BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State officials are asking that motorists stay off Maryland roadways while crews try to clear the snow from roads.
Schools across the state are closed and many residents are working from home which is helping keep roads clear.READ MORE: WATCH: Maryland NAACP Calls For Ocean City Police Officers In Arrest Video To Be 'Removed From Posts' Until Investigation Is Complete
The snow is coming down “fast and furious” and it’s heavy and accumulating on roads quickly.
WJZ reporter Ron Matz stated Baltimore County Snow Emergency is in effect and “road conditions have deteriorated in the past few hours. If you have to go out, make sure your car is completely cleared of snow as it is very important.”
Over 1,000 active state highway vehicles are on the roads clearing snow, salting, and sanding.
Mike Ramsburg with Frederick County highways has reported four inches of snow cover so far and says, “fortunately we prepared for this and a lot of places are closed causing fewer cars on the roads which helps our drivers and we really appreciate that.”
There are reports of cars spinning out, stalling, and treacherous road conditions.
WJZ Reporter Tracey Leong is on the road in WJZ’s Mobile Weather Lab and emphasizes, “visibility is low, snow is sticking to the ground, and it is very slick.”
If you must go out on the roads, drive slowly and don’t crowd the plows and drive no more than 15 to 20 mph.
Jonathan Dean at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport has advised people to “use extra caution and check their website for flight information as the airport is feeling some impact of the snowfall.”
WJZ spoke with Charlie Gishlar of the Maryland State Highway Administration about crashes happening in the sloppy road conditions.
“That’s happening on a lot of the ramps- areas, they tend to freeze up first,” Gishlar said. “The elevated sections of roadways, and we usually see this type of thing when people go out and take the ramps a little too fast.”READ MORE: Shooting With Multiple Victims Reported In West Baltimore
He went on to address the state’s plan for when the snow turns to rain and sleet later in the day.
“The sleet and the frozen precipitation is something that is always of concern to us,” Gishlar said. “It’s dangerous out there when you have icy conditions from sleet and freezing rain so we will then continue our plowing operations but as we start to wane and change into that frozen precipitation, we’ll go into our major salting operation to make sure that nothing freezes up. We’ll continue that until those pavement temperatures and air temperatures are well above freezing.”
State police have responded to 92 crashes, 68 disabled or unattended vehicles, and have answered 303 calls for service so far.
In a bit of good news, AAA noted that the number of people requiring service was actually down from the same time last year.
“As of 11 a.m. today, AAA has come to the rescue of over 300 total members here in Maryland,” said Ragina Cooper Averella. “Which is actually a 40 percent drop in rescues compared to the same time last year.”
The county executive of Baltimore County John “Johnny O” Olszewski was in Rodgers Forge and advises “people without snow tires or snow chains to stay off the roads” and asks for “patience as we get the roadways clear.” “It takes 24 hours after the last snowdrop to clear the 6700 miles of roadway we have to cover.”
WJZ Reporter Devin Bartolotta was live at 1 p.m and stated because that heavy thick snow is no longer falling, it gives people a chance to shovel.”
Mike Ramsburg with Frederick County updates us that, “right now the roads are still covered and slippery, we are in a cleanup mode now. Fortunately, the temperatures aren’t too cold, but we are worried about what the freezing rain might do to the roads.”
The challenges road crews are facing will be to begin combating this ran and participation this afternoon.
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This story was written by WJZ intern Anna Lee Flaherty. Follow @Annaleeflaher19 on Twitter