Winter Storm Update - Community Advisory
- Weather Update
A winter-storm warning is in effect starting at 12:01 a.m. on
Wednesday, March 6th and lasting until 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 7th.
This storm is expected to start as rain on Tuesday evening, March 5th,
but change over to snow late evening.
Snow totals will vary. Accumulations of 2 – 4 inches Tuesday night
and an additional 4 – 6 inches Wednesday are possible. Winds on
Wednesday will be out of the NE at 20 – 25 miles per hour (mph) with
gusts up to 35 mph.
With heavy snow and gusty winds come the potential of tree limbs to
come down on power lines. Make sure you have a battery-operated radio
and flashlight; extra prescription medication; and charge cell phones or
other critical battery-operated equipment.
As a reminder, please stay off the roads during dangerous driving
conditions. If you must drive, make sure you have a full tank of gas.
Include an emergency kit in your car with extra blankets, some food and
water, and a first-aid kit.
Important Contact Information
● For emergencies, call 911
● To report power or other utility outages:
Baltimore Gas and Electric: 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520
● For downed trees on public property, residents should call the
Police non-emergency number at 301-270-1100. To report trees that have
fallen on utility lines, contact the local utility companies. “Hot”
wires or sparking wires, especially those across roadways, may be
reported by calling 9-1-1.
● Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility
of the property owner. The County’s Office of Consumer Protection
advises homeowners to deal with established businesses only, and to call
Consumer Protection first to check on a business complaint record.
Consumer Protection can be reached at 240-777-3636.
Winter Safety Tips
Know Your Winter Storm and Extreme Cold Terms:
Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a
coating of ice on the roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground.
Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area.
Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur
in your area.
Blizzard Warning: Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or
greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing
visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a
period of three hours or longer.
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.
You should have the following supplies in your disaster supply kit:
Rock Salt to melt ice on walkways
Sand to improve traction
Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
Prepare your Home and Family:
Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient
heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a
good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning
Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by
insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and
windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
Winterize your house, shed or any other structure that may provide
shelter for your family, neighbors, or equipment. Clear rain gutters,
repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house
or other structure during a storm.
Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow
faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house
knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more
people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary
Portable Space Heaters – more home fires are started by heating
equipment than any other cause. Portable and electric heaters are the
most dangerous. But it is possible to be warm and safe this winter by
following these tips on space heaters:
- Make sure your heater has been tested for safety.
- Space heaters need to have plenty of space around them.
- Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything
that can burn – including furniture, people, pets and curtains.
- There should always be an adult in the room when a space
heater is on. Turn off the space heaters before leaving a room or going
- Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable
space heater is in use.
- Never use space heaters to dry clothing or blankets.
Fireplaces and Wood Stoves:
- Burn only seasonal hardwood like oak, ash or maple. Do not
burn trash, cardboard boxes or Christmas trees because these items burn
unevenly, and may contain poisons or cause a home fire.
- Have a professional chimney sweep inspect chimneys every
year. They will fix any cracks, blockages and leaks and clean out any
build-up in the chimney that could start a fire.
- Open flues before fireplaces are used.
- Use sturdy screens or glass doors to keep embers inside
- Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home
and inside or near sleeping areas.
- Keep young children away from working wood stoves and heaters
to avoid contact burn injuries.
Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled
friends, neighbors or employees.
Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to
sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or
water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Prepare Your Car:
Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery
terminals should be clean.
Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or
replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no
Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by
using additives and maintaining a full take of gas.
Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low
temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper
washer fluid level.
Install good winter tires – Make sure the tires have adequate tread.
Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:
windshield scraper and small broom
battery powered radio
extra hats, socks and mittens
first aid kit with pocket knife
tow chain or rope
road salt and sand
fluorescent distress flag
**Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Precautions: Carbon Monoxide (CO) is
known as “the silent killer.” You cannot see it, smell it or taste
it. CO claims the lives of nearly 300 people in their homes each year,
according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CO is
a deadly gas that is produced by fuel-burning heating equipment, such as
furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters. Follow these
guidelines to help keep your family safer:
- Install at least one CO alarm near sleeping areas.
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up your
home’s central heating system and repair leaks or other problems.
Fireplaces and woodstoves should also be inspected each year and cleaned
or repaired as needed.
- Keep gas appliances properly adjusted and serviced.
- Never use an oven or range to heat your home.
- Never use a gas or charcoal grill inside your home or in a
- Portable electric generators must be used outside only.
Never use them indoors, in a garage or in any confined area that can
allow CO to collect. Follow usage directions closely.
Dress for the Weather:
Wear several layers of loose fitting, light-weight, warm clothing
rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be
tightly woven and water repellent.
Wear mittens which are warmer than gloves.
Wear a hat.
Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
During a Winter Storm:
If you are driving, only do so if it’s absolutely necessary. If you
must drive, consider the following:
Travel in the day, don’t travel alone and keep others informed of
Stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts.
Be “Ready-to-Go” or “Ready-to-Stay” if the Power Goes Out:
Stock up on batteries, flashlights, portable radios, canned foods,
manual can openers, bottled water and blankets.
Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid a possible fire hazard.
If the temperature outside is below freezing and your home has no heat,
run water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing and
Store perishable food outside in the snow or in an unheated outside
building if the power goes out.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors:
If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or
health-related equipment, such as a ventilator, respirator or oxygen
concentrator, you should make plans now to ensure their needs are met
during severe winter weather and possible power outages.
- Help them stock a home disaster kit, including a flashlight
and extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, bottled water,
non-perishable foods, essential medicines and extra blankets or sleeping
- Check on them after a storm or power outage. Register them
as a special needs customer with their utility companies so they will
become a priority customer. Notify others who could provide help such
as neighbors, relatives, nearby friends, and local emergency responders,
such as the fire department.
- Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
- Have a standby generator or an alternative source of power
available. Be aware of the safety rules for use.
Protect Your Pets:
Winter is a time we should pay close attention to the safety of our
pets. Here are some tips:
If your pet goes outdoors, be aware of the temperature. Pets can get
frostbite very easily on the ears, tail and paws.
When walking your dog, check the paws to make sure that ice is not
building up between the toes and that salt from the road is not
irritating the skin.
If your dog is a swimmer, keep it on a leash around open water or
unstable ice. Hypothermia can set in quickly and the dog may be unable
to get out of the water.
Before you start your car, you should honk the horn to make sure that a
cat has not decided to nap in a warm spot under the hood of the vehicle,
or underneath the vehicle.
Winter is a fun time for children, but it can also be dangerous.
Parents should be aware of some simple safety tips for their children
when they go sledding or tobogganing:
Children should never use streets or roads for sledding unless they are
blocked from traffic.
Children should sled only during daytime hours.
Do not sled on icy hills. Sledding hills should be only snow covered.
Avoid sledding over snow bumps or anything that may cause the sled to
Never sled alone. An adult should always accompany small children.
Children should stay out of the paths of other sledders. In addition,
if the slopes become busy, they should move off them quickly.
Parents, if you are sledding with your children, follow these rules
If possible, skate at areas that have been approved and posted for
Never skate alone. Always have at least two people present.
Children should never be allowed to skate on a pond unsupervised.
Remember ice thickness is never consistent on lakes and ponds. Water
currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets
are always suspect for thin ice.
Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker
areas that signify thinner ice.
Never skate after dark.
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia,
especially in children and the elderly. Watch for these symptoms:
Inability to concentrate
Uncontrollable shivering, followed by a sudden lack of shivering
If the person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit,
get emergency medical assistance immediately! Remove wet clothing, wrap
the victim in warm blankets and give warm, non-alcoholic,
non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.
People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop
frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the
early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:
First, the skin may feel numb and become flushed. Then it turns white
or grayish-yellow. Frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area. Cover the
affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
Then get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.
Snow Blower Safety:
Do you have a snow blower? Did you know that most snow blower injuries
happen because the operator did not read the operating instructions?
So, read your owner’s manual and follow these tips:
Never leave your snow blower running and unattended.
Make sure the discharge chute is not aimed at passing motorists or
Never put your hands into the discharge chute or augers to clear stuck
snow and/or ice.
Never add fuel when the engine is running and hot.
Make sure you know how to turn the machine off quickly.
**Some safety tips taken from the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) Manual and Home Safety Council Safety Guide.**
Catherine E. Plevy
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Office of the Chief of Police
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
- Weather Update
A Winter Storm Warning will REMAIN in effect for Montgomery County until 10 am Monday December 9, 2013. The current forecast calls for rain or freezing rain before noon, then a chance of rain. High near 41 with a calm wind southwest 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible.
With overnight ice accumulations and light winds expected today, there remains a potential of tree limbs coming down on power lines. Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlight; extra prescription medication; and charge cell phones or other critical battery-operated equipment.
Remember to treat intersections without working stoplights as a four way stop. If you must drive, make sure you have a full tank of gas. Include an emergency kit in your car with extra blankets, some food and water, and a first-aid kit. Sidewalks and walkways may remain icy through the morning; use extra caution as you head out.
Catherine E. Plevy
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Office of the Chief of Police
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
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