Laurel blanketed with up to a foot of snow overnight

Laurel residents woke up to a deep snow Thursday, measuring at least 12 inches in some spots, as precipitation continued to make for a slow, cold, wet morning.

The Office of Personnel Management closed federal offices for Thursday, joining schools and other local government offices, including Laurel city offices, in telling workers and students to stay home.

"No major issues or power outages have been reported," Laurel city spokesman Pete Piringer said this morning on the city's community and media information line.

In anticipation of the snow storm, Laurel Mayor Craig Moe Wednesday morning declared a snow emergency, which will remain in effect on Thursday, according Piringer.

According to Moe, an additional 2 to 4 inches is predicted for Laurel overnight Thursday. Marty Flemion, the city's Director of Emergency Services, said Parks and Recreation facilities will open at 10 a.m. Friday. 

The city's Emergency Operations Center at the Laurel Municipal Center opened Wednesday before the storm, and is fully staffed, Piringer said.

Piringer said Thursday afternoon that every city street has been plowed at lease once, with many having been plowed multiple times. 

At a public briefing telecast on Laurel Cable at 4 p.m. Thursday, Moe urged city residents to remain safe.

"If you have to go out, please be safe and drive with care," Moe said.

Flemion, who was also spoke at the briefing, said residents can help city employees by shoveling out fire hydrants and nearby storm drains.

Flemion also reiterated the city ordinance that 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. 

While residents are required to shovel, Flemion urged residents to be cautious as three Howard County residents died Thursday of heart-related incidents while shoveling snow.

"Make sure you are physically fit. Heart attacks are very common in snow removal activites," Flemion said.

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.

Laurel Department of Public Works plans to make regular trash pickups on Thursday.

Metro announced around noon that some limited bus routes would begin operating at 2 p.m. Thursday, but all Central Maryland Regional Transit bus services are suspended today.

In response to the snow, Prince George's County Public Schools (along with Howard and Anne Arundel County) canceled school for Thursday, Feb.13. Board of Education meetings in both Prince George's and Howard counties were canceled as well. The Howard board rescheduled its meeting for Thursday, Feb. 20.

Additionally, parent-teacher conferences in Howard County were canceled for Thursday. School officials said a decision regarding Friday's parent-teacher conferences would be made Thursday. Howard and Prince George's schools are already closed Friday for conferences.

This story has been updated.

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