As snow began to fall on Tuesday, much of Anne Arundel County closed down to cope with the storm.
As the storm intensified at midday, official posted wind warnings for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and cautioned that white-out conditions are expected at the bridge. In the event of white-out conditions, the Maryland Transportation Authority said it may periodically hold traffic. Drivers were cautioned to stay off the roads as much as possible.
A winter storm warning is in effect for Anne Arundel County and much of the region until 11 p.m. Tuesday, with the National Weather Service calling for 6 to 10 inches of snow.
A wind chill advisory will be in effect from 6 p.m. Tuesday until noon Wednesday. The wind chill could get as low as 15 degrees below zero overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
In Annapolis, where many streets are narrow and challenging to navigate in a snowplow, residents were urged to park their cars in driveways instead of on the street.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Annapolis officials announced that the four city-owned parking garages were opening for residents to park their cars for free to get them off of the street.
Residents were asked to take a ticket from the garage entrances as usual, but to go to the garage office to get a snow voucher before leaving. Proof of residency is required.
The city garages open to Annapolis residents are:
- Hillman Garage: 150 Gorman St.
- Gotts Court Garage: 25 Northwest St.
- Knighton Garage: 1A Colonial Ave.
- Park Place Garage: 5 Park Place.
Emergency officials monitored the storm in the City of Annapolis and in Anne Arundel County. Anne Arundel opened its Emergency Operations Center in Glen Burnie, and the City of Annapolis activated its emergency call center at 11 a.m. Tuesday for non-emergency calls via 410-260-2211.
The county's Emergency Operations Center can be reached at 410-222-0600.
If the snowfall stays at 4 inches or less, Annapolis officials said they could make emergency snow routes passable within 12 hours of the end of the storm, snow connector routes can be passable in 24 hours and all other roads passable within 36 hours.
If the city gets 5 to 8 inches, plowing will take longer: 24 hours for emergency snow routes, 36 hours for snow connector routes and 60 hours for all other roads.
In Anne Arundel, the county opened up its four police stations as warming centers:
- Northern District: 939 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park.
- Eastern District: 3700 Mountain Road in Pasadena.
- Western District: 8273 Telegraph Road in Odenton.
- Southern District: 35 Stepneys Lane in Edgewater.
Anne Arundel's Department of Public Works had 63 county vehicles and 150 contractor vehicles ready to plow snow. Based on the forecast of several inches of snow, the county said it intended to have bare pavement on arterial and collector roads within 24 hours of the end of the storm, and passable access on residential streets and cul-de-sacs within 36 of the end of the storm.
Anne Arundel public schools closed for the day, as did Anne Arundel Community College. St. John's College in Annapolis closed at noon.
The closing of schools bumped exams for high school students and the semester break by one day.
High schoolers will have a modified exam schedule: A Day periods 1 and 2 on Wednesday, B Day periods 1 and 2 on Thursday, A Day periods 3 and 4 on Friday and B Day periods 3 and 4 on Monday.
The end-of-semester break for all Arundel students will be Jan. 28 and Jan. 29.
The school system also canceled a budget workshop that was planned for Tuesday.
Government offices in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County initially opened on Tuesday morning, but wound up closing early. The state government also sent workers home early and federal agencies in the Washington region were closed.
Fort George G. Meade closed early and the Naval Academy and Naval Station Annapolis closed for business on Tuesday.
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Tuesday night's Anne Arundel County Council meeting was canceled. The next meeting will be Feb. 3.