The first day of spring Tuesday began with a series of winter storms that are expected to continue through Wednesday evening.
National Weather Service meteorologist Isha Renta said she expects 8 to 12 inches of snow in most of Carroll County by 8 p.m. Wednesday. Northern parts of the county could see up to 14 inches, she said. The snow will be wet and heavy, so she encourages everyone to be cautious during snow removal.
“Don’t underestimate this storm because Tuesday [was] the first day of spring,” said Russell Strickland, Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s executive director, in a prepared statement. “We are looking at several days of precipitation with temperatures close to freezing. Travel by car or foot could be dangerous.”
Snow and sleet began falling in much of Carroll early Tuesday morning, forcing schools and government agencies to close early.
Carroll County Public Schools closed three hours early on Tuesday, and after-school activities and non-CCPS sponsored activities in their school facilities for Tuesday evening were canceled.
Despite the early closure, Tuesday still counts as a full day of school for students and does not count against the school system’s total of inclement weather days. CCPS has used five of the six inclement weather days that were built into the schedule.
Carroll County Public School’s will be closed on Wednesday, March 21 however, the school system announced on its website and social media channels around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday evening. A liberal leave policy will be in effect for employees.
Carroll Community and McDaniel colleges both closed early Tuesday, as did all Carroll County senior and community centers, all branches of the Carroll County Public Library and the Carroll County Government offices.
Contingency plans for a few meetings and events scheduled for Wednesday have already been put in place.
The community college’s board of trustees meeting scheduled for Wednesday was postponed until Friday, March 23, at 9 a.m. The location of the meeting will now be in the Carroll Community College’s Office of the President.
If public schools are closed Wednesday, the Board of Education work session scheduled for 4 p.m., the second Redistricted and School Closure Committee meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and the Outstanding Teacher Awards will also be canceled. The Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Teacher Awards will be rescheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at Winters Mill High School.
The Carroll County Bureau of Aging and Disabilities announced the inclement weather policy for the Caregiver Educational Seminar “The Latest Advances in Dementia Diagnosis and Prevention” scheduled for Wednesday at the Westminster Senior Center. If public schools are closed on Wednesday, the seminar event will be canceled and rescheduled for a later date, according to a release from the county.
Residents should be closely monitoring updated weather forecasts and keeping electronic communications devices charged, according to MEMA news release. They should also check on family, neighbors and friends, especially those who might have difficulty dealing with the effects of the weather.
Carroll County Breaking News
MEMA officials also cautions those shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion by taking frequent breaks and keeping hydrated. If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter or sand for traction. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration announced crews were prepared for accumulating snowfall Tuesday night and Wednesday. The storm system that is developing could produce hazardous conditions for drivers Wednesday morning.
Pavement temperatures Tuesday afternoon mostly remained in the mid-upper 30s, but areas north and west were just above freezing. Motorists are urged to reduce speeds and be especially cautious on elevated roadways.
State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar encouraged drivers to “make smart travel decisions.”
“We need people to slow down because the roads are wet and they can hydroplane,” Gischlar said. “Overnight pavement temperatures will drop and we’ll continue to clear and treat. I encourage overnight travelers to stay behind snowplows and give themselves an abundance of extra time. You never want to be in a hurry in this weather.”
Traffic, weather and power outage alerts, as well as winter preparedness information, can be accessed on the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s website at www.mema.maryland.gov. You can also follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA for updated information.
Times reporter Emily Chappell contributed to this article.