State Agencies Launch Coordinated Effort to Keep Marylanders Safe
(ANNAPOLIS – January 23, 2016) – With Winter Storm Jonas impacting all of Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan directed all state agencies to launch a coordinated effort to keep Marylanders safe and informed. On Friday, the governor signed two Executive Orders, declaring a state of emergency in Maryland and allowing for extended deliveries of commodities related to winter weather relief, such as petroleum products, propane, food, water, medical supplies, generators, restoration of electricity, and snow and debris removal equipment. Snow will continue to fall in Maryland today, with high winds causing blizzard conditions in some areas.
Yesterday, Governor Hogan joined Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and State Highway Administrator Greg Johnson at the State Highway Administration District 5 facility in Annapolis to assess the state’s snow removal equipment and procedures.
The Maryland Unites hotline, 1-888-756-7836, is available for public inquiries into Department of Human Resources services including emergency shelter information and other human service needs during the storm.
“We urge Marylanders to continue to stay safe, stay indoors, and stay off the roads as this severe weather moves through our region,” said Governor Hogan. “Our state employees, law enforcement, National Guard, emergency responders and highway workers are working tirelessly to respond to this storm, and I know that Marylanders will do what Marylanders always do – and that is look after one another.”
Statewide preparations include the following:
Maryland Emergency Management Agency
- Working with the National Weather Service to ensure the state has the best and most up-to-date situational awareness.
- Coordinating resources with local officials to aid them in positioning assets necessary to manage incidents.
- Increasing staffing to appropriately handle resource requests from local communities.
Maryland State Police
- Between 3:00 PM Friday and 7:00 AM today, MD State Police statewide responded to 661 calls for service, which included 150 accidents, and provided assistance to 238 drivers. No major incidents.
- The Statewide Snow Emergency plan requires vehicles traveling on all highways, which are designated as snow emergency routes be equipped with chains, snow tires or all season radials. Additionally, special hauling permits for commercial vehicles are not valid during snow emergencies. The snow emergency plan also allows the Maryland State Police to call tow companies to remove abandoned vehicles in the road or on the shoulder and restricts all parking on designated snow emergency routes.
- Reassigning troopers from investigative units, specialized units and Aviation Command to road patrol duties at all 23 barracks.
- Ensuring all 4-wheel drive vehicles in MSP fleet are available/assigned for patrol duties.
- Assigning troopers to local emergency operation centers in each county to ensure prompt assistance to local authorities.
- Making truck weighing scale house locations available for commercial truck parking during the storm.
State Highway Administration
- SHA and the Maryland Transportation Authority have all staff and contract forces prepared to respond with more than 3,000 pieces of equipment and 365,000 tons of salt.
- There are currently 98 salt domes across the state.
- Informing truckers to use SHA’s truck parking app for directions and locations of parking areas to wait out the storm.
- Coordinating tow truck operators for quick clearance.
Maryland National Guard
- There are more than 700 soldiers and personnel and 212 vehicles standing by across Maryland.
- Responding across the state, including the incidents on the lower eastern shore (coastal flooding) and in Montgomery County (condominium roof collapse in Gaithersburg).
- Prepared to assist local law enforcement with transportation and evacuation; distribution of supplies, road clearing and snow removal; search and rescue; security/law enforcement airspace coordination; aircraft support and patient evacuations; airspace coordination; and sheltering assistance.
Department of Human Resources
- The Maryland Unites hotline, 1-888-756-7836, is available for inquiries relating to Department of Human Resources services including emergency shelter information and other human service needs during the storm.
- Prepared to support mass care and sheltering throughout the state; coordinating through the State Shelter Task Force and the State Feeding Task Force, which include multiple state agencies, faith-based, and non-profit partners, to provide necessary resources for citizens.
- Two of the four state shelters are staffed and ready, but have zero occupancy. DHR has the following state shelters available:
- University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- Coppin State University, Baltimore City
- Coordinating directly with the Manager of Airline Operations at BWI airport to assist any travelers who may require sheltering.
Health & Mental Hygiene
- Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Preparedness and Response will be monitoring developments and coordinating any needed emergency response.
- Providing assistance to residents to secure needed prescriptions; working with managed care organizations to help enrollees meet essential health appointments for services such as dialysis sessions.
- Partnering with Maryland counties’ health departments to safeguard the public health; links to Maryland’s local health departments can be found at http://goo.gl/ekhLNW.
- Via Preparedness and Response’s website, Marylanders can download cold weather tips at http://goo.gl/qNn8Xx, a home-care emergency preparedness guide at http://goo.gl/v9hfl8 and get updates at facebook.com/MarylandOPR.
Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives
- Coordinating donations and volunteers as they become available with partnering organizations.
- Along with the Department of Commerce and the Department of Human Resources, the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives will receive and distribute donations and coordinate volunteers from the business, faith-based, nonprofit, and philanthropic communities to help those Maryland residents affected by the storm.
Maryland Transit Administration
- All services, including local and commuter buses, light rail, and Metro subway, are closed through the weekend.
Public Service Commission
- There are approximately 1,500 customers without power in Maryland. Utility crews are working diligently – this is down from 10,000 power outages statewide at 5:30 AM.
- The majority of outages are on the Eastern Shore and crews are working right to restore power. With the continued snowfall and blowing winds, utilities are preparing for additional power outages to occur.
- Both BGE and PEPCO utilities have presence at MEMA.
- BGE – 100 linemen and 250 tree personnel; 600 additional personnel arrive today from affiliate utilities (mostly from Illinois) and other utilities from out of state.
- PEPCO – 150 linemen, 200 tree personnel and 250 contractors available; will be supplemented by another 150 contractors and 135 mutual assistance personnel from South Carolina and New England.
- Delmarva – 225 linemen, 165 tree personnel and 120 contractors available.
- Potomac Edison – 100 linemen and 110 tree personnel available; has also brought in crews from Ohio that are amassing on Pennsylvania and West Virginia in case additional assistance is necessary.
- SMECO – 125 internal personnel being supplemented by another 90 linemen and 75 tree personnel.
BWI Marshall Airport
- The BWI Marshall Snow Team, which includes approximately 145 skilled and highly-trained employees that perform snow removal activities on runways and taxiways, are in place.
- All commercial flights are cancelled for Saturday.
Maryland Insurance Administration
- Encouraging citizens to read their insurance policy to see what’s covered and excluded.
- Working with insurance companies on the procedures they need to follow to activate temporary moratoriums based on the State of Emergency.
- Notifying health insurers on the requirement waive restrictions on renewal of refills on prescription medication.
Motor Vehicle Administration
- Authorized a temporary waiver of International Registration Plan requirements, which allows truckers to get their apportionable fees waived if they are carrying essential relief supplies or are restoring utilities in areas impacted by severe weather.
- All MVA offices and vehicle emissions inspection stations will remain closed throughout the weekend. If you are scheduled to have a vehicle emissions test done by January 27, 2016, you can apply for an initial extension at www.mva.maryland.gov/online-services/.
Port of Baltimore
- The Port of Baltimore will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, scheduled to dock Sunday morning and sail Sunday late afternoon, will now arrive on Monday morning.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
- The Metrorail system will remain closed all day Saturday and Sunday.
- Bus service will remain suspended on Saturday and Sunday.
- MetroAccess service will remain suspended on Saturday and Sunday.
Weather Update / Status as of 12:00 PM:
Current snowfall measurements area as follows:
- Southern, Northern, and Western Maryland – 14+ inches
- Garrett County up to 40 inches in places
- Upper Shore – 6 inches
- Lower Shore – 2 inches
Anticipated additional accumulations
- Southern Maryland – 6-8 inches
- Northern, Central, and Western Maryland – 8-12 inches
- Upper Shore – 2-4 inches
- Lower Shore – 1-2 inches
Total snowfall expected by completion
- Western Maryland – 24-30+ inches
- Central Maryland – 24-30 inches
- Baltimore Area – 18-24 inches
- Southern Maryland – 18-24 inches
- Northern Maryland and Upper shore – 18-24 inches
- Southern Shore – 6-8 inches
- The upper and lower shore likely to see sleet or rain today due to rising temperatures.
- Another heavy snow band expected to move into the areas of Montgomery and Frederick County west and to the east reaching Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County.
- Most of the major snow system will be out of the state around midnight tonight but there will be lingering snow through tomorrow morning.