Maryland readies for yet another winter storm

Maryland has already declared a state of emergency and everyone from local and state governments to utility companies are preparing for another batch of winter weather , which could bring up to a foot of snow to portions of the region.

Maryland State Highway officials said they are preparing for anything Mother Nature offers. Crews will begin deployment this afternoon and continue until roads are safe and passable. SHA is asking those who do not need to be on the road during the height of the storm to please stay home.

State crews also have access to 14 salt brine facilities and 94 salt barns and domes throughout Maryland. 

"We will have our emergency patrols out extra-long during the storm," SHA spokesperson Valerie Burnette Edgar said. "So if you become stranded we will be able to assist you and keep you out of harm's way."

BGE is also taking steps to prepare for the snow storm. Usually, the utility company draws extra crews from the south, but with that region dealing with its own weather woes, BGE expects to draw help from elsewhere.

This preparation is to ensure BGE has the proper personnel on hand to deal with everything from power outages, downed lines and trees from the high wind gusts and heavy snow expected to be associated with the storm.

"We participate in several mutual assistance networks, but one of our larger is in the southern portion of the United States," BGE spokesperson Rachael Lighty said. "We definitely are reaching out to areas north, west and south as well as our sister company in Chicago. Right now we are requesting 300 additional people, but that number could increase over the day."

Local jurisdictions are working to ensure residents that they are on top of the snow removal process even as they allotted budgets dwindle.

For example, in Annapolis, the city Department of Public Works has 900 tons of salt on hand with public works crews working all day today preparing its fleet of vehicles, including some ancillary vehicles such as a John Deere tractor and Bobcat. 

The City ordered 4,500 gallons of diesel and 4,000 gallons of regular gas to ensure full tanks.  Ten crews will work 12-hour shifts and the City has also called on its contractors to check on their availability for snow removal.

In Baltimore City, officials said they are bracing for the worst.  So far this season, the City has used 35,779 tons of salt and spent $5.3 million on snow removal efforts; and still has 85 percent of its maximum 16,000 ton salt supply.

"This is what we do in winter time," said city Department of Transportation spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes "We have crews ready that we will be activating this evening. We have plenty of salt on hand and we are prepared and we want motorists to be prepared to listen for local updates on weather and prepare for your commute wisely.

"We will be pre-treating throughout the day and working all night to ensure the roads are covered. Tomorrow morning's commute will be much different than this morning so we want people to be aware of that.  Please don't pass our trucks we will be all over the city especially at the overpasses and bridges which tend to freeze over."

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