With Laurel under more than 18 inches of snow and the National Weather Service predicting an additional 9 to 15 inches to fall from Saturday into early Sunday morning, the city of Laurel reminds residents that the State of Emergency declaration is still in effect.
The Mayor and City Council have asked that roads be kept clear of vehicle and pedestrian traffic so that the Department of Public Works can clear city streets safely, according to the city's media line. The city of Laurel Department of Public Works, in conjunction with the Emergency Operations Center, are clearing emergency snow routes first so that fire and rescue services can get through. Secondary and side streets will be plowed afterwards.
There are 54 miles of plowable streets maintained by the city of Laurel, according to the city's Facebook page.
"We're trying to touch them up all at one time so it doesn't build up, but it's falling right behind them," said David Cope, the city's fire marshal and acting director of the Emergency Operations Center on Saturday. "They're doing the best they can. But there's a lot of snow falling out there."
Cope said that there are 25 to 30 city employees working to clear the streets in 12 to 16 hour shifts. The city has not had to ask for help from the state, he said.
"We're not requiring it," he said. "We're doing everything ourselves."
When asked about when roads might be cleared after the storm, Cope said, "Look out the window."
"They're going to work diligently through this, as much as it takes," he said. "They'll spend as much time as they need to, with crews coming in as scheduled all the way through Monday, to keep working on this. They're working hard out there."
According to the city's Twitter feed, the snowfall is predicted to begin tapering off this evening, but heavy winds will remain.
Mayor Craig Moe has extended the time that residents have to clear sidewalks from 12 to 24 hours after snowfall has stopped, Cope said, due to the large amount of snow accumulation. But as residents begin to clear snow, he asks that they do not shovel it into the streets, as this creates hazardous conditions for motorists and difficulties for Public Works when clearing roads.
"If the city comes through and plows, don't throw the snow back onto the street, because it'll just get plowed right back up again," Cope said.
The city of Laurel advises residents to remove snow from around downspouts, drains and sump pump discharges, to allow for proper drainage, and clear snow from around fire hydrants, to make them accessible to emergency personnel should the need arise.
Residents are also asked to check on the wellbeing of their neighbors, especially the elderly.
In case of an emergency, dial 911 for fire and emergency medical services. The Laurel Police can be reached by calling 301-725-3000 for emergency needs and 301-498-0092 for non-emergency needs.
Residents with questions regarding snow removal can call Public Works at 301-725-0088.
For a list of shoveling tips courtesy of the Baltimore Sun, go to http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-shoveling-snow-0128-20160123-story.html.
For those seeking professional help with shoveling, below are a few local companies providing snow removal services:
•Ms. Honey Do: 240-456-0260
•Mr. Fixer: 301-601-1739
•Pure Quality: 240-550-5459
•The Handyman: 202-910-1832
• Rolando Handyman: 323-896-6110