Winter storm to blanket area with up to 10 inches of snow

BALTIMORE - Up to 10 inches of snow are expected to blanket the Baltimore area as the latest winter storm works its way through the area.

ABC2 News is reporting a winter weather advisory is in effect until 11 p.m. Tuesday. In addition, temperatures are expected to remain below freezing throughout the week, including overnight with the low forecast around 5 degrees.

Compounding the snow is the wind with wind chill values as low as -15 and gusts as high as 31 mph.

Maryland State Highway is reporting crews are loaded up and ready. Overnight, crews filled their trucks with salt and pre-treated the roads in preparation for Tuesday. SHA is also warning motorist to take precautions as the worst of the storm is projected to occur during the evening rush hour.

"Our advisory is for people to not head out," SHA spokeswoman Kellie Boulware said. "We want our law enforcement agencies and crews to be able to do the jobs and respond to any incidents that may occur. But if you do need to go out, just remember the rules of the road we learned in driving school: be courteous, drive at a speed appropriate for the weather conditions and take it slow."

Jurisdictions across the state have also been busy at work in preparation for the storm, which has led to schools, government agencies and businesses to report closings and delays. 

Among the business closing early are White Marsh Mall, Eastpoint Mall, The Mall in Columbia and the Gallery. Baltimore City declared a Code Blue cold weather alert  through Wednesday, representing the 10 th and 11 th such alert this season.

Code Blue is a multi-agency coordinated approach to providing vulnerable populations in Baltimore City with relief from extreme cold weather. The program's goal is to reduce the number of hypothermia deaths and related illnesses in the City. 

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there have been seven cold-related deaths this winter.  Two of those deaths, a male between 45 and 64 years-old, and woman, older than age 65, have occurred in Baltimore City.

As a result of the Code Blue, emergency shelters will keep extended hours and emergency workers will conduct outreach for vulnerable residents.

City officials are also urging patience when it comes to clearing the snow as crews will tackle primary roads first before going after the side streets. City crews often can't do too much plowing because there is just no place to put the snow.

" A lot of time we just treat the roadways, meaning we put salt down and run our trucks up and down the roadways so they are passable," said Kathy Chopper, a spokeswoman with the city Department of Transportation. "But, they won't be plowed down to the bare pavement like you typically see in the county."

In Annapolis, newly elected Mayor Michael Pantelides said its public works crews are preparing vehicles and outside contractors are also available if needed to help clear the 276 miles of paved lanes in the city, which has an ample supply of salt on hand.

In Anne Arundel, County Executive Laura Neuman has ordered four warming centers to be opened.

In Harford County, officials said its Department of Emergency Services activated its Emergency Operations Center at 5 a.m. Tuesday.  Harford County Emergency Manager Rick Ayers and members of the Emergency Management team will monitor the storm throughout the day.

"One of our significant concerns is the prediction of subfreezing temperatures for the next several days," Ayers said in a statement.  "Freezing temperatures pose serious health risks to the elderly, the very young and our homeless populations."

The storm has also greatly impacted travel with more than 2,000 flights already canceled or delayed across the country. The MARC Brunswick and Camden lines were also closed today.

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