By Kevin O’Rourke
Extreme cold and predicted accumulations of six to ten inches of snow has cancelled snow for Montgomery County Public Schools and closed federal offices for Tuesday, February 17 extending the President’s Day Holiday Weekend for students.
Montgomery College will also be closed on Tuesday.
The Germantown area and all of Montgomery County remain under a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service until noon Tuesday. Montgomery County has enacted a Snow Emergency Plan. The storm which is moving through the mid-Atlantic region is expected to drop as much as ten inches of snow as temperatures remain in the mid-teens to low 20s.
While schools are closed Tuesday and there is couple of inches of snow on the ground already, MoCoSnow.com, Germantown Pulse's weather partner, feels that accumulations will remain on the lower end of predictions. "A dry slot may keep snow out of our area for a bit and keep our snow totals at the lower end of most of the projections," according to MoCoSnow.com.
The National Weather Service says a prolonged period of cold with wind chills well below zero is likely Wednesday night through Friday, Feb. 20.
The MCPS announced that school would be closed shortly before 8:00 pm on Monday night. However, at the time of the decision MCPS said that a decision about administrative officers would be made later.
Montgomery County Police and Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service are responding to numerous collisions due to wintery conditions on area roads. Police urge motorists to stay home and avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.
Montgomery County's 311 Call Center will be open all night Monday into Tuesday, Feb. 17 for winter storm. Call 311 or 240-777-0311.
Beginning at 7:00 am on Tuesday, the MCFRS will deploy several specially equipped vehicles to handle the anticipated increase in non-emergency service calls, according to MCFRS spokesman Pete Piringer. The Service Call Utility vehicles will be staffed by two firefighters to handle water and alarm type calls. “Units have handled hundreds of frozen or broken sprinkler pipes throughout MoCo and these will only increase for days to come,” said Piringer. Homeowners are asked to locate the main water shut off for your home so that if a pipe bursts, they can shut off the water thus stopping the leak and minimizing damage.
Due to the extremely cold temperatures expected tonight through Thursday, February 19, Montgomery County Animal Services Division (ASD) Interim Director Donald Johnson is announcing enforcement of Executive Regulation 10-10AM, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs. A portion of the regulation states: “a person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being including: unattended tethering of the dog during a weather emergency.”
The regulation is enforced during periods of extreme cold, wind, and heavy snow, which can all be damaging to dogs and other animals. The penalty for violation is a $500 fine.
Montgomery County Police Animal Services officers remind residents to be particularly careful with all pets during this period of cold weather. The best advice is to bring pets indoors. Even animals that are accustomed to living outdoors can be susceptible to the dangers of cold weather. Livestock should have a place to get out of the wind; dry bedding should be provided to protect them from frostbite.
ASD Officers will be on-call, patrolling neighborhoods and responding to any animal-related emergencies. Anyone who sees an animal left outside that appears to be in danger, call the Animal Services Division immediately at 301-279-8000