Governor Larry Hogan’s state of emergency went into effect Friday morning as Maryland prepared for a blizzard that forecasters say could dump two feet of snow, and possibly more, in the region.
"Our state is taking every precaution, coordinating all available resources, to prepare to clear roads, manage incidents, and recover from this storm," Hogan said Thursday. "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."
Forecasts call for the snow to start late Friday afternoon and continue into Sunday morning, accompanied by high winds. A blizzard warning is in effect from 3 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Sunday. Some forecasters say the worst-case scenario could bring 30 inches or more of snow in the Baltimore area.
In Baltimore County, crews were getting ready to clear snow on roughly 8,700 county roads. County Public Works Director Ed Adams said all hands are to be on deck and no one goes home until the roads are clear.
He said the county will hire contractors to augment government if necessary, as they did when 27 inches fell during the President’s Day storm of 2003 or the double blizzards of 2010.
"Still puts a pain in my gut," Adams said, "kind of like I’m feeling right now."
He said it took nearly a week to recover from the 2003 storm and that they learned some things from that one and the double whammy in 2010.
"You will see the end of it," Adams said. "You know it’s coming. It just takes everybody keep working, keep working keep working. The thing I’m already looking forward to is I think Wednesday they’re calling for 44 degrees."
Adams said crews will put down a base layer of salt down right after the first flakes fall. They’ll start plowing after two or three inches have accumulated. And they’ll try to keep the major roads in the county open throughout the storm.
Trini Lambert, who has worked for the county Public Works Department for three years, said he knows this will be a long weekend, even if he’s not as worried as others.
"But it’s not going to be so bad," he said as he put chains on the tires of one county truck. "We’ve had it like these before."
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said at a news conference on snow storm preparation that the county is ready, with 80,000 tons of salt on hand. And he channeled HBO’s Game of Thrones.
"So to anyone who has seen that show, I can now tell you winter is coming and our realm must be protected," he said.
In order to help them protect the realm, county officials are asking for your help. Don’t drive anywhere unless it’s absolutely necessary. Try to park your car off the street so the snow plows have a clear path. Have several days’ worth of food on hand. Don’t forget batteries. Check on elderly neighbors.
Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson also advised people to avoid confrontations. For instance, don’t shovel snow into someone else’s parking space.