Roads passable during morning commute, despite high winds, snow

Balto. Co. activates emergency plan as trucks work to keep streets clear

February 26, 2010|By Liz F. Kay | liz.kay@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

High winds and blowing snow were complicating the morning commute for some residents around the Baltimore region.

Baltimore County activated its snow emergency plan, which means no parking is allowed on designated snow emergency routes and only cars with snow or all-weather radial tires are permitted on the roads.

Most state roads were passable for the morning rush, said Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman Lora Rakowski.

"As the sun comes up, roads are in good condition throughout most of the Baltimore area," she said.

However, drivers in Cecil, Harford and northern Baltimore counties should be especially cautious, she said.

Trucks are actively plowing this area. However, "the issue there is that motorists are encountering rapidly changing conditions," Rakowski said. Although streets are generally clear or wet, high winds could blow snow onto roadways bordering open fields, she said.

"Motorists could suddenly encounter isolated areas of 2 to 3 inches of snow unexpectedly," she said.

In Baltimore County, SHA crews were redirecting traffic on Falls Road at Butler Road due to a house fire. They were also responding to reports of downed trees blocking traffic, particularly in Montgomery and Frederick counties, Rakowski said.

About 60 snow plows — half the fleet — have been salting and plowing primary Baltimore City streets overnight and will continue to work through the morning rush, said Kathy Chopper, a city transportation spokeswoman. Secondary roads just have a light dusting, she said.

"We're looking pretty good in the city right now," Chopper said.

BWI Marshall Airport was open, although Southwest Airlines canceled all flights through 11:35 a.m., said airport spokeswoman Lynda Warehime. Passengers on other airlines should call their airline to confirm the status of individual flights, because the snow in the northeast is disrupting air traffic nationwide, she said.

High winds caused a number of power outages, as well, according to Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. About 3,000 BGE customers were without electric service at about 7:45 a.m. Friday morning, with about 2,000 in southern Anne Arundel County, according to BGE's Web site.

A few area schools posted delays and closings. Harford County public schools closed Friday, while Baltimore and Carroll counties opened two hours late.

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