First snow of 2014 blankets Laurel, brings chilly winds

What started as over-sized, wet snowflakes became a heavy blanket of white over streets, sidewalks and tree limbs in Laurel Thursday night as a wintry mix brought nearly a foot of snow, and was followed Friday by blustery winds and cold, cold temperatures.

With temperatures hovering around 18 degrees in Laurel Friday, the National Weather Service said wind gusts could hit 39 miles per hour and the chill factor could produce temperatures as low as 3 degrees.

Shoveling snow after a storm is always a good idea, but for Laurel city residents, it's mandatory. City ordinance requires that home owners, business owners and occupants clear sidewalks in front of their buildings no later than 12 hours after the snow or sleet has stopped. Failure to follow through with shoveling the sidewalk carries a fine.

Crews from Laurel Department of Public Works hit the streets around 6:30 p.m. Thursday. When the State Highway Administration lifted its snow emergencies 9 a.m. Friday, Laurel Police and Public Works officials deemed the city's roads safe to travel with no requirement of additional parking restrictions, according to city spokesman Pete Piringer.

When a snow emergency is called in Prince George's County, Laurel city officials follow suit and establish a snow emergency for Laurel, according to Piringer. Certain city streets are designated snow emergency routes and when the city is under a snow emergency, parking is not allowed on the even-numbered side of those streets.  Cars parked on those sides of the street will be towed and their owners ticketed. To find a car that has been towed from a snow emergency route, call the Laurel Police at 301-498-0092 for release information.
Piringer said the city did not enforce snow emergency parking restrictions during Thursday's storm.
A map the city's website shows which streets are designated snow emergency routes.  

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