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After the Storm is Gone: What to Do

While County crews continue clean up operations in the wake of last week’s snow storm, many residents, too, are dealing with the aftermath of the storm itself and its accompanying power outages.

In order to help guide residents to necessary services relating to cleanup, the County has added a Post Storm Information icon on its home page – www.montgomerycountymd.gov – with links to helpful tips, procedures and phone numbers.

Information on the new Post Storm Information site will be adapted according to the time of year and particular issues associated with the seasons.

CATEGORIES: Snow
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

County Unveils New Online Map for Residents to Track Progress of Snow Plows

County Executive Ike Leggett and Department of Transportation officials have announced the launch of a new, online tool that will make it easier for residents to decide when to safely venture out following a snowstorm and to monitor snow clearing progress.

The map tool will show the progress of snow plows throughout the County and indicate when emergency roads, primary neighborhood streets and neighborhood streets have been cleared. A zoom feature allows residents to focus on the plow status of their immediate neighborhood and surrounding streets and then zoom out to check on an entire trip route.

Also, during storms, check the Winter Storm and Information Updates page for the latest information about closures, service schedules, etc.

CATEGORIES: Snow , News , County Executive
POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Helpful Information for Any Kind of Weather

For the latest in traffic conditions, snow removal operations, the status of County government programs and services, etc., consult the County's website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

Also, remember for emergencies and to report “hot” wires or sparking wires, especially those across roadways, call 9-1-1. The Police non-emergency number is 301-279-8000.  For more information about snow removal operations visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/snow or call 240-777-6000.

Residents who experience power outages should call their service provider: PEPCO at 1-877-737-2662, Allegheny Power at 1-800-255-3443 or Baltimore Gas and Electric at 1-877-778-2222.

CATEGORIES: Snow
POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Digging Out

Buried under a record 40 inches of snow with more than 80,000 County households and businesses without power at one point and hundreds of downed trees, Montgomery County government responded aggressively on a number of fronts to provide service to County residents. That response included highway plowing and clearing operations, assisting PEPCO workers with snowplows and tree crews to help in restoring power, establishing shelters, responding to the public safety needs of residents, recruiting volunteers for transport duty and communicating to the public.

Building on extensive planning and preparation, Montgomery County deployed 1,200 vehicles – up from 550 for the December storm – to clear 900 miles of primary and secondary routes and 4,128 lane miles of residential roads. The County called in contractors from as far away as North Carolina and Florida to tackle the clean-up, reflecting County Executive Leggett’s determination to use whatever resources necessary to dig out County neighborhoods.

County call takers handled 31,000 phone calls and email service requests. Maryland National Guard personnel and 20 Humvees assisted County Fire & Rescue (FRS) in reaching seniors and others with special needs. During the period from Sunday, February 7 to Friday, February 12, FRS made 325 welfare assistance calls. Nearly 70 volunteers with four-wheel drive vehicles also pitched in to help the County. Thanks to excellent work by the Department of General Services, only two percent of County vehicles involved in the massive operation had breakdowns or were pulled out of service during the massive effort – a striking contrast to some other jurisdictions.

"I believe Montgomery County did a good job with these recent storms," said County Executive  Ike Leggett. "But I also believe  we can always improve our performance."

As with any weather event of this magnitude, the effects and impacts on residents, work crews, first responders, businesses, and government programs and services are many and in some instances, not necessarily short-lived. The work of hauling away banked snow and ice continues. And, of course, the winter is not yet over. 

Caution Still Advised for Motorists and Pedestrians

Even now, area motorists and pedestrians should still be alert and aware of possible situations when driving and/or walking.

For example:

  • With snow melting during the daytime hours, if temperatures drop below freezing at night, black ice can occur during the night and caution in driving and walking is advised.
  • Proceed with extreme caution when approaching an intersection where the line of sight may be blocked by mounds of snow.
  • Stay alert for pedestrians walking in the roadways. Some pedestrians may be wearing hats and hoods that impede their vision and hearing, and those wearing dark clothing can be difficult to see during evening hours.

Sidewalks & Snow

This last series of storms produced record breaking snow falls and more is being forecast.  We must work together to reclaim our sidewalks and provide safe pedestrian pathways. For more on how to do this, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk.

Getting the Word Out

The County website helped many residents make decisions in dealing with the two major, record-breaking snowstorms that hit the Washington DC metropolitan area between February 5 and 10.

The storms brought a 46% increase in the number of page views of the Montgomery County website.

The number of page views for the Department of Transportation increased 204%, Emergency Management was up by 203% and the press release views rose by 537%.

Leading up to, during and following the storms, the County regularly issued winter storm updates to help the public weather the extraordinary situation. Updates included snow plowing status, Ride On updates, and information regarding power outages, trash and recycling collections, opening of shelters, government facility closures and winter safety tips.

Over 150,000 subscribers to Alert Montgomery received regular, continuous updates. If you aren’t on board yet, you can subscribe now.

Additionally, Montgomery County tweeted winter storm advisories to its 2,127 Twitter followers, posted a winter storm update with weather-related safety tips on YouTube, posted numerous press releases to its 1,084 Facebook fans and emailed a Special Winter Storm Update to another 70,000 County homes.

CATEGORIES: Snow
POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 5:00:00 AM |

Calling All Potholes -- We're Out to Get You

The aftermath of our recent record-breaking storms has meant that pothole season is here -- waiting to wreak havoc on our vehicles and bones.

However, there is something you can do to help everyone get through this. If you either encounter or know of potholes along your daily routes, you can report them at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dpwt/pothole/Pothole.asp or by calling 240-777-6000.

CATEGORIES: Snow , Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM |

County Council Members Call Highway Services’ Work During December’s Blizzard “Terrific,” ”Exemplary”

At a January 12 County Council Transportation and Environment Committee meeting, Council members praised the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) hard work in clearing December’s record 24-inch snowfall in record time.

 The National Weather Service declared that the December 19 blizzard dumped the most snow for a single storm ever recorded in Montgomery County.   Yet, within 55 hours of the end of the storm, every one of the County’s more than 5,000 lane miles of road that the Division of Highway Services (DHS) clears had been made passable. 

Council Vice President Valerie Ervin told DOT Director Art Holmes, Deputy Director Al Roshdieh and DHS Chief Keith Compton that she “never had such great removal on my street.”  DHS did “fantastic work, and we thank you for that.  ….. It was exemplary.”  

Council President Nancy Floreen echoed Ms. Ervin’s statement, saying “terrific job” and “We should all be very proud.”

Councilmember Roger Berliner told DOT staff, “Many of you didn’t stop for four days….. I know how hard you worked…. This was an unprecedented level of snow.”

Councilmember Nancy Navarro said she wanted to “express gratitude for the very hard work you did… in this unprecedented blizzard.  I appreciate the support you gave us.”

The last comparable snowfall that occurred was in 1996.  During that storm, DHS fielded more than 10,000 resident calls for service.   During December’s storm, DHS received about 1,000 calls.

Compton talked about the challenges that the December storm posed.  At times, more than 1.5 inches of snow fell each hour, requiring DHS to replow main roads and emergency routes more than five times.  Winds created snow drifts up to three feet and blew recently plowed snow back onto cleared roads.  Compton told Council members that his crews and contractors used more than 500 pieces of equipment, worked non-stop for four days, and drove more than 18,000 miles. 

Compton explained that many of the calls from residents originated because they expect neighborhood streets to be plowed to bare pavement.  Although emergency routes, main roads and arterial roads are cleared to bare pavement, DHS’s policy is to make neighborhood roads passable.  Even if it were possible to obtain more snow removal equipment, trying to clear neighborhood roads to bare pavement would cause much greater environmental damage from salt and abrasives, quadruple costs and significantly delay plowing of all neighborhoods.

See the powerpoint presentation (pdf) of procedures executed during the blizzard, and view video (wmv) of brief to Council.

CATEGORIES: Snow
POSTED: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 5:00:00 PM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010