Icy Conditions Mar Morning Commute — Icy roads, especially on bridges, might have caused an accident on the Rockville Pike overpass of Montrose Parkway, temporarily closing down three lanes of southbound Rockville Pike. Police also reported dangerous conditions on the Fernwood Road overpass of the Beltway and the Democracy Boulevard overpass of I-270.
Snow Set Records Yesterday — The rare spring snowstorm that hit the area set a few records for daily maximum snowfall and the roughly three inches of snow was the largest March 25 snowfall since 1990. [TerpWeather]
Maryland House Approves Medical Marijuana — The House of Delegates voted to support medical marijuana under limited circumstances. The bill will be sent to the State Senate, which voted to decriminalize possession small amounts of marijuana. [Washington Post]
Flickr photo by ehpien
Montgomery County is now in a snow emergency, meaning drivers should take extra caution and are prohibited from parking on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes.
From Maryland State Police and the State Highway Administration:
The Maryland State Police (MSP) declares snow emergencies with input from MD State Highway Administration. Once a snow emergency is declared, the law requires certain precautions:
Prohibited parking on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes; and The use of snow tires/chains (most cars now use all weather tires, so changing to “snow” tires is unnecessary)
Once an emergency is in effect, all requirements are in effect until lifted. A Snow Emergency Plan is put into effect by county. Certain exceptions can occur while a snow emergency plan is in effect. A specific route(s) can be lifted and the remainders of the roads in the county still remain under the Snow Emergency Plan. For the most up to date information, it is advised to call the local MSP barrack for the county.
Snow started accumulating on area roads early this morning, with a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until noon Monday and 1-3 inches expected by the National Weather Service:
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EDT TODAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 1 TO 3 INCHES.
* TIMING… MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED EARLY THIS MORNING. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF BY THIS AFTERNOON.
* TEMPERATURES… LOWER 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH.
* IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY… ESPECIALLY ACROSS ELEVATED SURFACES SUCH AS BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Montgomery Public Schools Staff To Get Raise — Teachers and other MCPS employees who qualify will get step increases and all others will get 2 percent raises next February, after the Board of Education approved contracts with three unions on Thursday. MCPS superintendent Joshua Starr added $6 million to his recommendation for salary increases for a total of $18.6 million. [The Gazette]
Resident Reported Issue With Chevy Chase Water Main 7 Hours Before It Burst — A Chevy Chase resident reported water squirting up from the water main at about 1:15 p.m. A WSSC inspector determined it was a leak in a valve that could hold until morning. At about 7:45 p.m., the five-foot main broke, sending water shooting 30 feet into the air, destroying part of Chevy Chase Lake Drive and closing Connecticut Avenue. [Washington Post]
Plan To Close Randolph Road Meets More Resistance — The State Highway Administration on Thursday presented options to extend Montrose Parkway east from Rockville Pike to the Montgomery County Planning Board. Neighbors aren’t happy with one option that would close Randolph Road at the CSX rail tracks and effectively close off the Randolph Hills Neighborhood from White Flint. [Washington Examiner]
Snow Possible For Sunday, Monday — The area could be hit with a light amount of rain and or snow as next week begins, though forecasters don’t believe it will be cold enough or there will be enough precipitation for a major event. [Capital Weather Gang]
Flickr photo by ehpien
What Went Wrong With “Snowquester” Forecast? — Higher than freezing temperatures kept yesterday’s snow from sticking on roads, which had a lot to do with the lower than projected amount of precipitation that came in the early morning hours. Jordan Tessler, a University of Maryland student who runs Terp Weather, provided a more detailed explanation on Facebook. [Terp Weather via Facebook]
Review: Bethesda Blues and Jazz Orchestra — The new Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club’s house band is a work in progress, writes a reviewer from the Washington City Paper. More concerning for fans of jazz and live music in Bethesda, just 35 people came to see the set in a venue that holds 500. [Washington City Paper]
Post Editorial: State Leaders Must Sell Modest Transportation Proposal — The gas tax proposal to fund transportation projects unveiled this week by Gov. Martin O’Malley, House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is modest relative to a recent plan in neighboring Virginia. [Washington Post]
Bach Choir Performing At Strathmore Next Week — The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Pa., is touring the D.C. area for the first time since 1999 and will perform on Wedensday, March 13 at The Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane). [Strathmore]
Flickr photo by Matthew Straubmuller
3:06 p.m. The National Weather Service has called off the Winter Storm Warning for today after a big projected snowstorm never materialized:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM EST THIS EVENING…
…WINTER STORM WARNING IS CANCELLED…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PORTIONS OF MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA…WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM EST THIS EVENING. THE WINTER STORM WARNING HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS…ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE TO TWO INCHES IS POSSIBLE THROUGH THIS EVENING.
* TIMING…SNOW MIXED WITH RAIN WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE LATE AFTERNOON…THEN TAPER OFF DURING EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE LOW TO MID 30S.
* WINDS…NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* IMPACTS…SLUSHY TO SNOW COVERED ROADS COMBINED WITH TEMPERATURES AROUND FREEZING WILL PRODUCE ICY AREAS. DRIVE WITH CAUTION.
2:16 p.m. Montgomery County will keep its 311 Call Center open until 7 p.m. today and it will reopen tomorrow at 6 a.m. Residents can reach MC311 for help finding services at 240-777-0311 or any time online.
12:44 p.m. About 130 Pepco customers are without power this afternoon in the Rock Creek Forest neighborhood on the edge of Chevy Chase and Silver Spring, according to the Pepco outage map.
The outages were reported about 45 minutes ago and were caused by high winds. Estimated restoration is today at 4 p.m.
Follow Bethesda-Chevy Chase Snowstorm News All Day — We’ll keep you updated with photos, any closings, power outages and other news out of today’s expected snowstorm. [Bethesda Now]
County Issues Report On Leave Used By County Employees — The Office of Legislative Oversight found that overall, leave abuse by the about 6,800 employees in the county’s executive branch is infrequent. The report found that on average, employees are working 11 hours regular hours for every hour of overtime. Fire fighters were found to have taken the most leave and earned the most overtime. [The Gazette]
“From Here to There” Opens At Imagination Stage — An interactive kids play that creates a make-believe world to bridge together two actors will start its run this week at Imagination Stage (4908 Auburn Ave.). It will run to April 14. [Imagination Stage]
Flickr photo by Rich Renomeron
UPDATE 2:56 p.m. As anticipated, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Montgomery County and much of the Washington D.C. area for tomorrow:
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS…4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS WEST OF INTERSTATE 95.
* TIMING…RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO WET SNOW FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY. SNOW TAPERS OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE MID 30S.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
* IMPACTS…SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Tomorrow, that will likely change, giving the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and State Highway Administration a late first test of the winter with a predicted three to eight inches of snow in the Bethesda area.
The MCDOT this year is debuting a countywide GPS system that pre-programs snow clearing routes for plow operators with a special SIM card. The change was one of a few detailed at the county’s annual “Snow Summit,” in November.
Some things to remember about the county’s snow plow operations if you find your street covered with snow on Wednesday morning:
When snow begins to cover roads, salt crews spread salt on all main County roads and emergency routes.
When snow accumulates to three inches, plowing and salting crews continue to clear all main County roads and emergency routes.
Once the snow stops, crews begin plowing neighborhood roads.
Also, the county offers a real-time map of its progress on all roads, which can be viewed at the MCDOT Storm Operations page.
Screenshot via MCDOT
The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Watch will be in effect from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning as more than five inches of snow is possible for parts of Montgomery County.
The NWS says precipitation should start Tuesday evening and change into snow Tuesday night, then continue throughout Wednesday. Power outages are also a possibility:
… WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… MORE THAN 5 INCHES POSSIBLE… WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.
* TIMING… PRECIPITATION MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO SNOW TUESDAY NIGHT. SNOW CONTINUING INTO WEDNESDAY EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER AND MID 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.
* IMPACTS… DIFFICULT DRIVING CONDITIONS. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW… SLEET… OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
Metro Operator Stops Train, Saves Woman At Bethesda Station — Metro says the woman intentionally placed herself on the outbound track at the Bethesda station on Friday around 5:30 p.m. But the train operator was able to stop the train before it hit her. A Metro spokesman said she was lying down on the tracks in an obvious suicide attempt and it took police 15 minutes to remove her before she was taken to a local hospital for an involuntary committal. [Washington Examiner]
Some Snow Likely, Significant Snow Possible For Wednesday — The folks at the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang have deemed it the “Snowquester,” an early-March snow storm coming Wednesday that forecasters say has some potential to dump five or more inches on the area. [Capital Weather Gang]
Whitman Finally Beats Gaithersburg, Secures Trip To States — The two-time defending state champion Gaithersburg girls basketball team had knocked Walt Whitman High School’s team out of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. On Friday, Whitman got some measure of revenge by taking down Gaithersburg 46-31 in the Class 4A West Region title game. The Vikings are headed to the state semifinals for the first time since 2007 and will face Baltimore’s Poly High School on Thursday at UMBC. [The Gazette]
No One Injured In Sunday Grosvenor Fire — Fire fighters put out a kitchen fire Sunday afternoon in a second-floor apartment at the 10201 Grosvenor complex. No injuries were reported. [MCFRS via Twitter]
Flickr photo by Richard Ricciardi
Some Snow Possible Tonight, Tomorrow — Dropping temperatures could lead to a dusting of one inch around midnight and there’s a slight chance of snow Saturday afternoon into the evening. [Washington Post Capital Weather Gang]
Three Bethesda High Schools In “Pennies for Patients Challenge” — Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson and Whitman High Schools are participating in the 2013 Pennies for Patients High School Challenge with 13 other area schools, with the collective goal of raising $175,000 for leukemia and lymphoma research. [Chevy Chase Patch]
Planners Propose Smaller Bus Rapid Transit System — On the heels of a county-commissioned report that questioned the viability of many of the BRT routes first suggested, county planners have now introduced an eight-route system that would include a Rockville Pike/355 route and a North Bethesda Transitway route. [Greater Greater Washington]
Flickr photo by ehpien
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Montgomery County from 4 a.m. Friday until 10 a.m.
Forecasters say the Washington area could see a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain with accumulation of up to one inch, much less than the monster snows cities such as Boston and New York are expecting.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR A WINTRY MIX OF SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.
* ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. UP TO A FEW HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE FROM FREEZING RAIN.
* TIMING… PRECIPITATION WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AND TRANSITION TO RAIN BY MID MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES… LOWER 30S.
* WINDS… EAST 5 MPH OR LESS.
* IMPACTS… ANY UNTREATED SURFACES WILL BECOME ICY… ESPECIALLY ON ELEVATED SURFACES… DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Because of pavement temperatures below 20 degrees, the SHA will not pre-treat roads using salt brine that could freeze. Salt from Thursday’s snow removal operations remains on many roadways but SHA officials still warn of slippery and icy conditions during the Friday evening rush.
“We ask that all drivers take their time traveling Friday afternoon and plan ahead. It will be important to watch the weather and time your travel to avoid driving during the snow storm. Rush hour and winter precipitation are a terrible combination since SHA’s snow removal efforts can be severely hampered by traffic, crashes and disabled vehicles – making it difficult for crews to salt and plow the highways,” SHA administration Melinda Peters said in a press release.
The SHA also said schools are likely to adjust their schedules to give its crews space to work. Montgomery County Schools will close two-and-a-half hours early today.
Some more tips for this afternoon’s drive:
• Fill your gas tank, make sure you have window washer fluid, an ice scraper, a charged cell phone and an alternate travel plan should crashes or other incidents block your normal route.
• Listen to commercial traffic reports so you know the latest traffic impacts. Call 511 using a hands-free device.
• If snow starts mid-day, considerer delaying travel until after the snow stops. SHA crews work to achieve bare pavement within four hours after a storm stops. If you do travel, have realistic expectation and be patient.
• Drive focused – Maryland law prohibits hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving.
• Buckle up! It’s the law in Maryland and your number one defense in a crash.
• Move over to an adjacent travel lane away from emergency personnel – a new Maryland law requires it.
• Allow extra time for unexpected delays.
• Slow down and pay attention, avoiding distractions such as cell-phone use, changing CDs and eating. Observe all posted speed limits.
MCPS On Two-Hour Delay Thursday — About an inch of overnight snow has Montgomery County Public Schools opening two hours later than usual on Thursday. [MCPS]
Bethesda Resident Turns 103 — Rita DiLazzara was honored with an event at the Clara Barton Community Center in Potomac, where County Executive Isiah Leggett turned up to present her with a certificate in honor of her milestone. She is one of the oldest people in the county. [Bethesda Patch]
Bethesda Teen Takes Biking To The Next Level — Ben Jacoby, 18, rides his bike nearly everywhere, enough places to have traveled 1,891 miles in January. He’s taking part in an international competition that tracks bike miles. [The Gazette]
The National Weather Service says around an inch of snow accumulation is possible from midnight to 9 a.m. tomorrow.
It issued a Winter Weather Advisory this afternoon:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST THURSDAY…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST THURSDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW
* ACCUMULATIONS…AROUND AN INCH.
* TIMING…OVERNIGHT INTO EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES…UPPER TEENS AND LOWER 20S.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH OVERNIGHT BECOMING NORTH 10 TO 20 MPH THURSDAY MORNING.
* IMPACTS…ANY UNTREATED SURFACES WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY. ANY SNOW COVERED SURFACES WILL REMAIN SLIPPERY THROUGH THE MORNING RUSH.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES…AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
The freezing temperatures could make for a tricky morning commute. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang says another dusting could come during the Friday evening rush hour.