Md. officials say stay off the road Sunday

Posted at 11:04 AM, Jan 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-24 11:49:28-05

As road crews in Maryland continued the daunting task of clearing roadways Sunday, officials around the state asked drivers to keep of the roads.

Officials estimate it will take days to clear the record snowfall from all roads, and want to give plows another unhindered day to do the work.

“When the sun came up this morning the natural activity that folks are wanting to do is to get out,” Carroll County Commissioner Steve Wantz said.

While the process of digging out is underway, Wantz is joing officials around the state in asking people not to drive unless it’s absolutely necessary.

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“We are telling folks that today is an exercise in patience, we hope that folks continue to only take the necessary precautions that they need to in emergency situations,” Wantz said.

Rural areas were of particular concern Sunday, with some gravel and unpaved roads among those that needed to be cleared.

“It’s going to be an all day and maybe into tomorrow experience here to get to some of these folks,” Wantz said.

Harford County is planning to bring in some heavy equipment, like front-end loaders, to clear the snow off of more rural roads.

“This probably going to be a two-day dig out at least for Harford County,” Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said.

The county gave crews a break Saturday night into Sunday and when they returned to the task at hand, in some cases snow drifts had covered the work done the day before, Glassman said.

“We have a lower number of old gravel roads left, but we do have a lot of rural, hilly area up in the northern part of Harford County so that area will be especially challenging,” Glassman said.

Glassman said small courts and developed communities pose a challenge because there are few options on where to put the massive amount of snow.

In Baltimore City, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said people did a good job of staying off the roads during the height of the storm and she hopes to see continued patience the rest of the week.

Non-emergency vehicles were banned from the streets of Baltimore starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The restriction was lifted Sunday morning, but the mayor hopes people will refrain from driving because traffic and abandoned vehicles slows the snow removal process.

"Here in Maryland we received a season's worth of snow in just two days," Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference Sunday.

Hogan said Maryland will seek disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, in the coming days.

"Even though the storm has now moved passed us, getting back to business as usual is going to take a consider amount of time. There's still a great deal of work to be done," Hogan said.

Hogan echoed the words of officials around the state in asking people not to drive.

Maryland State Highways Administration has mobilized more than 3,000 pieces of equipment to remove snow and the more than 700 National Guard soldiers and personnel -- including 212 vehicles -- have responded to incidents around the state, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.