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Crews across the state prepare as chilly temps bring snow chances

cold temps
Posted at 2:14 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 13:16:55-05

BALTIMORE — More bone chilling winds and weather are coming out way, which brings lots of problems with it.

In addition to the weather causing water main breaks, a Code Blue has been alerted for the city and some drivers are in trouble for Tuesday evening's commute.

Here is what you need to know:

Weather Forecast:

A winter weather advisory has been issued as our next system pushes in this morning. A wintry mix will overspread the region during the day. Colder air will wrap in during the afternoon, transitioning everyone over to snow. A general 1-3" is possible, but areas North and West of the city could see locally higher amounts. Behind the system, a brutal blast of bitter cold air arrives, with wind gusts over 35 miles per hour. Records temperatures may be in jeopardy on Thursday. Highs late week will only reach the 20s, with windchill values in the single digits.

Tuesday: A chance of rain, snow, freezing rain, and sleet before 10 a.m., then rain likely between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and rain and snow after 1 p.m with a high near 36. Southeast wind 6 to 8 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow and sleet accumulation of around an inch possible.

Tuesday Night: Snow likely before 10pm. Cloudy during the early evening, then gradual clearing, with a low around 21. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.'

Wednesday: A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 29. Breezy, with a southwest wind 7 to 12 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Click here to see the full forecast.

Code Blue Alert:

Because of forecasted temperatures in the single digits with wind chill, and a chance of snow, Baltimore City Interim Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller has issued a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration for Baltimore City beginning Tuesday night, January 29 through Friday morning, February 1.

“With dangerously cold temperatures and precipitation expected in Baltimore, I am issuing a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration beginning Tuesday night through Friday morning. I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” said Baltimore City Interim Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller. “Extreme cold temperatures can permanently injure, or even kill. Please also consider checking on neighbors who you think may be at risk to ensure that they have heat and power, and take care to shelter pets appropriately.”

This is now the fifth Code Blue alert of the winter season. A Code Blue alerts is sent out when temperatures, including wind chill, are expected to be 13 degrees or below, or when other conditions are severe enough to pose a threat.

During a Code Blue alert the Mayor's Office works with city homeless shelters to extend shelter hours and provide extra bedding.

Warming Centers:

Baltimore County:

  • Any of the 19 branches of the Baltimore County Public Library. All branches are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Baltimore County Senior Centers are open to anyone regardless of age Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents who visit these locations to get relief from the cold can watch TV, read a book or sit and relax. For information on the 20 Senior Centers, call 410-887-2594.
  • Overnight Shelters: Eastside Family Shelters (women with children and single men) Rosedale, Hannah More Shelter (women and children) Reisterstown, Night of Peace Overnight Shelter (families with children) Randallstown, and Westside Men's Shelter (men only) Catonsville.

Anne Arundel County:

The following libraries will be warming centers from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, February 1, 2019 the libraries will be designated as warming centers from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

  • Annapolis Regional Library: 1410 West Street, Annapolis
  • Broadneck Community Library: 1275 Green Holly Drive, Annapolis
  • Brooklyn Park Community Library: 1 East 11th Avenue, Baltimore
  • Crofton Community Library: 1681 Riedel Road, Crofton
  • Deale Community Library: 5940 Deale-Churchton Road, Deale
  • Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library: 269 Hillsmere Drive, Annapolis
  • Edgewater Community Library: 25 Stepneys Lane, Edgewater
  • Glen Burnie Regional Library: 1010 Eastway, Glen Burnie
  • Linthicum Community Library: 400 Shipley Road, Linthicum
  • Maryland City at Russett Community Library: 3501 Russett Common, Laurel
  • Mountain Road Community Library: 4730 Mountain Road, Pasadena
  • Odenton Regional Library: 1325 Annapolis Road, Odenton
  • Riviera Beach Community Library: 1130 Duvall Highway, Pasadena
  • Severn Community Library: 2624 Annapolis Road, Severn
  • Severna Park Community Library: 45 West McKinsey Road, Severna Park

The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities will designate the following Senior Centers as warming centers from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

  • Annapolis Senior Center: 119 South Villa Avenue, Annapolis
  • Arnold Senior Center: 44 Church Rd, Arnold
  • Brooklyn Park Senior Center: 202 Hammonds Lane Brooklyn Park
  • O'Malley Senior Center: 1275 Odenton Road, Odenton
  • Pasadena Senior Center: 4103 Mountain Road, Pasadena
  • Pascal Senior Center: 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie
  • South County Senior Center: 27 Stepneys Lane, Edgewater

The Anne Arundel County Police will designate District Station Community Rooms at the following Precincts as warming centers from Tuesday at 6 p.m. until February 2, at 9:00 a.m.

  • Northern District: 939 Hammonds Lane, Baltimore
  • Eastern District: 204 Pasadena Rd, Pasadena
  • Western District: 8273 Telegraph Road, Odenton
  • Southern District: 35 Stepneys Lane, Edgewater

Laurel:

The City of Laurel is opening a Warming Center Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. on at the Partnership Activity Center. The PAC is located in the Barkman Kaiser Public Safety Complex at 811 5th Street in Laurel, MD. The facility will be managed by two staff personnel and a uniformed Police Officer will be on duty while the center is occupied. If no one enters the center by 10:00 PM, the center will close.

Department of Public Works Pipe Preps:

According to Baltimore DPW, extreme temperatures like what is predicted leads to an increase in water main breaks and leaks. Right now, crews are working to repair over 30 breaks that have happened in the last several days, nine of them happened on Sunday.

To expedite repairs, DPW says they have enlisted the help of their on-call contractors and city work crews will repair the rest.

In order to prevent this happening to you, here are some tips to protect your water lines during cold weather snaps:

  • Let a very thin continuous stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. Water is less likely to freeze, and damage pipes and meters, when it is running. The water can be caught in a bucket and used later.
  • If an interior pipe is frozen, warm it with hot air from a blow dryer where it enters your house.
  • Check your water shut-off valve to make sure it is working.
  • Shut off water to outside faucets.
  • Monitor your sump pump. A frozen drain pipe could result in a flooded basement.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated parts of your house.
  • Always keep on hand a three day supply of bottled water; one gallon per person per day.

MDOT Dangerous Conditions Driving Tips:

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration says during the evening commute on Tuesday driver might see snow and ice forming.

They say to make sure you plan accordingly by having a winter survival kit in your car just in case. This can include blankets, snacks and water, as well a full gas tank and fully charged mobile device before traveling. Having plenty of fuel is important because it can prevent your fuel line from freezing.

You should also check over your critical engine systems, especially the cooling system, and inspect for any leaks in the radiator and the coolant hoses. MDOT SHA says extreme cold like this can exasperate a small issue to a major problem.

MDOT also says drivers should remember to take it slow on ice and snow and remember that speed limits are for ideal and dry conditions, not snow. In addition, elevated areas of the road (bridges, ramps, overpasses, etc.) will freeze first so be extra careful when driving on them.

Lastly, if you see snow plows on the road, do not pass them. MDOT says the safest place to be is behind a snow plow or snow trains.

As their own precaution, MDOT SHA says they will closely be monitoring the pavement temperatures and will aggressively patrol for icy sports.