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Stay Off Roads As Storm Conditions Continue, City Officials Say

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The National Weather Service expects an additional 2-4 inches of snow to coat the Baltimore region in the next few days. Around an inch is expected to fall Monday afternoon, meaning a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain may exacerbate poor road conditions. 

“Expect icy conditions on the roadways throughout the city, and only drive if you absolutely must,” Mayor Brandon Scott said during a Monday morning news conference. “We are hoping for the best, but the city has taken the necessary steps to prepare for whatever Mother Nature brings our way.”


The Baltimore City snow team has been activated since 4:00 a.m. Sunday, when workers began pretreating roads. The crews worked through Sunday night into the early hours of Monday to prepare roads for morning commutes. 


City administrator Christopher Shorter said the city has deployed about 300 crews and 300 pieces of equipment. Their shifts last 12 hours. 


“We've been successful so far, but that does not mean we can't stay vigilant,” Department of Transportation head Steve Sharkey said. 


Just one-tenth of an inch can cause dangerous road conditions, he said, calling on residents to stay in their homes and off the roads until the storm is over. Sharkey said inspection teams will monitor the city’s portions of the Jones Falls Expressway (Interstate 83) and MD-295 (the Baltimore Washington Parkway). 


The city has transformed three hotels and two recreation centers into winter shelter sites for those experiencing homelessness. Those who enter the sites will receive temperature checks and screening for COVID-19 symptoms. To counter potential spread, they’ll receive PPE and practice social distancing. Residents can call 211 to learn more.


Vaccinations have continued, but Baltimore’s free COVID-19 testing site at the Convention Center closed Monday. Mayor Brandon Scott said he does not anticipate a backlog of tests and that he may close site again Tuesday, depending on weather conditions.  


Scott also urged residents to help their neighbors.


“I encourage you to be a kind neighbor and ensure that the sidewalks outside of your home are shoveled and salted,” he said. “If you live next to an older adult or someone that needs help, please assist them.”


City residents can visit snow.baltimorecity.gov for the latest updates.


Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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