Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Go Montgomery



Sign Up for Alert Montgomery
Automatically receive email, text and pager alerts about emergencies, weather conditions, program and school closures, traffic and more by signing up for Alert Montgomery. The service is free, but text charges may apply, so check with your cell phone carrier before selecting text alerts. The latest information is also available on the County’s website.
Snow Plow Map
Check the status of snow plows in your neighborhood, report a missed street or report a damaged mailbox online. Or, call 311.
Ride On S (Storm) Service Plan
When severe weather or emergencies are expected to disrupt Ride On bus service, Ride On may announce it will be operating under its “S” or Storm Service Plan during weekdays only. Ride On will operate some buses on nearly every route and try to provide trips that are evenly spaced. However, customers should expect delays and detours. The S Plan schedule and more information are available online in English and Spanish.
Who Clears the Snow?
County snow fighters begin their job as soon as snow is predicted. They pre-treat major roads with salt brine, a solution of salt and water, before the snow even begins to fall. Salt brine prevents ice and frost from forming on pavement and makes snow removal easier. The use of salt brine also reduces the amount of salt needed to treat pavement following a snowfall.
During the snowfall, about 1,000 lane miles of main roads are kept in “bare pavement” condition. This ensures that, in case of an emergency, every County resident is within one-half mile of a cleared road. As snow accumulations reach three inches, plowing operations begin and all attention remains focused on main roads.
Once the snow stops falling and major roads are clear, crews turn their attention to removing snow from more than 4,300 miles of neighborhood streets. Their goal is to make these streets passable – not clear them to bare pavement.
All State-maintained, numbered roads in the County are cleared by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Other departments, outside agencies and governmental jurisdictions also have responsibility for plowing. They include Transit Services, which clears the busiest bus shelters and stops; Montgomery County Public Schools; The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission; the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro); municipalities and homeowner’s associations. Commercial parking lot owners plow their own properties and are prohibited from moving snow into the street. 

Be Prepared
During winter storm season, be prepared and take the following safety precautions.
Before a Storm
  • Ensure that you have enough food, water, medication (if needed) and batteries to last two to three days.
  • Check portable radio, smoke detectors and flashlights to ensure they are working and that the batteries are fresh. Fully charge your cell phone.
  • Check heating equipment. If you use propane or fuel oil, make sure that levels are near full.
  • Have a snow shovel ready.
  • Run necessary errands. Don't wait until the storm strikes.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is properly winterized and that snow tires and/or chains are ready. Also, keep a blanket, snow shovel, sand or kitty litter and flares in the vehicle. Fill the gas tank.
  • Park cars off-road, especially on narrow streets, to help snow plow operators safely clear streets from curb-to-curb. Where off-road parking is not available, work with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street.
  • Don't park on snow emergency routes during a declared snow emergency or your car may be towed. Major roads must be kept clear for emergency vehicles. Snow emergency routes are designated by red and white signs.
  • Check with neighbors who may require special assistance to see if they need help in stocking up on supplies or medications, and call them during the storm.

During a Storm
  • Stay indoors. Only travel when absolutely necessary. Give snow plows a chance to clear the roads. If travel conditions become difficult, seek refuge and remain there until the storm has passed.
  • If you must go out, leave your car at home and take transit.
  • When going outside, ensure that you have proper clothing to protect you from the elements. A heavy coat, gloves, boots and a hat are a must.
  • If driving during the storm is unavoidable, put together a supply kit for the car that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, flares, blankets or sleeping bags, dry clothing, snacks and water, a small shovel, jumper cables, first aid kit and necessary medications.
  • Use extra caution on the road by leaving at least 10 feet between you and other vehicles.
  • Residents concerned about the safety and well-being of children, elderly individuals or adults with disabilities should call the County’s Crisis Center at 240-777-4000.
After a Storm
  • Remove snow and ice from doors, decks and gutters. If heavy snow accumulates on roofs do not attempt to use a ladder or climb onto the roof to remove it. Call a contractor instead.
  • Watch for downed power lines. If lines are down, do not touch wires or anything that the wires are touching. Contact your local utility. If wires are sparking, call 911.
  • Try to give snow plow operators a chance to remove snow or ice off highways and residential streets before venturing out.
  • If snow has covered fire hydrants, help to remove it so firefighters can easily locate them in the event of an emergency.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
  • Walk safely by obeying all traffic signs and signals.
  • Be aware that cars may not be able to stop as quickly on snow and ice. Do NOT walk in the roadway and watch for icy and slick spots.
  • Do not assume vehicles can see you. Wear reflective clothing.
  • Wear shoes or boots with non-slip soles. 
  • Stay alert for pedestrians walking in the roadways, especially when visibility is low.
  • Drive slowly! Stopping distances increase in poor weather conditions.
  • Be especially alert for pedestrians at intersections where snow mounds may limit sight lines.

Who Clears Sidewalks of Snow?
Property owners are required by law to clear sidewalks in front of, and alongside, their properties within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. Help keep our communities and neighbors safe by doing your part. If your neighbor is elderly or disabled, you can assist them by clearing their sidewalks and checking on them during storms.
Residents who wish to report an unshoveled sidewalk can call 311 (240-777-0311 outside County). Reports must include an exact address.
Snow Shoveling Tips
  • Dress appropriately for winter weather. Ears, hands and feet need extra protection in frigid temperatures.
  • Shovel as the snow falls, if you can. That way, there is less to remove. It’s also easier to remove fresh snow that has not hardened or turned to ice.
  • Put less pressure on your back. Lift with legs bent to avoid injury and try pushing the snow instead of lifting it.
  • Pace yourself and take it slow. Shoveling can raise blood pressure and heart rate dramatically.
  • Don't work to the point of exhaustion. Take it easy and take breaks. If you run out of breath or feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.


January 23, 2015

Who to Call

Call 311 for information about the status of County programs and services, to report unshoveled sidewalks, snow plow questions or other assistance or get information online.

First Energy/Potomac Edison: 1-888-544-4877
PEPCO: 1-877-737-2662

Downed Wires and Trees
“Hot” or sparking wires: 911
Downed trees: 311
Police Emergency: 911
Police Non-Emergency:
Montgomery County Public Schools: 301-309-6277; Spanish Hotline:

County Services
Call 311
Library Branch Opening and Closing Status: 240-777-6500
Recycling and Trash Collections - For updated information about the collection schedule during snow storms, sign up for email and/or text updates, follow DSWS on Facebook and Twitter
State Roads
(any numbered road in the County):
Statewide Operations Center toll free at 1-800-543-2515 or 410-582-5650

When It Snows Brochure

When It Snows A handy guide that explains the County’s snow removal action plan and lists useful snowstorm contacts.
Cold Weather is Here – Are You Fire Safe? The County's Fire and Rescue Service offers tips to keep you safe during winter storms.
Winter Storm Preparedness: What to do before, during and after a winter storm.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. This service is provided to you at no charge by Department of Transportation of Montgomery County MD.  Visit Go Montgomery to view more news.