Winter took one last stab at Howard County this morning and snow continues to blanket the region, with up to 8 inches expected throughout the day.
Howard County public and private schools, Howard Community College, county libraries and county government all closed on Wednesday; curbside trash and recycling pickup is canceled. A winter storm warning remains in effect for the county until 8 p.m.
There were 108 traffic collisions between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, according to Howard police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has restored power to about 295 residents in the county and roughly 450 remain without power, according to BGE spokesman Justin Mulcahy. About 9,000 residents in the Baltimore area are without power, the greatest number in Anne Arundel County.
“Crews out there working to restore power,” he said. “The challenge is accessibility, because there are some deteriorating conditions on roads and getting places safely.”
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Director of Emergency Management Ryan Miller and other county officials sat in on a conference call on the storm this morning with the National Weather Service and Maryland Emergency Management Agency. Kittleman said crews began working to treat roads with salt yesterday at 6:30 a.m. and began again at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The first priority for plow crews will be to treat primary and secondary roads in the county, Kittleman said. The county’s 4,100 roads are divided into three categories, primary, secondary and residential, and primary and secondary are treated first to ensure public roads are clear for emergency vehicles. Kittleman said that with significant snow, fsuch as is expected into the evening, it can take 12 to 30 hours to clear all roads in the county.
The county has 63 10-ton plows, five five- to 10-ton plows and 49 pickup truck plows on the roads, spokesman Andy Barth said.
“We want to people to remain patient,” Kittleman said. “Be careful when you drive, just because speed limits say you can go that fast, it doesn’t mean you have to.”
In historic Ellicott City, Little French Market Café manager Max Kiely said the restaurant, which closed early yesterday due to the weather, opened on time. Kiely, who lives in Columbia, said customer traffic into the shop has been light this morning, with “just the usual locals,” many of whom walk to the cafe.
Kiely said the cafe is likely to close early today, as the weather forecast predicts the snow to continue to fall throughout the day. By 2:30 p.m. when a reporter called, there was no answer.
Residents can monitor the county’s snow plowing progress through an online snow plow tracker that shows when roads have been cleared in four-hour increments.