Archive for the ‘Blizzards of 2010’ Category

Snow Causes Hundreds of Md. Highway Accidents

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Maryland State Police have responded to more than 700 accidents since Friday, when the first of two blizzards hit the region, said spokesman Greg Shipley.

More than a third of the accidents included personal injuries or required vehicles to be towed.

But none of the accidents were fatal.

“This is an unprecedented storm period,” Shipley said. “The accidents have correlated to reflect such.”

Prince George’s County Police Department spokesman Henry Tippett called the lack of fatalities a blessing, and credited the snow with deterring deaths.

“Because of the snow, people can’t speed,” he said.

Shipley said the accidents occurred with more frequency than in a normal week, but were not concentrated in any specific area. He said the majority were caused by people driving vehicles not equipped to handle the hazardous conditions.

“We urge everybody to really evaluate whether they have a reason to drive,” Shipley said.

–By Maryland Newsline’s Zettler Clay

It’s Official: Record Snowfall for Baltimore Area

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The National Weather Service made it official at about 7 a.m. this morning, when it recorded 5.2 inches of new snow at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

That accumulation was enough to give Baltimore a record snowfall for the season –besting the 62.5 inches recorded at the airport during 1995-’96.

And snow was still falling.

What remains to be seen is by how many inches the season record will be smashed. At BWI, the two-day accumulation stood at 11.9 inches at 1 p.m. today. That means the new season record of 72.3 inches had already smashed the old one by nearly 10 inches.

Record keeping for snowfall in Baltimore dates back as far as 1893.

New records were also set at Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

An update extended the current winter storm warning to 10 p.m. this evening.

The weather service has added a blizzard warning to the mix, thanks to wind gusts of up to 40 mph in some areas. The service issued a warning earlier today urging drivers to stay at home due to the blizzard-like winds and whiteout conditions.

It said Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties and the city of Baltimore were experiencing the harshest conditions. And in Baltimore, city officials warned that only emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads.

–From Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles

Roads in Prince George’s County were narrow or impassable on Wednesday, when the second blizzard in a week hit the region. (Photo by Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles)

Power Outages Expected, More Snow on Way

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Thousands of Marylanders are still without power following last weekend’s blizzard, and officials say more outages could occur during the snowstorm expected to move into the region today.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. reported more than 98,000 power outages among its customers since Friday’s snowfall–most in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. As of Tuesday afternoon, 97,982 had been restored, leaving a little over 500 without power.

BGE has more than 1.26 million customers in Maryland.

Pepco fielded calls on about 108,000 power outages at the height of the storm, said Bob Hainey, Pepco manager of media relations. More than 80,000 of them were in the Montgomery County area.

“Montgomery County has a lot of trees,” Hainey said, “and once snow hits the trees, the power lines are next.”

Pepco restored more than 70,000 homes in Montgomery County. But as of Tuesday afternoon, there were 9,190 Montgomery County Pepco customers still without power, 255 in Prince George’s County and 193 in Washington, D.C., Hainey said.

Spokesmen for both companies said their crews are working around the clock to restore power.

BGE has “linemen from Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio assisting us,” said BGE spokeswoman Linda Foy.

More power outages are expected today and tomorrow, officials said, when another 10 to 20 inches of snow are expected to fall in the region, topping the two or more feet that fell last weekend.

Hainey said those with existing power outages will be first priority and will not fall to the bottom of the queue.

If power goes out in your home, Foy urged using flashlights rather than candles, which are a safety hazard.

BGE also asks customers to clear vent pipes and outside meters, to prevent them from malfunctioning.

Hainey urged customers to be mindful of carbon monoxide, which can come from using charcoal grills too close to the house or operating portable generators improperly. Carbon monoxide can go undetected in a home because it’s without a smell.

“We tell people don’t do anything to project carbon monoxide, because it can kill you,” Hainey said.

By Maryland Newsline’s Zettler Clay

Region in Store for Record Snowfall

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

If current weather predictions are right, the Baltimore-Washington region will easily surpass its previous all-time high for snow accumulation in one season.

The current accumulation for this 2009-2010 season stands at 60.4 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Airport — good for second in the history books, according to the National Weather Service:

  • 62.5 inches (1995-96)
  • 60.4 inches (2009-10)
  • 58.2 inches (2002-03)
  • 51.8 inches (1963-62)

Another 10 to 20 inches of snowfall in the region are expected between this afternoon and 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the latest winter storm warning issued by the weather service. Snow is expected to be accompanied by strong winds.

From Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles

Stores in Overdrive Stocking Shelves for Storm

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Long lines of cautious customers left several shelves at a Safeway in Bowie barren on Friday, as snow began settling on the region.

The usual panic purchases of milk, eggs and toilet paper were hit the hardest, said Craig M. Muckle, public affairs manager of Safeway’s Eastern Division.

But, Muckle said, more stock should be on the way. Trucks are scheduled to make more deliveries to stores overnight into Saturday morning, so long as roads are safe.

The only item that may remain out of stock is bread, which is shipped to stores from an external vendor, he said.

Muckle credited long-term weather forecasts with allowing his store managers the time needed to order extra shipments of food and supplies. Leading up to a snow storm, Safeway will sell as much as three times its normal percentage of stock, he said.

Since this weekend is also Super Bowl weekend, customers have also been stocking up on party and snack foods in anticipation of Sunday’s big game.

Landover resident Michelle Peters left the Fairview Parkway Safeway in Bowie with an overflowing grocery cart.

“We’re mostly covering junk food,” Peters said. “We’re only having a few friends over, but some of them are bottomless pits.”

-By Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles

Kyle Johnson rings up a grocery cart full of goods for Landover resident Michelle Peters,
left, at the Fairview Parkway Safeway in Bowie.

(Photo by Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles)

Winter Storm Hits, Drivers Urged to Stay Home

Friday, February 5th, 2010

The Maryland State Highway Administration is urging drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary while this winter snow storm barrels through the region.

SHA spokesman David Buck says snow plows will do their best to keep roads clean and safe, but in a storm like this, there are no guarantees.

“I think it’s going to be about managing expectations out there,” he said. “For us, we’re just going to try to keep up.”

NOAA’s National Weather Service says its winter storm warning for the D.C.-metro region and greater Maryland will remain in effect until 10 p.m. Saturday, when meteorologists expect the snowfall to subside. Accumulation estimates now range from 20 to 30 inches of snow.

It’s unclear if roads will be ready for people to drive to work and school on Monday.

“That would be an answer we have at the end of the storm,” Buck said. “As we saw last weekend, the weather predictions can be way off, and there’s absolutely no way to know how soon roads will be ready until the storm is over.”

Maryland has already blown through its $26 million snow-removal budget this year; $50 million had already been spent before this weekend’s storm, Buck said.

–By Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles

Snow Expected to Come Soon, and Hard

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

About two feet of snow could blanket the Washington-metro region and other parts of Maryland this weekend, forecasters predict.

NOAA’s National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that will go into effect at 6 a.m. Friday, when forecasters expect snowfall to begin. Snow could continue until 10 p.m. Saturday, said Kevin Witt, a NOAA meteorologist.

Anywhere from 20 to 28 inches are expected to fall across Maryland, Witt said.

Witt said it’s still unclear whether or not this winter will set records for snowfall. But this storm will easily keep snow accumulation above the typical yearly average, he said. Snowfall at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is already 25.4 inches above the normal snowfall to date. Since July 1, 2009, 35.6 inches of snow have blanketed the airport.

This weekend’s snow is expected to be a heavy, wet mixture that could make snow removal difficult.

Since the name “snowpocalypse” was used for the snow storm that blanketed the region the weekend of Dec. 18 with about 20 inches of snow, The Washington Post is running a survey to find a name for the impending storm.

Feel free to leave comments here with your own suggestions — and with observations from your neighborhood.

By Maryland Newsline’s Ben Giles