By Kevin O’Rourke
As yet another winter storm approaches the Germantown area, Montgomery County Schools have closed schools for Thursday, March 5 and some believe that this storm might just give MCPS students and teachers a four-day weekend.
The National Weather Service has issues a Winter Storm Warning for the Germantown area through 7:00 pm Thursday, March 5. The NWS predicts that snow accumulations will be four- to eight-inches.
Montgomery County Public Schools and all administrative offices are closed Thursday due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled.
All meetings related to the superintendent search scheduled for Thursday, have been canceled, including the public forums at Gaithersburg and Paint Branch high schools. An additional public forum will be held on Tuesday, March 10, at Gaithersburg High School, starting at 7:00 pm.
Montgomery College and the University of Maryland in College park will be closed on March 5. The schools made that announcement Wednesday, March 4.
Montgomery County Government is closed today, as are Montgomery County Circuit Court, Rockville & Silver Spring District Courts. All essential employees must report at their regularly scheduled times. The Shady Grove Transfer Station and Recycling Center are also closed. Montgomery County Recreation is also closed today. All facilities are closed and all programs are canceled.
The Montgomery County Public Library has announced that all public libraries will be also closed on Thursday, March 5 due to harzardous weather.
The Federal government is also closed today, Thursday, March 5. Due to the impending snow storm and closure of the Federal Government, there will be no MTA Commuter Bus service on Thursday. The 201 Gaithersburg-BWI route will operate as scheduled, however, service will be suspended if road conditions do not permit safe operation.
Germantown Pulse partner MoCoSnow.com has complied an updated list projected snow totals from area meteorologists and all have the Germantown area getting plowed under by at least four inches of snow, and as much as 12-inches.
“The storm should turn to sleet in the very early morning hours and then snow by 7:00 am for our area,” said MoCoSnow.com. “In regards to Friday, right now, I’m thinking that seven inches and up, county-wide, would also give us Friday off, as high temps will not reach above freezing.”
Due to predicted freezing rain and snow, Montgomery County Ride On buses will operate under their “S” service plan. Ride On expects to operate all of its weekday routes except Route 94 with some service. The S service plan will be in effect countywide until at least 2:00 am. Friday. It may be extended beyond that time if conditions warrant.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is preparing for a storm Thursday that is forecasted to drop more than six inches of snow throughout the region. Since the storm will start as rain, SHA is not pre-treating roads with brine because it would wash away. Staff at the Statewide Operations Center will monitor conditions and deploy resources as needed.
“With the storm starting overnight, it is important for commuters to plan ahead and make sound judgments about driving or not in the morning. If you do choose to drive, be sure your vehicle can maneuver in the snow. Just one abandoned car can create a traffic jam that impacts everyone, including our plow trucks,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “SHA anticipates plowing roads as snow begins to accumulate. If you encounter our crews or emergency responders, please leave plenty of following distance and never try to pass plows.”