As the Germantown area and the entire Mid-Atlantic prepare for what promises to be a snowstorm for the ages, Montgomery County leaders say the County is ready for the storm and urges residents to get where they need to be and stay there for the entire weekend.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced that the County is ready for an expected 12- to 34-inches of snow that is expected to begin falling mid-day Friday.
Shortly before 4:00 pm on MCPS announced they would cancel classes on Friday and close schools for the entire weekend, a few moments later WMATA announced that Metro would be closed all day Saturday and Sunday. Metro will end service at 11:00 pm on Friday night.
Montgomery County Public Schools will be closed Friday, January 22, through Sunday, January 24, due to emergency weather conditions. Administrative offices will close Friday at 12:00 pm. MCPS also said that all after-school, evening, weekend, and community use activities in all MCPS buildings are cancelled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This includes the administration of the SAT. Additionally, all field trips for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are cancelled.
Earlier today Governor Larry Hogan signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Maryland, beginning Friday, January 22 at 7:00 am, in anticipation of a potentially historic storm.
“Our state is taking every precaution – coordinating all available resources – to prepare to clear roads, manage incidents, and recover from this storm,” said Governor Hogan. “We urge all Marylanders to take action now to prepare, before this severe weather strikes, with the knowledge that our state will do everything it can to respond quickly, effectively and efficiently to this major storm event.”
At a press conference held in Rockville, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett urged residents to stay put during the Blizzard of ’16. “The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning, so I urge County residents to get where they need to be before the snow begins on Friday afternoon and stay there throughout the weekend,” said Leggett. “This is important for everyone’s safety and to enable our snow plows to clear the roads as expeditiously as possible.”
County crews began pretreating County roads at 11:00 am yesterday, continued the effort through the evening traffic challenges and completed pretreatment of all County roads overnight.
County road crews are putting an initial 500 pieces of equipment into service to pretreat roads and continue as the snow falls. The first priority will be primary and secondary County roads and emergency routes.
Residents are encouraged to remove all vehicles from neighborhood roads and to keep them off the roads even after the snow stops falling. County-owned garages and parking lots will be free starting at noon Friday through at least 9:00 am Monday.
“This has the potential to be a serious storm affecting a wide area,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “We are coordinating with State and local officials to ensure that any area that is significantly impacted by this storm will be able to respond effectively and promote resident safety.”
In addition to staying off the roads and monitoring the weather and power outages, residents should take the following actions:
• Keep devices charged so you will have a way to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information and be able to contact family and friends.
• Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated. If snow is accumulating on your rooftop, consider removing snow if it is safe to do so.
• If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter, or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
• Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives, especially the elderly or vulnerable residents who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.
“I also urge County residents to look out for one another during this expected blizzard, especially for older residents,” said Leggett.
Montgomery’s 311 Call Center will open at 6 AM on Friday morning and go 24/7 for the duration of the storm. Call 311 or 240-777-0311 or go to www.mc311.com.