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Maryland State Sen. Michael Lenett, D-Montgomery County, walks to work in the snow in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010, as snow continued to fall in the Mid-Atlantic region. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

REISTERSTOWN, Md.—MEMA— The high-impact winter storm system heading toward Maryland is forecast to bring heavy snow, winds, and cold temperatures to the entire State. The storm is expected to start Friday afternoon and the National Weather Service expects the height of the storm to begin soon after the snow starts. Portions of the State could experience blizzard conditions that include wind gusts and blowing snow. In addition to potential blizzard conditions, the National Weather Service has indicated that minor to moderate coastal flooding could occur. Due to this, Governor Larry Hogan has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency beginning Friday morning. A state of emergency allows the Governor to deploy resources and make decisions in order to promote public safety during the storm and enable a full-scale response. It is also an indicator to residents that this could be a significant winter storm and that they should take precautions. 

A lone motorist drives on a snow covered Bradley Blvd in Bethesda, Md., outside Washington, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010. A blizzard battered the Mid-Atlantic region Saturday, with emergency crews struggling to keep pace with the heavy, wet snow that has piled up on roadways, toppled trees and left thousands without electricity. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Motorists are urged to stay off the roads during the height of the storm. Driving could be dangerous soon after the snow begins. 

“Our state is taking every precaution – coordinating all available resources – to prepare to clear roads, manage incidents, and recover from this storm,” said Governor Hogan. “We urge all Marylanders to take action now to prepare, before this severe weather strikes, with the knowledge that our state will do everything it can to respond quickly, effectively and efficiently to this major storm event.” 

MEMA has been working with local officials to ensure they have the resources necessary to manage incidents caused by the storm and remove snow efficiently. The Agency has also hosted conference calls with the National Weather Service, state agencies, local emergency management offices, and other partners to coordinate response efforts. 

“It is essential that residents prepare now, stay informed, and stay off the roads after the snow begins,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “MEMA has been coordinating State resources to deal with problems that the significant snowfall may cause, but, motorists can avoid delays and serious incidents by avoiding travel.” 

In addition to staying off the roads and monitoring the weather and power outages, residents should take the following actions: 

  • Keep devices charged so you will have a way to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information and be able to contact family and friends.
  • Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated. If snow is accumulating on your rooftop, consider removing snow if it is safe to do so.
  • If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter, or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
  • Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives, especially the elderly or vulnerable residents who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.
  • Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/PowerOutages.aspx

Additionally, traffic, weather, and power outage alerts, as well as winter preparedness information, can be accessed on the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s website at mema.maryland.gov. You can also follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA.