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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: stormfighter

Olszewski encourages people to follow updates on Twitter

County Executive Johnny Olszewski has been briefed by DPW officials on the County’s readiness to respond to winter storms, including the snow event forecast for this weekend.

“Protecting public safety is the top priority when winter weather hits,” Olszewski said. “Our crews are well-trained and our equipment is in good shape so we are ready at the first flake to get the roads salted and plowed as quickly as possible, and we ask for people’s patience as our crews work the storm.”

Real-time Storm Updates Available on Social Media and County Website

Residents and the travelling public can get updated information about Baltimore County’s snow removal operations and road conditions online:

24 hours after the precipitation has stopped, residents may report storm-related issues like unplowed streets using the:

  • BaltCoGo mobile app
  • Baltimorecountymd.gov/stormfighter “Report Now” feature
  • Bureau of Highways phone number 410-887-3560

The County Stormfighter web page 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 people are advised to check back often for the latest status. State roads and interstates are not included. Information on those roads can be found on the Maryland Department of Transportation’s travel advisories and road closures web page at http://www.chart.md.gov/TravInfo/Default.aspx.

Salting and Plowing Operations

The County stores 91,600 tons of salt in 17 salt barns around the County and replenishes those supplies throughout the winter as needed. The Department of Public Works stands ready to respond with 529 trucks and 554 personnel working from 11 highways shops, plus contractors as needed. The County has budgeted $9 million for storm response for the 2018-2019 season.

In an average snowfall of two to four inches, it takes four to six hours for crews to spread the first application of salt on all County roads. That first application of salt is critical to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement. With accumulations of less than six inches, crews can generally plow every street within 24 hours after the storm has ended. With a storm of six inches or more, it takes 48 hours or more after the storm has ended to get through every street.

Snowplows start with main County arteries like Joppa Road, Rolling Road, Dundalk Avenue and Owings Mills Boulevard. They then plow feeder roads like Goucher Boulevard and Lyons Mill Road, and move into neighborhood streets including courts and cul de sacs as conditions permit. During a very heavy snowfall, plows may need to be diverted from neighborhood roads to concentrate on keeping main roads open.

Snow Equipment is Inspected, Serviced and Ready to Go

The County’s snow-fighting equipment is in storm-ready condition thanks to the Department of Public Works’ systematic fleet inspection and maintenance program. When snow is forecast, snow plow repairs are given priority over routine equipment maintenance to ensure that they operational.


Show Airs on Cable Channel 25 and Online

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” offers an overview of the County’s winter storm response, resources for people who need help paying energy bills and a quick life-saving CPR demonstration.

Winter Storm Response – Learn all about the County’s winter storm operations and how you can help.

CPR is Easier than Ever! – No more complicated counting or breaths… find out how hands-only CPR and automatic defibrillators make saving a life simpler than ever.

Need Help Paying Your Energy Bills? – Find out about assistance available through the Baltimore County Office of Home Energy Programs.

You can also view the show on the County website’s Hello Baltimore County page. In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25 in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.

Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.


Flash Flood Watch Issued for County, More Rain Forecast Through Weekend

Baltimore County is asking residents and business owners to use the following phone numbers in case of flood emergency:

Medical or life-threatening emergency        Call 911

Flooded basement                                       Call 911

Emergency shelter and food                       410-887-2222

Sewer, road or tree issues                           410-887-3560

Storm recovery and road closure information will be updated on the County’s web site, baltimorecountymd.gov or on Twitter at BACOemergency.

“With more rain forecast through the weekend, we’re hoping for the best, but are planning for the worst. Our department of public works crews and fire and police responders are ready to assist with whatever Mother Nature throws us. We encourage neighbors to continue to check in on their neighbors,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler.

Additional Flood Risks

 A National Weather Service (NWS) flash flood watch is in effect through late this evening. The NWS bulletin says, "Numerous showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall are expected to approach the region this afternoon and continue past midnight. Localized rainfall amounts of two to four inches are expected."

The "torrential" rainfall is likely to cause rapid rises of creeks and streams, causing them to spill beyond their banks, NWS said. Low spots along roadways may become impassible due to accumulating runoff. Flash flooding may develop quickly.

Flooding, especially flash flooding, is one of the deadliest natural disasters. Most fatalities occur when motorists and passengers are washed away in their vehicles.

Information on how to prepare before, during and after a flood can be found on the Baltimore County website.

“Safety is our first concern,” said Baltimore County Fire Department Division Chief Jay Ringgold, who oversees Emergency Management. “We strongly urge residents to stay away from creeks and streams, and never attempt to drive through floodwaters.”

Curbside Removal of Storm Debris

As previously announced, the County is providing curbside pick-up of storm debris from homes in the areas most severely affected by flooding.

The Baltimore County Bureau of Highways will provide curbside pickup upon request of residents in the greater Catonsville and Oella areas and the Turner Station neighborhood in Dundalk. Residents may call 410-887-3560 to request this service, which is available through Friday, June 8.

The County is also providing a temporary debris drop-off center at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Center and Park, located at 300 Oella Avenue, Catonsville, MD 21228, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., every day through Friday, June 8.

In addition, residents can deliver debris to the County’s drop-off centers located in Halethorpe, Cockeysville and White Marsh.

Storm Damage and Operations Summary

Four roads in the southwest portion of Baltimore County remain closed and County engineers are evaluating conditions. Closed roads include Old Frederick Road, River Road, Westchester Avenue and Thistle Road. Public Works officials expect these roads to remain closed for an extended period.

County public works and fire crews responded to more than 400 homes with flooded basements to assist with pump-outs. Fire crews performed dozens of significant water rescues and have responded to hundreds of calls for service since Sunday. Baltimore County Fire personnel also continue to provide mutual aid to Howard County, including search and rescue operations support.

One home in the Catonsville area was ruled uninhabitable by County inspectors. Catonsville Elementary School experienced minor flooding, but opened on time May 29.

Homeowners who have suffered damage are advised to contact their insurance companies immediately.

County Invites Stories of Neighbors Helping Neighbors

During difficult times, people often need an extra helping hand, and others are willing to jump in and offer assistance. County Executive Mohler invites people to share stories about acts of kindness in the community, using the hashtag #BaltCoNeighborsCare.

“We would love for people to share their thanks for a neighbor who helped them clean their basement, or maybe a stranger who stepped in to help in a moment of need related to the storm,” Mohler said.

These stories will be shared and/or retweeted on Baltimore County Government’s social media pages.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017