Montgomery County Urges Residents to Prepare for Possible Winter Storm; National Weather Service Has Issued a Winter Storm Warning

text of News Release
Bookmark and Share

Montgomery County Urges Residents to Prepare for Possible Winter Storm; National Weather Service Has Issued a Winter Storm Warning

For Immediate Release: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Montgomery County from 3 a.m. – 12 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7. There is a possibility of three to six inches of snow which could make travel difficult.

Due to the possible winter storm, residents should begin preparations now. Snow-covered and icy roads can make driving hazardous. If you must travel, drive with caution and allow extra time to reach your destination. Please remain alert for ongoing plow/salt operations. Montgomery County community members are encouraged to prepare for power outages.

Where to find County Snow Information

  • Community members are encouraged to subscribe to Alert Montgomeryfor the latest information. Alerts can be sent to one or more electronic devices, including cell phones, text pagers, wireless PDAs, and home and work email. 
  • Headline emergency information will be posted on the homepage of the Montgomery County website.
  • For winter weather tips, information about who plows your street and more, visit the County’s Winter Storm Information Portal.
  • County updates are provided through the County’s Twitterand Facebook social media sites.

Preparing for the Storm 

  • Check with neighbors or family members who may require special assistance, to see if they need help in stocking up on supplies or medications and call them during the storm. 
  • If there is a power outage, be prepared with enough food, water, medication (if needed), a heat source and batteries to last at least two days. Make sure portable radios, smoke detectors and flashlights work properly. Ensure pets and livestock have shelter, food, water and medication to last through the storm.  
  • Vehicle owners should clear the way for snow-plow operators. When parking on-street, pull close to the curb on the even numbered side of the street. Park vehicles in driveways, or off the street, whenever possible. Plan where you will park if a State or County Snow Emergency is declared, making parking illegal on those roads.
  • Be sure any vehicle you own is ready to drive after the storm by filling the gas tank; checking tires to make sure they have an adequate tread and are fully inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels; checking oil, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels; and ensuring windshield wipers, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes and defroster are all working. Keep a windshield scraper, small shovel and broom in the car for ice and snow removal, and a small sack of sand or kitty litter to improve wheel traction.

During the Storm 

Power Outages:

  • Treat all “dark” intersections as four-way stops. Stop - then proceed cautiously.
  • In case of a power outage, know these numbers for utilities:
  • PEPCO: 1-877-737-2662;
  • BG&E: 1-877-778-2222;
  • Potomac Edison/First Energy: 1-888-544-4877;
  • Washington Gas: 844-927-4427 (Smell strong odor of gas, leave site and call 9-1-1) and
  • WSSC-Emergencies: 301-206-4002.
  • During a power outage, relying on battery-operated lights, rather than candles, is safer as candles increase fire risk. 
  • Refrigerated food will remain unspoiled approximately four hours, if the refrigerator is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half full) if the door remains closed. Use ice to keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0° or lower if there is a prolonged power outage. 
  • It can be fatal to use gas or charcoal grills, propane heaters and stoves, kerosene space heaters or generators indoors. These items are a source of carbon monoxide, which can build up indoors and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. For more information, visit the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue

Snow Treatment and Removal: 

State-maintained roads, which are the numbered roads in the County, are cleared by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Snow clearance of County roads begins with pre-treating major County roads with salt brine, a solution of salt and water, before snow begins falling unless there is rain to wash the solution away. County plowing begins when three or more inches of snow accumulates on the roads. The County’s Department of Transportation clears emergency and primary routes before it begins clearing neighborhood streets. Neighborhood streets are not cleared to bare pavement but are made passable. Residents are asked to remain patient.

There are approximately 1,000 lane miles of primary (arterial roads connecting subdivisions or business districts) and secondary roads (main collector streets through subdivisions) which are continuously treated with salt and sand and kept in “bare pavement” condition. 
Once the snow stops falling and major roads are clear, crews turn their attention to making streets passable for the more than 4,100 lane miles of neighborhood streets. 

Snow Emergency Routes: 

Both the State of Maryland and Montgomery County have designated certain roads as SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTES. When the State and/or County initiates its snow emergency plan, it is illegal to park on these designated roads or drive without snow tires, all-weather tires, mud/snow radials or chains. Vehicles without the proper type of tire (all-weather) or chains that block snow emergency routes during an emergency may be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense. 

Usually, when a snow emergency is declared, drivers may park in County public-parking garages and lots for free. 

Snow Shovel Law: 

County residents are required by law to clear sidewalks in front of and alongside their properties within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. Everyone is encouraged to help seniors or others who may not be physically able to shovel. Do not shovel snow over fire hydrants and make a point to shovel hydrants out with a three-foot diameter around the hydrant. 

Snow Removal in Parking Lots: 

Parking lot managers are reminded not to block disability parking spaces and their adjacent striped areas when removing snow from commercial or residential parking lots. 

# # #

Media Contact: Ohene Gyapong 240-777-6507, Josh Faust 724-554-5011