All forecasting models are now predicting a significant winter storm will hit our area beginning Friday. In fact, “The National Weather Service has issued a BLIZZARD WATCH for Montgomery County. Residents should prepare for heavy snow and high winds as well as power outages. This is a potentially dangerous situation. Whiteout conditions possible as visibility may be reduced to 1/4 mile or less for 3 or more hours. Blowing snow, and wind speeds over 35 miles per hour are expected which will cause snow drifts.” With the potential for double digit snowfall, many roads will be impassable and businesses and schools will likely be closed.
It is important to take the time to make sure you are prepared. Go ahead and get that bread, milk and toilet paper, but also pick up other things you would normally purchase for your family. Don’t forget pet food! You might even want to grab some party food and beverages. Sometimes shoveling can lead to spontaneous block parties! If you have a gas grill, grab some propane so you can still prepare food outside if the power goes out. Test those flashlights and portable radios ahead of time and get back up batteries if necessary. Make sure to keep your cell phone charged as well.
You can link to The American Red Cross for life saving tips on preparing for a winter storm.
Wondering when and how your roads will be cleared? The Montgomery County Department of Transportation offers this:
When it snows, 200 employees with 175 pieces of equipment spring into action. Here's a snapshot of the County's snow response plan.
- When snow begins to cover roads, salt crews spread salt on all main County roads and emergency routes.
- When snow accumulates to three inches, plowing and salting crews continue to clear all main County roads and emergency routes.
- Once the snow stops, crews begin plowing neighborhood roads.
- Crews complete plow routes and spread abrasives on hills, at intersections and on roads around schools.
You can find more information regarding county snow removal on the Montgomery County Dept. of Transportation website. Residents of the city of Rockville can find more snow removal information here, while residents of the of Gaithersburg will find more information on city snow removal here . If you live in a new development that is still under construction, check with your HOA regarding snow removal as some roads may not have been turned over to the county yet and may be the responsibility of the developer.
You can find the latest snow removal information including a map of snow plow progress here.
In times like this, it is important we all look out for one another. Be sure to check in on neighbors who are elderly or may be ill. If a neighbor hasn’t made it out to shovel their walk, check in on them, maybe they need a hand!
Measures are in place to help those who are homeless keep out of the cold. If you encounter someone in need, call one of these hotlines in Montgomery County.
Community Crisis Center: 240-777-4000
Non-Emergency Police: 301-279-8000
Remember, if it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet!
DO NOT leave them outside. Even if they are normally outdoor pets, bring them inside. They will freeze to death in this cold. If you see an animal stuck outside, call the authorities immediately.
When walking your dog, keep them on a leash to prevent the dog from running away or getting lost. Scents are lost in the cold (and especially with snow on the ground) so dogs can easily lose their way.
By taking a little bit of time now to prepare and then looking out for one another when warranted, we should be able to safely weather the storm.