Baltimore bracing for snow, sleet, freezing rain

BALTIMORE - With a winter storm set to impact the Baltimore area, road crews, public safety officials and even the Ravens are getting prepared to deal with whatever Mother Nature brings.

According to the National Weather Service, a winter weather advisory will be in effect from 8 a.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.

ABC2 News meteorologist Lynette Charles reports this next round of precipitation should arrive by late morning into Sunday evening. She added to expect a wintry mix of snow, sleet and ice before milder air invades and converts it all to rain by mid-Monday. 

The snow should linger in the area until about 4 p.m. before turning to freezing rain and sleet with a high of about 31. The freezing rain and sleet should remain in the area until 7 p.m. with a mix of freezing rain and rain expected until 4 a.m. before converting into rain.

The storm is part of a late fall cold snap that has gripped much of the country is being blamed for a handful of deaths and has forced people to deal with frigid temperatures, power outages by the thousands and treacherous roads.

Already, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has canceled the city's annual Christmas parade and Harford County Public School canceled all scheduled activities. Also, the B&O Museum in Baltimore and Ellicott City will close at 3 p.m.

In addition, Harford County Emergency Manager Rick Ayers is under a winter storm watch and there has been several accidents reported. Also, state police said the snow emergency plan has been activated for Frederick County. This requires motorists to operate vehicles equipped with snow tires or chains.

BGE reports the utility company is preparing field crews and employees for possible outages related to the forecasted snow and freezing rain.

Customers are reminded that they can now report power outages from mobile phones and devices through the mobile website at bge.com or by calling 877.778.2222.

BGE is also urging customers to develop emergency plan and have important supplies including flashlights, batteries, a fully-charged cell phone and a first aid kit readily available.

Customers also should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations. For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged.

Maryland State Highway spokeswoman Lora Rakowski said crews were outside pre-treating roads Saturday and has 1600 crews available statewide, 565 of which are in the Baltimore area.

"The conditions of the storm are optimal for pretreating conditions," Rakowski said. "Along with roads, we've worked on pretreating bridges and overpasses along with major arteries like US 40.

While there is typically less traffic on the roads on Sunday, Rakowski said SHA crews are taking into account the fact that both the Ravens and the Redskins are hosting games at 1 p.m. Sunday; the time when the storm is supposed hit the area.

Rakowski said SHA is advising fans to have a game plan in case of poor weather and carefully consider all transportation options both going and coming home from the game.

"Be aware of severe weather issues and consider public transportation if possible," Rakowski said.

BWI Thurgood Marshall spokesman Jonathan Dean said there were no significant delays as of 8:30 a.m., but the airport has snow and ice personnel on hand to deal with any severe weather.

"Customers are being advised to keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly," Dean said. "Make sure you stay in touch with your airline for the most up-to-date information regarding delays or cancelations."

SHA advises drivers to look out for pedestrians, especially around the football arenas, and keep these tips in mind:

  • Slow down, use caution, allow plenty of distance between vehicles, use snow tires and allow plenty of time for travel.
  • If your vehicle does become disabled, make every effort to move from the travel lane and onto the shoulder.
  • Remain alert for inactive traffic signals as a result of power outages. Use extreme caution and treat it is as a four-way stop – it's the law.
  • Stay on top of traffic delays and road conditions online .

Stay with ABC2 News for additional updates and cancelations.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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