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1/3 inch of ice could affect Monday commute before warmer temps arrive

A weekend storm left a third of an inch of ice in parts of the Baltimore area that could affect the Monday morning commute before temperatures rise in the afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

A cold front should pass through in the morning, taking with it the remaining clouds that dumped snow, sleet and freezing rain across the state, and ushering in a clear, sunny Monday afternoon with highs of up to 41 degrees, the weather service said. More cold and rain, or potentially another wintry mix, Tuesday is expected to give way to even nicer weather Wednesday — a warm front that should push highs into the 50s.

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Baltimore city and Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Talbot and St. Mary's county public schools announced 2-hour delays for Monday. For updated school and college closings, go to bsun.md/snowday.

The Maryland State Highway Administration treated roads overnight and urged commuters to check conditions and avoid driving if possible in the event of icy roads.

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Baltimore's Department of Transportation sent out 240 pieces of snow emergency equipment Sunday morning and spread 900 tons of salt, focusing on treating primary and secondary roads, said William M. Johnson, the department's director. Crews were expected to work into the night, he said, as the precipitation changed from sleet to rain by 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.

In anticipation of vehicles getting stranded in the ice and slush, the city positioned tow trucks on I-83 and along Northern Parkway Sunday to move vehicles out of traffic lanes.

The city also has been working around the clock to restore water service to residents, officials said. As of Sunday, the city's Department of Public Works was handling 25 active water main breaks and had deployed maintenance division workers on 12-hour shifts, contractor crews and more than 40 investigators.

Crews also were responding to the 756 reports of no water, water leaks or water in basements that remained of the more than 5,600 such complaints reported since Feb. 14. In addition, some 250 locations had no water because of broken or split pipes that needed to be repaired, said public works director Rudolph S. Chow. The department said no-water complaints had been cut in half since Saturday.

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"My administration has been focused on ensuring we provide residents with the service they deserve," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said during a Sunday briefing on weather conditions. "I want to let those families who are frustrated know, I hear you. I understand your frustration and am utilizing every available resource to solve these problems."

The public works department reminded residents to run a thin stream of cold water from a basement faucet when temperatures dip below 25 degrees for an extended period.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. warned Sunday that ice-coated trees and tree limbs can fall on power lines and cause outages. The utility said it had mobilized field crews and other employees to respond to potential damage from snow, freezing rain and ice.

The utility encouraged customers — even those with smart meters — to report any outages from mobile phones or through the mobile website at bge.com.

"BGE has crews strategically positioned throughout our entire service area, poised to respond to weather-related power outages quickly and safely, should they occur," Rob Biagiotti, BGE's vice president and chief customer officer, said in a statement.

He warned that restoration times could be extended if road conditions are hazardous or crews need to first remove tree debris.

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Baltimore Sun reporter Joe Burris contributed to this story.

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