UPDATED 3:55 p.m. Tuesday
ROADS A reminder to stay off the roads this evening. The number of reported vehicle accidents has picked up significantly starting at about 12:30 p.m. as heavier snow and colder temperatures moved in.
Montgomery County is now under a Snow Emergency Plan and a Snow Emergency. It is illegal to park vehicles along designated snow emergency routes and cars parked on the routes will be closed. It is also illegal to drive on snow emergency routes without snow tires, mud/snow radials (which most cars have) or tire chains. Taxis can also charge an extra $2.50 per trip.
State road officials say the evening commute could turn treacherous. The State Highway Administration asked that people wrap up their plans before Tuesday afternoon:
State highway crews are loaded up and ready to confront the latest winter blast scheduled to come through Maryland all day today. Last night crews filled their trucks with salt, pre-treated roads and then settled in for what promises to be a very busy day. As crews prepare, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) reminds travelers to prepare for their safety and the safety of others. The snow is expected to fall throughout the day beginning with the morning rush hour, making the potential for treacherous commutes probable, with the worst occurring during the evening rush hour.
“If you can stay home today, please do so. If you must go out, try to wrap up your plans early to be settled in before this afternoon,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “While out, give yourself plenty of time and drive to the conditions of the road. The snow is expected to be heaviest in the afternoon so caution is urged all day long.”
The Town of Chevy Chase has reminded residents that they must park their cars in driveways or on the even-numbered side of the street to ensure safe passage for snow plow crews.
CLOSINGS/CANCELLATIONS MCPS schools were already closed Tuesday for a previously scheduled teacher professional day. All school and community activities in MCPS buildings are now cancelled because of the expected snow. Day care programs in MCPS buildings may choose to open, but parents should check with their day care provider.
The Montgomery County Council’s regular Tuesday session and committee hearings have been postponed, according to Councilmember George Leventhal. Tuesday night’s meeting of the BRAC Integration Committee at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center has been postponed, according to Montgomery County BRAC Coordinator Phil Alperson.
Westfield Montgomery Mall announced it will close at 5 p.m. and anticipates opening at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
All events at the Strathmore are cancelled today as both the Music Center and Mansion closed at noon. All ice skating classes at the Cabin John Ice Rink are cancelled and have been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25. Classes are also cancelled at the Cabin John Indoor Tennis Center and all Montgomery Parks activity buildings are closed today. If you had a reservation, contact the Parks Permit Office at 301-495-2525 when it reopens.
All Montgomery County liquor stores will close at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
WEATHER The National Weather Service revised its Winter Storm Warning for Tuesday on Tuesday morning for a wide area of the D.C. region including Montgomery County.
NWS says six to 10 inches of snow is possible, with higher amounts possible in some areas. The snow will likely fall throughout the day and the Winter Storm Warning has been extended to 11 p.m. A Wind Chill Advisory is also in effect until noon Wednesday:
…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM EST THIS EVENING…
…WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS…6 TO 10 INCHES.
* TIMING…THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED DURING THE MIDDAY AND AFTERNOON HOURS. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF THIS EVENING.
* WIND CHILL…BETWEEN 5 AND 15 DEGREES BELOW ZERO TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES…FALLING INTO THE TEENS THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOW TEMPERATURES TONIGHT WILL BE IN THE SINGLE DIGITS. HIGH TEMPERATURES WEDNESDAY WILL BE IN THE TEENS.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH…INCREASING TO 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 30 MPH THIS AFTERNOON. WINDS WILL BECOME NORTHWEST TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING AT 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH.
* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BE SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY. THE COMBINATION OF SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WILL REDUCE VISIBILITY TO BELOW ONE-HALF MILE AT TIMES. TRAVELING WILL BECOME DANGEROUS TODAY. SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IS EXPECTED FOR THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING COMMUTE. DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILLS TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING MAY LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA OR FROST BITE ON EXPOSED SKIN.
PEPCO Pepco says it has about 150 internal linemen and more than 450 contractors already working on its system who are available if needed. Customers should be prepared for the possibility of heavy, wet snow that weighs down tree limbs and brings down power lines.
There were no reported power outages in Bethesda as of 11:30 a.m., according to Pepco’s online outage map.