Keeping roadways safe during all seasons
Winter weather can stretch from the beginning of December through March in Charles County. During these months, snow clearance is vital to ensuring your safety. The Department of Public Works reminds residents to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice after winter storms.
Keep your neighborhoods safe for emergency personnel, pedestrians and cyclists by clearing sidewalks. Remember to assist elderly and disabled neighbors who are unable to move snow. Clearing driveways and entrances of snow is the responsibility of the property owner, homeowners’ association or business.
When shoveling your sidewalk, dress in warm layers and cover exposed skin. Bend your knees to lift snow, and use your legs, shoulders and torso — not back — to avoid injury. Push the snow instead of lifting it, and lift lighter loads at a time. Remember to rest when needed and hydrate. Avoid overexertion by taking breaks.
When it snows, county and contract forces concentrate on keeping primary county roads and major residential neighborhood streets passable. Plowing generally begins when snow becomes 1 to 3 inches deep and temperatures indicate snow will not melt. Even after plowing, snow that is hard packed by traffic often remains on the street, and the plows are unable to remove it completely. In this type of situation, a mixture of sand and salt is spread to provide adequate traction.
It takes a minimum of 12 hours following the end of a 3- to 4-inch snowfall to plow and/or treat every primary county road once. After a 5- to 7-inch snowfall, you can expect primary and major residential county roads to be plowed within 18 to 24 hours. After an 8- to 10inch snowfall, you can expect primary and major residential county roads to be plowed within 24 to 36 hours. Up to 15-inch snowfall requires about 36 to 48 hours, and 24 inches requires 48 to 60 hours.
Keep in mind the type of snow (wet or powder), temperatures and wind conditions following a storm can alter this schedule. In some cases where snow is drifting and blowing, snow plows will concentrate on snow emergency routes and primary roads. This may decrease response time to residential or neighborhood roads.
For more information about county snow removal, go to www. CharlesCountyMD.gov/pw/roads/snow-removal or call 1-888-460SNOW (7669). Remember county roads have street names and state roads are numbered. Call 1-800-543-2515 for state snow removal. For more winter weather safety tips, go to www.Ready.gov.
Severe weather notices are posted online at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov, www.facebook.com/CharlesCounty and www.twitter. com/CharlesCoMD. Weather updates are also aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10. Sign up for the Citizen Notification System at www.CharlesCountyCNS.com to receive inclement weather and traffic alerts by text message, email or phone. For information on power outages, view the SMECO outage map at stormcenter.smeco.coop. Call 1-877747-6326 to report a power outage. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.