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Baltimore County digs out of historic blizzard

With an historic, record-breaking blizzard now out at sea, Baltimore County residents are reminded to take frequent breaks as they shovel snow, and asked to stay off the roads as public works crews continue to clean up.

More than 30 inches of snow fell in some parts of the county Friday and Saturday. Because of the snow, classes at Baltimore County Public Schools, Community College of Baltimore County and University of Maryland Baltimore Campus are canceled Tuesday, Jan. 26.

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At 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25 Baltimore County said in a statement that their goal is to reach all county streets at least once by tonight, as the area continues to dig out of a historic blizzard.

"It takes far longer to move 30 inches of snow than to move 15 inches of snow," the statement said. "There will be roads that our crews miss or cannot plow because of the conditions."

Residents who have not seen a plow at all by Tuesday morning are asked to contact the county using a form at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/needtocontact/highways. Baltimore County is also asking residents to shovel around fire hydrants near their homes, maintaining access for fire department crews.

According to the National Weather Service, 32.1 inches fell in Reisterstown, the highest total in the county. The Baltimore Humane Society, located in Reisterstown, sustained damage from the storm and is asking the community to help.

The organization is asking for donations from the community as well as volunteers to assist with removal of 10 downed trees and care of the animals. The shelter's one snowblower is broken and, Wendy Goldband, director of marketing and public relations at the humane society, said seven staff members are working around the clock to try to care for the animals and shovel paths to each kennel entrance.

In addition to the downed trees, the humane society is also dealing with potential roof damage.

"We've had some roof issues so that's probably going to be a worsened problem now with leaks," Goldband wrote in an email. "Plus we have about 10 large trees that need to be removed. [T]hey've fallen or are uprooted. Very dangerous and ... expensive."

According to a news release, "The financial toll is expected to continue as the brutal storm poses serious risk of structural and electrical damage to the shelter." People can make donations at www.bmorehumane.org. Volunteers who are able to come by the shelter to assist are also welcome.

The county is asking drivers to stay off the roads. Fire Captain Julia Dillard said the county has had relatively few calls during the storm.

"It's been very quiet, people have stayed in," she said.

There could be power outages after the storm has passed, she warned, as the weight of snow damages power lines. If power goes out, a concern for the fire department is carbon monoxide poisoning due to improper use of generators.

BGE suggests clearing exterior vents around homes to prevent increased levels of carbon monoxide.

Ambulances dispatched for emergency medical calls were accompanied by fire engines during the storm, to provide additional personnel. Baltimore County has also been working with the National Guard, giving them access to Humvees to ensure personnel can get to calls.

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who represents the Towson area, said he had heard of scattered power outages throughout the county as of mid-afternoon Saturday.

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"I'm hearing from people throughout the area and on Facebook that everything is going as well as can be expected," Marks said. "Everybody is staying inside."

Marks also said that, according to county emergency operations officials, crews were expected to begin plowing side streets Saturday evening and that it was expected to take them 48 hours to finish all the side streets.

Also in Towson, police said they have seen little in the way of crime or traffic accidents so far. "Knock some wood," said Officer Candice Covington at the Towson precinct.

The county was concerned about coastal communities along the Chesapeake Bay, however, flooding never happened, according to Kobler.

For storm updates from the county, go to the Twitter page twitter.com/BACOemergency.

—Reporters Elaina Clarke and Larry Perl contributed to this story.

This story has been updated.

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