Snow removal crews ready for winter storm - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Snow removal crews ready for winter storm

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DC Snow Team Deploys for the "Big One" Tue., March 5 at 11 pm

The District Snow Team (Department of Public Works and the District Department of Transportation) will deploy about 230 plows citywide starting tonight at 11 pm. Forecasters predict rain Tuesday evening, followed by a rain/snow mix after 11 pm. Heavy, wet snow is expected to start falling in time for Wednesday's am rush hour. The forecast calls for a total of six inches of snow and precipitation should end Wednesday night. Temperatures will hover in the low 30s.

"We may see heavy snow falling throughout Wednesday, so both am and pm rush hours will be critical periods for traffic safety," said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. "Additionally, we urge commercial and residential property owners to clear their sidewalks of snow within 24 hours after the storm ends. While the Snow Team is taking care of the streets, we need property owners to handle the sidewalks so pedestrians can travel safely."

Director Howland said that this storm may not disrupt trash and recycling collections; however, mechanical street sweeping will be suspended because the same employees who sweep the streets drive snow plows. High winds may create the possibility of power outages and downed trees. Residents are reminded to call 311 for all tree emergencies. Power emergencies should be immediately reported to Pepco at 1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press two.

To track the plows, go to and click on

Snow Safety and Preparedness Tips: Take Metro as an alternative to driving. Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, drive cautiously and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles. Property owners are asked to pre-treat their sidewalks with abrasives and remove snow within 24 hours of the end of the storm, and assist their elderly or disabled neighbors with clearing their sidewalks. Also, for plow drivers' safety and yours, "Don't crowd the plow." Residents are encouraged to go to for updates before, during and after snowstorms, and for tips to get one's home and family prepared for inclement weather. Residents also may sign up at to receive emergency alerts and notifications from Alert DC.

Maryland State Highway Administration Prepares for Forecasted Major Winter Storm

Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) crews are preparing for a storm forecasted to begin later today and continue into Wednesday, with the possibility of significant accumulations and travel impacts to motorists. Crews pre-treated major roads with salt brine, which will help prevent initial bonding of snow and ice on pavements.

"After numerous squalls with minimal snow accumulation in the metropolitan areas, many drivers may have become complacent in preparing for driving in winter weather," SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. "If predictions are correct, everyone will need to be alert and prepared. Our trucks will likely need to put the plow blades down on pavement, so please use caution and don't crowd the plow – stay at least five car lengths behind."

SHA held an operations briefing today and reviewed equipment availability, camera status and supplies such as fuel and salt. More than 2,700 personnel (state and contract) and 2,400 pieces of equipment are available statewide and 330,000 tons of salt (more than 90 percent capacity) available at salt barns and salt domes across the State. SHA will deploy six heavy duty tow trucks across the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan region to assist disabled tractor trailers along the interstates.

"The snow is predicted to be heavy and wet, which can cause tree limbs to break onto roads and power lines," added Ms. Peters. "Combined with heavy gusts of wind, there could be power disruptions that cause signals to be out. Remember the new law – treat intersections without power as four-way stops."

SHA Emergency Operations personnel are reaching out to the trucking community to alert their drivers to the potential for significant travel impacts, with delayed travel recommended if at all possible. SHA offers free emergency truck parking at key locations throughout Maryland. In storms that produce six inches or more of snow, truckers can safely ride out the storm. A free mobile application is available at

SHA crews will plow and salt as needed, but motorists must modify driving behavior for conditions - slow down, use caution, allow plenty of distance between vehicles, use snow tires and allow plenty of time for travel.

Know Before You Go. SHA provides a new FREE service the "511 Traveler Information" system. To Know Before You Go! Simply dial 511 from a land line or mobile phone for traffic, weather alerts and road conditions. For internet access, visit While there, register with My511 to customize your reports on your most frequent routes and areas of interest.

If your vehicle does become disabled, make every effort to move from the travel lane and onto the shoulder. Stay tuned to radio traffic reports for the most up to date information. Additionally, if traffic signals are out as a result of power outages, use EXTREME caution and treat it is as a four-way stop. Don't assume the other vehicle will stop; only pass through an intersection when clear.

Drivers should always have an emergency survival kit to include:

• a shovel

• jumper cables

• snacks

• blanket or sleeping bag

• flashlight with extra batteries

• high calorie non-perishable food

• first aid kit

• extra clothes

• bottled water

• a charged mobile phone

• kitty litter or other abrasives

Remember to buckle up and "Take It Slow on Ice and Snow." Before leaving the office or home, log onto and click the CHART icon for the latest road conditions, live traffic cameras and a variety of information to help with travel decisions and planning. Citizens can also follow SHA on Facebook and Twitter. Call 511 or visit for the latest travel information.

For tips on preparing for winter storms, residents can visit, click on the "Be Prepared" button on the left side of the screen and click on the "Winter Storms" link. There also are tips for general preparedness that are helpful for any type of emergency.

VDOT Deploying 4,000 Trucks in N. Virginia

By 4 a.m. Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will deploy more than 4,000 salt trucks and plows throughout northern Virginia in preparation for up to a foot of wet, heavy snow. Emergency tree contractors are on standby as strong winds could bring down trees and power lines.

"We are urging commuters to stay off the road on Wednesday and let our crews clear the roads," said VDOT maintenance engineer Branco Vlacich. "Roads likely will be treacherous at times."

Major routes are treated with chemicals and plowed once two inches have fallen. In subdivisions and other low volume roads hills and other trouble spots are treated with sand and plowed when two inches have accumulated.

In northern Virginia, VDOT has one snow removal program for high volume roads such has Interstates 66, 95, 395, 495, Routes 1, 7, 15, 28, 50, Fairfax County Parkway, Prince William Parkway, etc.), and another snow removal program for subdivisions (main thoroughfares in neighborhoods, residential streets and cul de sacs). Therefore, crews will be working on high volume roads and in subdivisions concurrently. Within each of these programs, roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.

VDOT is responsible for 17,679 lane miles in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties (Arlington County maintains its own secondary roads).

Track Virginia snow plowing here:

VDOT reminds motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather. Drivers should:

• Check current weather, road conditions and traffic before traveling at or by calling 511

• Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination

• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges

• Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road

Click here for more information on northern Virginia's snow removal program, and report road problems to 1-800-FOR-ROAD or

Metro cancels Tuesday evening track work in advance of winter storm

As Metro prepares for snow clearing operations, the Authority today announced that all previously announced evening track work for Tuesday, March 5, has been cancelled. The cancellation will allow personnel to focus on clearing snow from tracks, platforms, parking lots and walkways in preparation for Wednesday morning's opening.

Metro has snow-related service information available on its website at There, customers can find information and maps showing pre-planned Metrobus route adjustments that may be necessary tomorrow due to road conditions.

Metro is also encouragin customers to sign up for MetroAlerts email and text messages for up-to-the-minute information about weather-related service changes on Metrobus or Metrorail. To sign up, visit

For more Metro snow information, visit

Stay Informed During Winter Weather Events

• Sign up for MetroAlerts for your bus or rail lines.

• Follow Metro on Twitter @wmata.

• Visit before you start your trip.

• Call the Metro Customer Information Center at 202-637-7000.

• Listen to radio or television traffic reports.

Winter Travel Tips

• Before you start your trip, find out how Metro is serving your area and don't let yourself get stranded once you're out.

• Dress warmly. You may be outside longer than normal.

• Do not stand in the street while waiting for a bus.

• Use extreme caution when walking on exposed surfaces, including parking lots and station platforms. Never run for a bus or train.

• Report any unsafe conditions to a Metro employee.

BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Prepares for Winter Weather

Employees at Baltimore/ Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport are preparing today for the strong winter storm that is expected to hit the region tonight and tomorrow.

A number of airlines have announced travel advisories and relaxed itinerary change policies ahead of the expected storm. In addition, airlines often cancel flights before or during heavy winter storms. BWI Marshall Airport strongly recommends that travelers check with their airline for current flight information before heading to the Airport. Customers are advised to monitor airline or Airport web sites to be aware of possible flight cancellations. BWI Marshall Airport's website is—

"BWI Marshall Airport is working to plan and prepare for a potentially significant winter storm," said Paul J. Wiedefeld, Executive Director of the Maryland Aviation Administration. "We will have employees working throughout the expected winter weather to help ensure safe operations for travelers and airline partners."

Should the predicted storm materialize, BWI Marshall Airport will initiate a full weather recall for emergency and essential staff. Snow-removal crews, both Airport employees and contractors, will be activated. The snow teams will work to remove snow and ice from Airport runways, taxiways, and ramp areas, as well as public roadways, parking lots, and sidewalks.

More than 200 Airport employees and contractors will have access to more than 175 pieces of specialized snow removal equipment, including plows, chemical trucks, brooms, and several high-speed, multi-function, state-of-the-art runway clearing vehicles. BWI Marshall Airport has about 240 tons of sand, 350 tons of salt, 175 tons of solid chemical deicer, and 60,000 gallons of liquid chemical deicer on hand to battle the snow and ice.

Airport winter operations are a shared responsibility. Extensive planning and preparation is conducted year-round to ensure the Airport is ready for winter weather. BWI Marshall Airport is responsible for snow removal and safe operations of the facility. The airlines de-ice aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration controls air traffic and manages the movement of aircraft on the airfield.

With a potentially significant snowfall expected, BWI Marshall Airport customers should consider utilizing covered parking in either the Daily Garage or the Hourly Garage.

Maryland State Troopers Prepare For Inclement Weather

Maryland State Troopers, in coordination with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the State Highway Administration, and other local agencies prepare for the approaching snow storm.

Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, advises motorists to be aware of the possibility of hazardous conditions that may arise from the pending snow event. Colonel Brown has directed barrack commanders across the state to be prepared to assess road conditions in their area and deploy troopers as appropriate.

Motorists are reminded of highway restrictions should a snow emergency plan be activated. If declared, parking is prohibited on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes. All motorists are required to use approved mud and snow tires or chains while operating their vehicle during a declared snow emergency. All unattended vehicles along major roads will be towed. A motorist whose car or truck has been towed can contact the local state police barrack for information regarding their vehicle.

During snow storms, abandoned and disabled vehicles cause major concerns for snow removal trucks and for troopers responding to emergency situations. Maryland State Police encourage those who do not need to travel during the storm to stay off the roads. If you find it necessary to travel, make sure your vehicle is in good working condition and have an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle.

In the event of power failures, motorists are reminded of Maryland's law concerning non-functioning traffic lights. The law requires all drivers approaching an intersection with a non-functioning traffic signal to stop. Drivers may proceed only after they have yielded to any vehicles or pedestrians already in the intersection. They must remain stopped until the intersection is clear and it is safe to proceed.

For the latest statewide emergency information, citizens are urged to visit the Maryland Emergency Management Agency website at Up to the minute statewide traffic information, including road closures due to snow or ice is available on-line at, or by calling 511. Road conditions and views of live traffic cameras are also available on the State Highway Administration website at Citizens are urged not to call Maryland State Police barracks simply to check on road conditions. Calls to police or 911 centers during the storm should be for emergency situations only.

Commercial vehicles are invited to wait out the storm at one of ten Maryland State Police scale house parking lots that will be available overnight. The following is a listing of all the Maryland scale house locations:

Delmar on US 13 in Wicomico County

Finzel on I-68 Eastbound in Garrett County

Hyattstown on I-270 in Montgomery County

Parkton on I-83 Southbound Baltimore County

New Market on I-70 Eastbound in Frederick County

Upper Marlboro on US 301 in Prince George's County

West Friendship on 1:70 Westbound in Howard County

College Park, Park & Ride on I-95/495 in Prince George's County

Conowingo on US 1 in Harford County

Cecilton on US 301 Southbound in Cecil County

Maryland State Police will be working closely with State Highway Administration and Maryland Emergency Management Agency officials throughout the storm. Marylanders are urged not to travel during the storm unless absolutely necessary.

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