With the year's first major snowstorm predicted to arrive in the Harford and Cecil County area between Friday evening and Saturday morning, leaders of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace are asking residents to be prepare and be ready to help each other if necessary.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch through late Saturday night, with heavy snow and wind, blowing and drifting snow and accumulations ranging from 18 to 24 inches.
Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency effective at 7 a.m. Friday. Harford County Executive Barry Glassman will put a county state of emergency in effect Friday morning as well, as spokesperson said.
The NWS said temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 20s, with northeast winds 25 to 35 mph, gusting to 55 mph.
"A blizzard watch means severe winter weather is possible," the advisory continued. "Adjust travel plans and planned activities, stock up on necessities, make plans for the elderly and those most at risk, prepare for the possibility of power outages."
A blizzard means there is a potential for drifting snow and poor visibilities leading to whiteout conditions that make travel dangerous, the NWS warned.
In a message emailed Thursday evening, Mayor Patrick McGrady urged city residents to be cautious.
"This storm will be challenging for the Aberdeen public works crews, but we have a plan and we will dig out together," the mayor said. "On behalf of the City employees, please be patient during this event."
The detailed snow removal plan is available to view on the City website at www.Aberdeen-md.org.
"You can help us by parking your vehicles off of the street so the plows can clear the snow," McGrady continued. "If you can not park off the street, please work with your neighbors to park on the odd numbered side of the street. By having the cars on one side of the street, the plow truck drivers will be better able to clear the snow and keep the community moving."
"Our plan is to keep the roads passable on Friday night and Saturday through the storm, but the detailed curb-to-curb snow cleanup will start after the storm, early Sunday," he said. "For your safety please do not drive unless absolutely necessary."
McGrady said Saturday yard waste pickup is canceled.
For updates during the storm, residents can visit the city website or the "Aberdeen Maryland" Facebook page.
Earlier this week Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin urged residents of his city to prepare for the potentially crippling weather and to be sensitive to each other.
"Whenever our town comes into an event, whether it's heavy rains or a snowstorm like this, it's an inconvenience, it's a hardship... it definitely affects people's lives," the mayor said.
"Use this as another example of a time we can come together and show everybody the true character and caliber of who we are as a city," he said, encouraging people to help neighbors shovel snow and avoid stealing others' parking spots.
"Be cool; be kind to your neighbor," Martin said. "It's those little things like that that will make you a superstar for the rest of the year for your neighbor."