(December 13, 2013) Officially winter is eight days away, yet the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is preparing crews and equipment for the third round of wintry precipitation in a week.
Forecasts predict that the rain/snow/sleet line will be near the I-95 corridor, with air temperatures determining what falls from the sky. SHA crews will be out before the first flake falls and will remain on duty until State roads are cleared. Motorists should have realistic expectations during the actual snow event: crews cannot keep the travel lanes bare while snow is falling at a moderate to heavy rate. For a three to six inch snowfall, SHAs goal is have most major roadway travel lanes down to bare pavement within four to six hours after the precipitation stops.
Please keep a close eye on the forecast and make smart decisions if you must travel, said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. Most importantly, during the storm please stay OFF the roads and let the plow drivers do their work. If crews are tending to disabled vehicles and crashes, they cannot treat and plow the roads.
You can visit the CHART website for traffic cameras, real-time weather and road conditions by going to http://www.chart.state.md.us/travinfo/travinfo.asp. The public can see much of what SHA operators view at the Statewide Operations Center, which is activated as SHAs emergency operations center during storms.
For those who do travel, remember snow emergency plans restrict where vehicles can be parked and cars and trucks must have snow or radial tires. If your vehicle becomes disabled, move from the travel lane and onto the shoulder.
Ramps, bridges and overpasses are three to five degrees colder than non-elevated surfaces and will freeze first, so drivers should remain on guard at all times. During snow and ice storms, there may be power outages that disable traffic signals. Use EXTREME caution and treat non-functioning signals as four-way stops its the law.
Sign up for SHAs FREE service—the 511 Traveler Information system. Know Before You Go! Dial 511 from a land line or mobile phone for traffic, weather alerts and road conditions, or visit http://www.MD511.org.