A winter storm system is heading toward Harford County and is expected to bring heavy snow, high winds, and cold temperatures to the area. The storm is expected to begin Friday evening with the heaviest precipitation occurring Friday evening through Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for all of Harford County, along with other areas of the state. In addition to potential blizzard conditions which correlate to gusty winds and low visibility, white-out conditions could occur.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and the Department of Emergency Services urge citizens to make preparations and stay off the roads during the height of the storm.
“I encourage our citizens to take steps now to be ready for this winter storm,” said County Executive Glassman. “Also, please check on your family and neighbors to make sure they are prepared. Follow safety guidelines and use available resources such as the county’s You CLICK We FIX app, and online Snow Plow Tracker to keep you informed throughout the winter storm season. Governor Larry Hogan has signed a declaration of emergency that takes effect on Friday morning, and I plan to sign one for the county shortly thereafter. This will allow us to access National Guard resources, which we have begun to do.”
The county’s Snow Plow Tracker will generally be activated by six inches or more of snow; however, activation will not begin until precipitation is near an end, to avoid confusion about which roads have been cleared. When activated, the Snow Plow Tracer icon will appear on the homepage of the county website www.harfordcountymd.gov
The You CLICK We FIX application now has a category designated for questions about snow removal. The app can be accessed from the county website at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/1737/You-Click-We-Fix or downloaded for free onto your smartphone or mobile device. To use the app, select “Snow Removal” from the “Category” drop-down menu. From there, find the drop-down menu to select one of the “Issues” to report, such as “My driveway is plowed in”, “My street is partially plowed”, or “My street is icy and slippery”.
To assist the county Department of Public Works in clearing county roads as quickly as possible, please refrain from parking in the street. Maneuvering a snow plow around parked cars is difficult and takes extra time. If you must park in the street, please park on the even-numbered side of the street until the opposite side is cleared. Then move your vehicle to the cleared side.
More helpful information about Harford County snow removal can be found here: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1196
If you cannot avoid travel, please make sure that your cell phone is fully charged, and you have an emergency kit for your vehicle. Include blankets, a small shovel, kitty litter or sand for traction, extra clothing, flashlight, snacks, and water in case you are stranded. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
In addition to staying off the roads and monitoring the weather and power outages, citizens 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.
- Know who to contact in the case of a power outage.
- Generators should only be used outside in well-ventilated areas away from doors, windows and vent openings. Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated. If snow is accumulating on your rooftop, consider removing snow if it is safe to do so.
- Remove snow and ice three feet around fire hydrants and clear a path from the hydrant to the street, if it is safe to do so.
- Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives, especially the elderly or vulnerable citizens who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.
The Harford County Hotline 410-838-5800 will be open at 7:00 p.m. Friday for non-emergency calls and to answer any questions citizens may have.
Additional information can be found on the county website at www.harfordcountymd.gov, on the Facebook pages for Harford County Government and the Harford County Department of Emergency Services, and on Twitter @harfordcountymd.gov and @HarfordCoDES.