By Kevin O’Rourke
Tuesday’s snowstorm caught many by surprise. A winter weather event that was supposed to be a dusting south of Germantown turned out to be much more in many areas of the county.
However, in Germantown MoCoSnow.com predicted the possibility of up to three-inches of snow and that is exactly what was measured here at Germantown Pulse headquarters at about 1:30 pm after the storm had moved on.
While the only official National Weather Service report for Germantown said the snowfall total was just two-inches, we will are going to stick by what our ruler measured.
Earlier this morning, there was a great amount of confusion as the storm’s intensity was higher than expected. Montgomery County Public Schools made an early call of a two-hour delayed opening at 4:30 am, which was what MoCoSnow.com had predicted yesterday afternoon. However, as the morning proceeded it became clear that the storm was stronger than forecasted.
Dana Tofig, public information officer for MCPS told Montgomery County Media that MCPS official talked to the County Officials and were informed that the County would need more time clear the roads, as a result MCPS decided to cancel school and gave MCPS students the first snow day of the school year.
While Tofig admitted to Montgomery County Media that decision to close school came a little later than MCPS and many administrators, parents, and teachers may have wanted, but the situation had changed.
“The storm brought a little more than expected,” said MocoSnow, which was out front of the storm this morning with tweets calling for schools to be closed at 8:44 am “This storm has overachieved. Roads are pretty bad, and I think schools should close for the day.”
At 9:03 am the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for northwest Montgomery County including Germantown Damascus and Rockville.
At 9:24 am MCPS tweeted that indeed schools would be closed.
While closing schools kept many cars and school buses off the road, commuting was a slow go throughout the county with numerous weather related collisions and crashes. Montgomery County Police reported that officers had responded to approximately 100 property damage/personal injury collisions between 5:00 am and 3:00 pm.
In Germantown, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service responded to a collision with a car into a pole at Frederick Road (Rt. 355) and Appledowre Road at about 10:15 am.
Many Germantown kids enjoyed their snow day by sledding on various area hills, including the hill at the corner of Clopper Road and Great Seneca Highway in the Kingsview Giant shopping center.
By mid-afternoon all the County major arterials and secondary roadways had been treated and plowed, according to County officials.
Official said the treatment and plowing of neighborhood streets began this afternoon and work will continue throughout the night. This roadwork is not expected to be completed until at least midnight. If needed, crews will continue to work into the early morning hours until all neighborhood streets have been treated and plowed.
Crews will be back to retreat and plow major arterials before tomorrow morning’s rush hour. If additional work is needed in neighborhoods, it will begin after the retreatment of major and secondary roads.
Residents can track the progress of plows using the Montgomery County Division of Highway Services’ online mapping and tracking site. As of 6:00 pm, all the major roads and many of the neighborhood roads in Germantown had been cleared, according to the Division of Highway Services.
The County is reminding residents that all County-provided trash and recycling services have been suspended for today, with services for the remainder of the week sliding one day later. For example, households that did not receive pickup today will be serviced on Wednesday, January 7; Wednesday customers will receive collections on Thursday, etc. with the last collections being made on Saturday for Friday customers.
Regular collection schedules will resume next week, beginning Monday, Jan. 12. More information about the service slide schedule is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws. For questions regarding trash/recycling collections, call 311.
As for tomorrow, Germantown Pulse’s weather partner, MoCoSnow.com, is going with the same prediction it gave prior to the storm, Two Pencils, which means a 50 percent chance of a two-hour delay tomorrow.
“MCPS won’t call a delay for the sake of calling it,” said MoCoSnow.com. “There are neighborhood roads that remain untreated. Side roads are okay for the most part, and major roads are fine. School sidewalks and parking lots are shoveled/treated for the most part, or will be overnight if they still need it.”
One thing MoCoSnow.com is confident of is that there will be no day off tomorrow. In other words, make sure all the homework is completed.
Top: Three enjoy their day off from school on their way to hit the hill and do some sledding.
Next:The Official Germantown Pulse Snow measurement for Germantown. Three Inches, exactly what MoCoSnow.com predicted for the area.
Next: The fast moving clipper system turned Germantown neighborhoods white and allowed students to enjoy the first snow day of the year.
Next: Many Germantown kids enjoyed their snow day by sledding on various area hills including this guy who doesn't seem to need a sled.
Next: While students and teachers may have enjoyed the day off, many folks had to suffer through a long and often trecherous commute on snow covered and icy roads, such as this on Great Seneca Highway. Photo courtesy of Lesli Brown.
Next: As of 6:00 pm, all the major roads and many of the neighborhood roads in Germantown had been cleared, according to the Division of Highway Services Storm Operations Snowmap.
Next: The snowy decks of Germantown. Photo courtesy of Abuela Boricua.
Unless noted, all photos by Germantown Pulse.