SoMd prepares for Winter Storm Harper, MDOT SHA prepared

News Release, Maryland Department of Transportation

Plan to Leave Work Early or Shelter in Place so Crews can Clear the Roads

(January 17, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) encourages motorists to keep a sharp eye on the weather conditions and plan accordingly for the afternoon commute. Crews will be treating roads alongside hundreds of thousands of motorists during the afternoon commute, which makes treating roads during the storm challenging. The wet pattern continues across Maryland as another winter storm is expected to impact roads and travel conditions beginning during rush hour this afternoon or early evening, and again on Saturday night through Sunday. This system has the potential to significantly impact the evening rush hour.

“We are asking the public to leave work early enough to get home before the storm hits or shelter in place so that our crews can clear the roads,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater.  “If the snow plows and salt trucks are stuck in normal rush hour congestion, our crews can’t treat the roads and motorists may be stuck in snow gridlock for hours.”

According to the latest forecast models, 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible this evening, with differing predictions of the start time. The Baltimore-Washington region could start seeing precipitation as early as 4 p.m., although the latest weather predictions call for snowfall starting closer to 7 p.m. 

From late Friday through Sunday, another system is expected that could be a mix of rain, sleet and/or snow.  Flooding and ice conditions could be an issue.  MDOT SHA is preparing crews to be in a position of rapid deployment to areas prone to flooding. Coming off the wettest year on record, already saturated grounds will increase the likelihood of flooding and trees to fall.

MDOT SHA will closely monitor pavement temperatures as the back end of the storm will produce the coldest temperatures of the year so far. Any pavement that remains wet from the weekend storm has the potential to freeze rapidly. Crews will aggressively patrol for icy spots and drivers are reminded that elevated sections of roadways (bridges, ramps and overpasses) freeze first.

For motorists who travel, Take It Slow on Ice and Snow, and remember that speed limits are set for ideal (dry) conditions. Drivers are also reminded to not pass snow plows. The safest place to be is in the back of a snow plow or plow trains.

Motorists are urged to monitor the forecast as threat levels can change throughout the day and visit for real-time travel alerts and conditions. Customers may also follow MDOT SHA on Twitter @MDSHA and “like” us on Facebook.

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