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Major snowstorm aims at mid-Atlantic

Emergency responders warn residents should be prepared to 'shelter in place'

BY KATE SAAVEDRA | BALTIMORE | February 4, 2010

Long lines formed in supermarkets and home improvement centers Thursday in the mid-Atlantic states as residents attempted to stock-up as forecasters predicted a major snowstorm would hit the region Friday and Saturday.

Some schools in the region were taking no chances Thursday night. The District of Columbia schools said they would be open Friday morning but were already announcing an early dismissal at noon Friday.

 The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch – a possibility of winter storm conditions within the next two days - extending from western Indiana to the east coast and south through North Carolina. A Winter Storm Warning – indicating severe winter conditions within 24 hours - was in effect for western North Carolina, northern and western Virginia, eastern West Virginia and Central Maryland. 

The slow-moving storm moved across Mexico, dumping rain and snow over Texas and Oklahoma and is predicted to move east and north into the mid-Atlantic region by Friday.

As much as two feet of snow could fall in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and parts of northern and western Virginia by Saturday evening, with near-blizzard conditions predicted overnight Friday. Philadelphia is expected to get as much as a foot of snow. The storm is expected to begin by midday Friday, with the heaviest snowfall overnight Friday, and lasting through Saturday night.

 Abundant precipitation and high winds could cause power outages and dangerous road conditions. Motorists in severe weather areas are advised that travel will likely be difficult throughout the weekend and to avoid the roads Friday night.

Those in affected areas are advised to stay indoors during the storm. According to the FEMA website, residents should prepare for the winter storm by storing adequate amounts of food and heating fuel, in case of isolation and power outages.  

The Baltimore area is well on its way to record snowfall for the winter. By Thursday, more than 35-inches of snow had already fallen this season. The area usually receives approximately 10-inches.

 Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for this weekend’s storm to allow local governments to prepare for response to the impending weather with the aid of the state.

County emergency management offices in Virginia met Thursday to prepare for the storm and got an updated forecast from the National Weather Service.

Shamus Mooney, Director of Emergency Preparedness for Frederick County, Virginia said crews in his county were already pre-treating roads in preparation for the storm.

In Fairfax County, the Office of Emergency Management issued a press release warning residents to avoid driving in snow and to stock up on emergency supplies.  Spokesperson Merni Fitzgerald said residents are encouraged to keep enough supplies of food, fuel and medication to last at least 72 hours.

Fitzgerald said a major priority in Fairfax County is being prepared to plow snow around police and fire stations, which aren’t covered in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s snow-removal jurisdiction.


Related Topics:

Winter storms could spell doom for some churches

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Snow? Whoa! New England braces for even more!


More links on Winter Storms

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