BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Inches of snow, biting wind and temperatures in the teens, Maryland feels more like the Arctic right now. And it’s about to get colder.
These extreme temperatures not only feel brutal, they’re dangerous too.
Meghan McCorkell has more.
The danger is real. There have been 13 people who have died from this same storm as it moved from the Midwest to the Northeast.
The schoolkids were out Friday, but school custodian Gail Adams was shoveling at 6 a.m., trying to ignore the 14 degree cold.
“Mentally, you have to put the nose to the grindstone, forget about it and go,” said Adams.
WJZ’s Mobile Weather Lab recorded a low of 14 degrees. The highest wind gust was 20 miles an hour.
The slush from the snow has now refrozen at side streets, and that is causing lots of accidents all over the region.
Slick roads sent cars flying off roads. AAA to the rescue along Hillside Road in Timonium after a driver slipped on ice and wound up in a ditch.
For tow truck driver Walter Hernandez, it’s been a long night.
“Most of the calls mainly are winch outs or extractions — like you see now — and tows and the majority is batteries,” he said.
As of 7 p.m. Friday, AAA received 7,000 calls for roadside assistance. Two-thousand of the calls were stranded drivers.
And side streets weren’t the only trouble spots.
“Well, the icy road conditions are creating a bit of a mess here,” Captain Jeff Long reported.
Icy ramps were closed on 295. On 795 Northbound, there was another wreck during rush hour.
And the frigid cold temperatures weren’t just a problem for drivers.
Firefighters braved the cold to battle the flames inside a home along Southern Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. No one was injured.
But doctors warn with these temperatures, hypothermia can set in quickly.
“When people start to get confused and they start to shiver, that’s when we should really be concerned,” said Dr. John Wogan, GBMC Emergency Room.
The Baltimore City Health Department issued a Code Blue weather alert effective from Thursday night until 10 a.m. Saturday.
As a result of the Code Blue declaration, emergency shelters will keep extended hours and emergency workers will conduct outreach for vulnerable residents.
This will be the third Code Blue declaration of the season. Previous declarations were issued for Dec. 10-13 and Dec. 15-16.
“We’re seeing a number of people who have broken bones, sprains, people who are slipping on the ice,” Wogan said. “The two primary problems on a cold day like today are going to be hypothermia and also frostbite.”
It’s a special concern for people who work outdoors.
“You just try to keep your mind off it, keep delivering the mail,” postal worker Joe Scelsi said.
With another car rescued, Walter Hernandez is on to the next call, with this advice for drivers:
“If you really need to go out, just be cautious,” he said.
Better yet–just stay home.
In the metropolitan area, the storm was the SHA’s sixth call-out for snow and ice response.
The State Highway Administration budgeted $46 million for snow removal and has spent $28 million so far this season.
With freezing temperatures still expected over the weekend, the roads could look like this for awhile.
Maryland is bracing for another winter blast next week.
That polar vortex coming could make history–it could be the first time since 1994 that all the big cities on the I-95 corridor have been below zero all at once.
Links To Helpful Resources:
- Cold Blue Weather Alert Information
- CDC Extreme Cold Weather Guide
- Frostbite Guide
- Maryland Department of Health Cold Weather Emergency Lines
- Anne Arundel County Cold Weather Advice Page
- State Highway Administration
- Live Traffic Cameras
- Baltimore City Department of Transportation
- Closings And Delays
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