Marylanders Urged to Continue to Stay Off Roads, Prepare for Power Outages
MARYLANDERS URGED TO CONTINUE TO STAY OFF ROADS TO HELP PLOWING CREWS, PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES
MEMA CONTINUES TO COORDINATE RESOURCES, ASSIST LOCAL JURISDICTIONS
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (January 23, 2016) — Snow continues to fall throughout Maryland and wind gusts have picked up in some areas of the state. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency urges residents to stay off the roads so highway crews can continue plowing operations.
As of noon, power outage numbers remained relatively low in Maryland, with less than 1,500 customers without power statewide after spiking to approximately 10,000 early Saturday morning. However, as strong winds and heavy snowfall continues, residents are urged to keep cell phones, tablets and other devices charged and be prepared for possible extended power outages.
“I want to thank Marylanders for the common sense they have shown thus far,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “I want to urge people to continue to stay off of the roads unless travel is absolutely essential. It is still very dangerous out there and stalled and abandoned vehicles make it that much harder for snow plow operators. Your safety is our top priority.”
If you must drive, please stay far back from snow plows. While it may be inconvenient to be stuck behind a snow plow or a multi-unit snowplow “train,” trying to pass is dangerous and the roads in front of the plows will be snow covered.
The strong winds also could create some coastal flooding issues along the Atlantic coast and portions of the lower Chesapeake Bay. Residents are urged to follow trusted local weather forecasters to get updates on conditions in their area.
“I cannot stress enough the need to check on the welfare of relatives, friends and neighbors who are vulnerable,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “We still have at least 12 hours of storm conditions ahead of us. The best way to get through this is if we all work together and communicate.”
MEMA continues to coordinate the use of State resources in support of local emergency managers and first responders across the state. The Maryland National Guard is working in many counties in Maryland to help law enforcement and emergency medical personnel to respond in high-clearance vehicles.
In addition to staying off the roads and monitoring the weather and power outages, residents should take the following actions:
- Keep devices charged so you will have a way to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information and be able to contact family and friends.
- Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated.
- Avoid travel. If you must drive, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter, or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
- Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives, especially the elderly or vulnerable residents who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.
- Residents living near coastal areas should be prepared to experience moderate coastal flooding and waves due to the high wind.
- Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/PowerOutages.aspx
- Make sure pets are not exposed to the severe weather. Also remember that salt and other deicing materials can irritate their paws.
MEMA will be regularly updating their website with winter preparedness information, traffic, weather, and power outage alerts. Residents can find all of this information at mema.maryland.gov. You can also follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA.