As the mid-Atlantic region braces for a predicted 2 feet of snow and heavy winds, Howard County will be under a blizzard warning -- upgraded from a blizzard watch -- from 3 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. on Sunday.
Public schools and school offices in the county will be closed on Friday in anticipation of the storm, and all after-school activities scheduled to take place in the county's schools – including athletic games -- are canceled through Sunday.
Details about high school exams, which students were scheduled to take on Friday, are forthcoming, according to an email sent by the county's school system.
The National Weather Service is calling for 18 to 24 inches of snow across Central Maryland, with the heaviest snowfall from Friday night into Saturday morning. The snow is expected to taper off early on Sunday morning.
A blizzard warning indicates that the storm is "imminent or expected in the next 12 to 36 hours," according to the National Weather Service, and will bring "sustained wind or frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph." The wind, in combination with the snow fall, could reduce visibility to less than a quarter of a mile.
In preparation for the storm, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a State of Emergency beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday.
"Our first and main priority is keeping Marylanders safe and making sure that all levels of government are working together to respond to this weather system," Hogan said at a news conference at Maryland Emergency Management Agency headquarters Thursday. "I want all Marylanders to know that their state is ready and working together to respond effectively."