BALTIMORE (WJZ) – It’s another round of winter weather.
The worry this time isn’t snow. It’s ice and freezing rain and that means area crews are approaching things a bit differently.
Kelly McPherson reports currently some icy conditions are being reported in Bel Air in Harford County, on I-70 at the Howard/Carroll County line and I-70 near Maryland 75 in Frederick County.
A little drizzle combined with freezing temperatures meant many Marylanders woke up to a thin coating of ice.
“It’s all over everything, but it wasn’t too bad. It was on the windshield pretty good, but that’s about it,” said Brent Goldsmith.
In Frederick County, it took some elbow grease to clear that ice, and it took a lot of salt to make sure sidewalks were safe.
It’s only been a few days since traffic backed up for miles on I-83 northbound. People were stuck for hours from the evening rush well into the night.
“It was spun around. On I-83 North there was like 10 cars that were just backwards. It was like miles and miles of backed up traffic,” said Ashley Shanholtz, Pikesville.
This time area crews pre-treated most major roads with a salt brine mixture, trying to stay ahead of the storm, which could continue into Wednesday.
“SHA crews are out in force to deal with this latest storm. Roads have been treated with salt and there are over 1,400 pieces of equipment ready to respond to any emergency.” says SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen. “Even though the roads have been pre-treated, there can still be icy conditions especially on the bridges, ramps and overpasses. Even a very small patch of ice can cause a hazard for drivers. SHA is asking motorists to keep speeds down, never pass a plow, and if at all possible stay home to allow crews to do their job keeping the roads clear.”
“It was a little icy on the backroads, but the highway and the main roads were not icy that I could tell,” said Tim Burdette, Roland Park.
It’s important not to be over-confident, though.
“Please proceed with caution. The streets can be very deceiving. Although it may look like it’s clear, there still may be some icy spots, especially on bridges and overpasses,” said Adrienne Barnes, City Transportation.
BGE says it has nearly 1,200 forces on standby to prepare for possible power outages.
“We just want to be conservative. Whether we need them–we hope we don’t–but we’d rather have the resources available to us in case we have another restoration effort again underway,” said Rob Gould, BGE spokesperson.
While there may not be much accumulation, ice makes for a difficult and dangerous situation.
“We’re already in precarious positions. Trees — especially like pine trees — it doesn’t take much to take them down. Now with the freezing rain and the ice, that’s a recipe for potential outages,” said Gould.
BGE is warning customers with special needs to make arrangements now, so they have a place to go in case of a power outage.
Many school districts in the state were closed or opening late due the road conditions.
There are already a handful of canceled flights in and out of BWI Marshall Airport, mainly going to and from the Midwest. All MARC transit lines are running, but you’re advised to leave an extra 15 minutes early to account for icy roads or sidewalks.
SHA crews have been in place and ready to respond since 4 a.m. Tuesday. All trucks are loaded with salt and stationed in hot spot areas, heavy duty tow trucks are available to assist tractor trailers in the event they have difficulty. Trucks are currently stationed at:
• Southbound I-95 rest area in Prince George’s County
• I-495 at MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue)
• I-95 at MD 214 (Central Avenue)
• I-95/I-495 Park & Ride in College Park
• I-695 at Providence Road
• I-695 at MD 140 (Reisterstown Road)
• I-70 at MD 144 (Frederick Road) Park & Ride
• US 50 at MD 424 (Davidsonville Road) Park & Ride
A second round of icy weather is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. It could mean more trouble as the temperatures drop below freezing after dark.
“It’s a lot better than 56 inches of snow, I can tell you that much,” said Mike Leveille, commuter.
“My thoughts are if it’s really icy, I’m not leaving my house,” said Karen Hirschbine.
SHA Emergency Operations personnel have reached out to the trucking community to alert drivers to the potential for ice in an attempt for them to delay their travel if at all possible.