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People leave Winters Mill High School on Wednesday night as snow starts to fall.
People leave Winters Mill High School on Wednesday night as snow starts to fall. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Emergency officials are warning Marylanders to be prepared for a winter storm system that will likely bring heavy snow, high winds and cold temperatures to the area the next few days.

Carroll County spokesperson Deborah Lundahl said the county is in contact with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency as the state and county prepare for the winter weather.

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"At this time, we are monitoring the snow," Lundahl said. "It's a little too early to predict, so we're coordinating schedules for staff on the road crews. We're preparing to pretreat roads as necessary, when the conditions are right. We're currently in a 'wait and see' mode."

The National Weather Service expects the low-pressure storm to begin Friday with the heaviest precipitation occurring Friday afternoon through Saturday. A blizzard watch for central and southern Maryland, which includes Carroll County, has been issued. The National Weather Service has also issued a winter storm watch for western Maryland beginning Friday at noon and extending through Saturday evening, and warns that minor to moderate coastal flooding could occur.

MEMA officials advised residents to make preparations now and are encouraging motorists to stay off the roads during the height of the storm.

"State agencies are coordinating all available resources to prepare to clear roads and manage incidents that may be caused by this significant storm but Marylanders should also take action now," Gov. Larry Hogan said in a prepared statement. "Before the storm hits, make sure you have supplies at home and communications devices charged. Be a good neighbor — check on relatives, friends, and those who may be more vulnerable to cold and a big winter storm."

MEMA and other state agencies are preparing to assist local responders with any issues related to the storm. In addition to staying off the roads and monitoring the weather and power outages, MEMA officials recommend taking the following actions:

•Keep devices charged so you will have a way to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information and be able to contact family and friends.

•Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated. If snow is accumulating on your rooftop, consider removing snow if it is safe to do so.

•If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter, or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.

•Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives, especially the elderly or vulnerable residents who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.

•Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/PowerOutages.aspx.

410-857-7873

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