather event.

Maryland Department of the Environment
• The department is contacting wastewater and drinking water facilities, nuclear facilities, and dam operators statewide to confirm they are tracking the storm and reviewing their emergency plans and offering assistance.

• Oil control and hazardous material transportation personnel are being notified that they may be needed for post-storm response.

Maryland Energy Administration/Maryland Public Service Commission
• The agencies are coordinating with Maryland utility providers on their storm preparedness and public safety efforts. MEA additionally monitors state fuel reserves.

Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
• Emergency preparedness personnel have prepared facilities for severe weather, with generators fueled and adequate supplies on hand.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
• Maryland Department of Natural Resources crews are prepared to plow access roads and clear snow—fueling four-wheel drive vehicles, mounting plows and other heavy equipment, and staging them at accessible locations—as needed at state parks, forests, wildlife management areas, and other public lands.

Maryland Department of General Services
• The department is readying all state office buildings for adverse weather. All state office buildings, sidewalks, and parking areas are being treated and cleared of snow.

• A designated MEMA resource team procurement officer is on standby to assist in utilizing the emergency resource list, which consists of generators, sandbags (pre-filled and empty), ice, dry ice, food, and MREs.

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