ACCUWEATHER - Impacts from a storm targeting millions of people in the eastern states will range from travel disruptions and power outages caused by heavy snow to coastal flooding from storm surge.
A major storm will bring heavy snow from parts of North Carolina to portions of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey spanning later Tuesday into Thursday.
The storm will be moving through the central Appalachians toward the mid-Atlantic coast during the middle of the week, after blasting portions of the Plains and Midwest Monday into Tuesday.
Based on the latest information, the area that is most likely to receive a foot or more of snow lies across the higher elevations of eastern West Virginia into western parts of Virginia.
Charlottesville, Roanoke, Harrisonburg and Winchester, Va.; Frederick and Hagerstown, Md. and Martinsburg, W.Va. appear to have some of the greatest snow potential. This potential would be dangerous, travel-halting snow. The weight of heavy snow can bring down trees and power lines in this area.
However, dozens of other cities in the region could receive anywhere from a couple of inches of slush to a foot or more of back-breaking snow. These include Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Md., Richmond, Va., Dover, Del. and Vineland, N.J. These areas are likely to receive rain during part of the storm and a larger percentage of the snow that falls is more likely to melt for a time.
As the rate of snow becomes heavy, roads can quickly become clogged with snow, potentially stranding motorists. Deicing time will increase at area airports in the path of the storm. Potential flight delays and cancellations from heavy snow will hit Minneapolis and Chicago first, then will spread to multiple airports in the I-95 mid-Atlantic with the possibility of delayed aircraft and crews elsewhere across the nation.
There is still the risk the storm strengthens upon nearing the coast and either grows in size spreading snow and other effects farther north, stalls or both.
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg are also on the bubble with the chance of a period of heavier snow that can bring a big accumulation or lesser snow to primarily a rain/snow mix. These details will not be known until the storm is virtually under way. A shift in track of the storm and its heavy snow by 50 miles can make the difference between a couple of inches and a foot of back-breaking snow.
New York City is likely to be on the northernmost edge of the lesser snow area. Unless the storm stalls and expands substantially northward, a heavy snowfall appears to be a low probability. Southeastern New England and Long Island, which extend out into the Atlantic a bit more, have a slightly higher chance of a period of accumulating snow.
A slightly more southerly track would throw heavier snow farther south over western and central North Carolina. As a result folks in Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Raleigh, N.C. and Norfolk, Va. should watch this storm closely.
Along the coast, the storm will also cause strong winds, as well as water rise issues and beach erosion.
Surviving the Winter Storm - Tips from Prince George's County Fire and EMS
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Prince George's County for a strong weather system that will arrive Tuesday night, March 5 and continue through Wednesday, March 6. The men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department want you to help us by staying safe yourself. We recommend that our citizens, visitors and businesses "Stay Informed, Stay Ready, Stay Safe".
• Stay prepared by bringing out your emergency preparedness kit and having a supply of essential items (food, water, warming items, radios, batteries, flashlights, etc.) available.
• Stay informed by monitoring TV news, news radio, National Weather Service radios and the Internet. Important information may be broadcast that could affect you and your family. Ensure your cell phones, tablets and lap top computers are fully charged now – before the storm occurs. Weather and incident updates will be posted on the Fire/EMS Departments Twitter site @PGFDPIO before, during and after the storm.
• Stay safe by keeping fire safety and injury prevention a priority in your activities. It is important to remember that fire apparatus and ambulances will be slower to respond to your emergencies due to the weather and hazardous driving conditions. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms now to ensure they are working. In the event of an emergency, have an escape plan and call 911 immediately from a safe location.
• If possible, stay indoors and off the roads. Reduced traffic on roadways will allow public works crews and opportunity to clear a path that can be used by first responders to handle emergencies. If you must venture outdoors, dress warm and in layers, wear a hat and gloves, and cover your face with a scarf.
• A winter storm always has the potential to cause power disruptions as snow will collect on power lines and tree branch's that will then come in contact with power lines. Do not approach a downed power line – always consider downed power lines to be "live." Restrict access to the downed lines and call 911.
• Speaking of calling 911 – please – only call 911 for emergencies. Activity for Fire and EMS service will be high during the storm. If you do not have an emergency you should call 311 for assistance.
• In the event of power outages – use flashlights and battery powered lanterns for illumination – do not use candles. Ensure you have a battery powered radio. Never operate a gasoline generator inside of your home or attached garage, keep the generator outside and away from any windows or doors as CO can find its way inside your home.
• Give space heaters space – keep space heaters at least 3-feet away from anything combustible like bedding, furniture, paper, etc.
• Use only seasoned wood products in your fireplace and use extreme caution when disposing of fireplace ashes as they can remain hot for days after the fire is out. Dispose of ashes in a metal container outside and away from the house.
• Some winter storms produce enough snow that will make it difficult to shovel, especially for those that have an existing heart condition or anyone over the age of 50. Limit shoveling to only a few minutes at a time, shovel smaller amounts, and take frequent breaks.
• Neighbor Helping Neighbor - It is time to be a good neighbor – check on your senior citizen neighbors and ensure they have heat and food. Shovel their sidewalks and check on them frequently. Check on their smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector to ensure they are working.
• Clear away snow from the fire hydrant on your street. If the fire hydrant is on your property; you are required to clear away the snow.
• If you must drive – reduce your speed, increase the distance between you and the car in front of you, turn on your headlights, and do not be distracted by cell phones. Keep an eye out for pedestrians as they will venture out into the streets as sidewalks disappear. This information especially applies to 4-wheel drive SUV operators.
The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department stands ready and prepared to provide the best services available. We ask you to help us by preventing emergencies from ever occurring to avoid the need for us to have to respond to that emergency.
Remember, Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes Home
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Prepares for Significant Winter Storm
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is closely monitoring an approaching weather front that will likely bring heavy, wet snow and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour across the majority of its central Maryland service area on Wednesday. Snow accumulations are forecasted to reach between six to 15 inches. Coupled with high wind gusts, heavy, wet snow can cover tree limbs, electric delivery equipment and power lines, and cause power outages. BGE is making an initial request for up to 500 out-of-state utility workers through the mutual assistance networks. Just as the company is preparing field crews and employees to respond to potential power outages resulting from the forecasted weather, the company reminds its customers to take the time now to make preparations.
It is important to note that customers may now report power outages from mobile phones and devices through the company's new mobile website at bge.com or by calling 877.778.2222. An enhanced power outage map is also available through the mobile and full websites, and provides the general location and status of current electric power outages in BGE's service area. Customers can view affected area(s), the number of customers affected by an outage, estimated time of restoration if available, and the status of the field crew assigned to repair the issue.
"While the forecast for Monday and Tuesday remains mild, we expect conditions to drastically change with the approaching winter storm that will likely impact BGE's service area on Wednesday and Thursday," said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. "Heavy, wet snow combined with high wind and wind gusts can weaken trees, bringing whole trees and tree limbs down onto power lines and other electric delivery equipment, and cause outages. The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority, and in periods of sustained high wind, it may be unsafe to operate bucket trucks. Customers should prepare for the possibility of extended power outages in the event that the snowfall causes treacherous road conditions, which may delay crew travel and restoration times. We appreciate our customers' efforts to prepare in advance for adverse weather and to assist BGE in identifying and reporting outages and downed wires through our recently introduced mobile website at bge.com or our automated phone system at 877.778.2222."
As a reminder, BGE customers who may be elderly, disabled or dependent on electricity for medical or life-sustaining equipment (Customers with Special Needs), should always have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage.
BGE encourages its customers and employees to proactively prepare for severe weather and the possibility of power outages and to take steps to ensure the safety of their families and property during service interruptions by taking the following steps:
• Stay informed – Be aware of changing weather conditions and plan ahead. Have a battery-powered radio with a weather band so you can hear emergency information when the power is out.
• Make a plan – Discuss and document an emergency plan with those in your care. Develop a family emergency plan that includes alternative arrangements should the need arise to leave your home. Make provisions for special needs of any family member such as the elderly, disabled, medically affected or infants. If you are dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, you are encouraged to seek alternate arrangements in the event that your electric service is interrupted.
• Make a list of emergency phone numbers (including 877.778.2222 to report an outage or a downed wire to BGE) and keep a personal telephone book and one corded phone or a cell phone on hand.
• Build an emergency kit – Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care. Remember supplies for children, those with special needs and pets.
• Keep the following items readily available:
o Flashlights – not candles
o Fresh batteries
o Battery-operated clock radio
o Corded telephone
o Fully charged cell phone
o Non-perishable foods
o Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
o First aid kit
o Local maps
Customers also should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations. For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged.
In addition to monitoring current and approaching weather conditions that could result in service interruptions, BGE regularly conducts emergency training drills during which all aspects of storm-related service restoration are tested. BGE's most recent drill occurred last October, and involved a detailed review of BGE's Electric Delivery Emergency Response Plan to ensure that storm response procedures are up-to-date and in line with industry standards.
Customers can find information on preparing for natural disasters and other emergency events at bge.com, as well as storm preparation information and restoration progress via BGE's social media sites on Twitter and Facebook.
Pepco Monitoring Approaching Winter Storm - Utility prepared for possibility of significant heavy, wet snow; sleet; and ice
Pepco is closely monitoring an approaching winter storm. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Washington Metropolitan Area from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. Weather forecasts are still changing, but some predict snow accumulations of more than a foot through the Pepco region with up to 17 inches predicted in some locations in Montgomery County. We also expect wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Watch means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice. Pepco is preparing for the worst of the forecasts.
Heavy, wet snow; ice; and high winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.
Pepco will have extra line and tree crews available, and the Call Center will be staffed overnight. In addition to internal crews, Pepco has more than 450 overhead line contractors already working on the system available if needed. Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI), parent company for Pepco, is also asking for more contractor support and has asked for 250 mutual assistance crews from other utilities. We also have almost 300 tree contractors already working on our system.
Customers are asked to please call in any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662), follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Outages also may be reported through pepco.com or through our mobile app.
For more information and updates, visit www.pepco.com, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect, and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.
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