Baltimore County News
— January Blizzard Most Costly in County History
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that in the wake of the heaviest – and most costly – single snowstorm in the County’s history, crews and equipment are ready to tackle tonight’s forecasted snow, and salt supplies are replenished with final deliveries taking place today. The Kamenetz administration increased salt storage capacity by 20,000 tons this year, bringing the total to 80,000 tons of salt stored in 15 salt barns around the County.
The Baltimore County Bureau of Highways crews and contractors will be working around the clock tonight, and for as long as is needed to clear roads for safe travel.
Winter Storm Jonas Was the Costliest Single Snowstorm in County’s History
January’s blizzard brought not just the highest snow accumulations on record, it also topped the charts in terms of the cost of snow removal for a single storm in Baltimore County history. The County has tallied the total storm expenses at $9.4 million dollars. This eclipses the 2010 twin snowstorms, which cost $4 million and $7 million individually.
It costs approximately $54,000 per hour to plow snow from Baltimore County’s 8,742 County-maintained roads and approximately $109,000 per hour to spread salt.
This storm has exceeded the $6 million “placeholder” figure the County listed in the Fiscal Year 2016 operating budget for storm operations. The County routinely transfers funds into this budget line item from undesignated surplus when needed to cover additional costs for snow removal.
“It is important to keep in mind that this $6 million figure is simply a starting point,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We will allocate whatever is needed to ensure public safety for the remainder of the winter. Whatever Mother Nature throws at us, we will handle.”
County Reviewing Communications Protocols for Major Storms
While feedback from County residents has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the job that Baltimore County crews did in removing this historic snowfall, one concern that did arise was the need to increase capacity for customer service calls during storm emergencies. Kamenetz said he has tasked his key staffers with recommending technical and other improvements to enhance the County’s customer service in times of emergency. He hopes to have those recommendations within the next month.
County Provides Storm Updates on Website and Social Media
Residents and the travelling public can get updated information about Baltimore County’s snow removal operations and road conditions on the County website and on Twitter.
The County website provides the latest on road conditions, current plowing operations, winter storm tips and more at the Snowfighter web page at baltimorecountymd.gov/snowfighter, which also includes Twitter updates from Baltimore County Emergency Management. These updates are also available on Twitter by using our Twitter handle, @bacoemergency.
The County Snowfighter web feature provides a link to live traffic camera feeds from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART). It also offers a link to the County’s list of road closures, which provides details on roads that are currently closed due to repairs, accidents, weather or other hazards. This list is updated frequently, so we recommend that people check back often for the latest status. State roads and interstates are not included. For information on state roads, please see the Maryland Department of Transportation’s travel advisories and road closures web page at http://www.chart.md.gov/TravInfo/Default.aspx.
@BACOemergency on Twitter and Snowfighter Web Page Now Feature Live Traffic Cam Feeds
For the most recent updates from the Department of Public Works and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management regarding winter storm operations, follow @BACOemergency on Twitter.
Live Traffic Camera Feeds and Road Closures Now Included
The County Snowfighter web feature includes recent upgrades to assist travelers. The page now provides a link to live traffic camera feeds from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART). It also offers a link to the County’s list of road closures, which provides details on roads that are currently closed due to repairs, accidents, weather or other hazards. This list is updated frequently, so we recommend that people check back often for the latest status.
State roads and interstates are not included. For information on those roads, please see the Maryland Department of Transportation’s travel advisories and road closures web page at http://www.chart.md.gov/TravInfo/Default.aspx.
Recommendations from the County Fire Marshall and Building Engineer…
- Avoid walking under awnings and other lightweight canopies.
- Make sure you are able to open your exterior doors in the event of an emergency. You may want to keep storm doors in the open position to avoid these outward swinging doors being blocked by deep snow. Try slightly opening your exterior doors to see that they operate easily.
- Watch for overhanging snow and ice that may become dislodged and fall suddenly.
- Avoid being under skylights where possible.
- Clear roof drainage areas of ice and snow to avoid back up of water into down spouts that could cause ice/snow damming of roofs and gutters.
- Maintain a path from the exterior exit doors so that you can move to a safe distance from your house in case of fire.
- Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide-detectors for proper operation.
- Check on elderly neighbors and relatives.
- If you have concerns about the safety of your home, then relocate to a safe structure. Plan ahead with a nearby neighbor to assist in relocating to another nearby home/building.