Storm Expected to Produce Moderate Snow During this Evening's Rush Hour

Motorists Asked to Use Extra Caution and Anticipate Travel Delays

SOUTHERN MARYLAND (Feb. 20, 2008) - Weather forecasters are calling for an 80 percent chance of snow starting this afternoon for counties west of the Chesapeake Bay. The weather service says a mix of snow and rain will develop after 2 pm., then change to all snow by late afternoon. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible through the early evening hours.

Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties Public Schools have cancelled all after school and evening activities.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) says crews will be out in force this afternoon and evening to spread salt and plow as needed. Given the storm is expected to occur during the evening rush hour, SHA is asking motorists to plan ahead and expect travel delays.

Bridges, ramps and overpasses are generally three to five degrees colder than road surfaces and will freeze first. SHA recommends that motorists drive well below the posted speed limit on wet or icy roads.

"A good thing to remember when on the roads - ice and snow, take it slow," said SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen. "Several storms have occurred this winter during rush hours and delays are expected this afternoon. SHA crews will plow and salt as needed, but if there are extensive delays this afternoon, our trucks may be stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. We ask motorists to continue to use caution."

In general, the SHA says it takes plow drivers approximately 45 minutes to one hour to drive their route from beginning to end, not including re-stocking salt or replenishing gas. If the plow driver is sitting in rush-hour traffic, it may take much longer to complete their route.

The SHA says the success in clearing roads is based on how long it takes to reach bare pavement after the storm is complete. During any storm, the goal of SHA crews is to work to keep pace with the storm, not clear the road to bare pavement.

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