20 Aug 2014
79° Mostly Cloudy
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Fire and Ice: Hazardous Weather Threats in Baltimore

Gusty winds increase wildfire threats Tuesday, while Friday could bring snow and sleet.

Fire and Ice: Hazardous Weather Threats in Baltimore Fire and Ice: Hazardous Weather Threats in Baltimore

Oddly enough, both fire and ice are weather threats this week in Baltimore. 

On Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service released a Special Weather Statement over much of Maryland and Virginia, including the Baltimore metro area. It warned that strong winds, between 15 and 25 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph, as well as 20 percent humidity, would result in "enhanced fire weather threat through sunset." The NWS urged people to avoid outdoor burning as it could spread wildfire. 

Temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach a high near 27 degrees and dip to around 14 after dark, the NWS reported.

Later this week on Friday, snow and sleet are highly likely, expected to begin before 1 p.m. Temperatures may hit 28 degrees during the day. Be sure to bundle up at night as more sleet and snow is predicted and the temperature could drop to 9 degrees, according to the NWS and a  Hazardous Weather Outlook report

Sorry, kids. It's expected to warm up and clear up by Monday morning—with a high near 39 degrees—so a snow day next week is unlikely. 

In case you're driving in Friday's storm, the Maryland State Highway Administration offers some tips

  • Be sure to buckle up and require your passengers to do the same.
  • When a snow emergency is declared, make every effort to avoid driving or allow extra time to get where you are going. Keep in mind that when roadways are icy or snow covered, you should never expect to drive as you would during clear weather or on dry road surfaces.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles are just as vulnerable to slipping on ice as regular two-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Should your car begin to skid, remember not to panic or slam on your brakes. Take your foot off the gas pedal and immediately steer in the direction of the skid.
  • Increase following distance between your vehicle and others on the road, especially snowplows. Packed snow and ice may create a smooth, glass-like surface beneath your tires making it difficult to control your vehicle.
  • Remember bridges and ramps freeze first and may be especially difficult to navigate.
  • “Don’t Crowd the Plow” – Never pass a snow plow or salt truck especially a plow train! Plow trains are groups of trucks which form a line across the lanes to clear snow. Operators may not see you or your car may get caught on a snow-covered plow edge. In addition, driving will be much easier if you stay at least 25 feet, or three car lengths, behind the snow emergency vehicle.
  • Do not abandon your vehicle. The safest place to wait for help is in your car. If your car breaks down, move your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible and lift the hood. Try to leave a distress signal, such as a scarf, hanging from the window. Please remember, when you abandon your vehicle, it may be subject to towing, ticketing and a fine.
  • Remember, when shoveling snow from your driveway, create a pile away from the roadway. A good rule is to shovel to the right when facing the street. However, keep in mind that the important thing is not to shovel the snow onto an area that will simply be plowed back onto the driveway when the state, county or city snowplows come through.

    Drivers should also keep emergency survival kits including the following, according to the SHA: 

    • a shovel
    • jumper cables
    • snacks
    • blanket or sleeping bag
    • flashlight with extra batteries
    • high calorie non-perishable food
    • first aid kit
    • extra clothes
    • bottled water
    • a charged cell phone
    • kitty litter or other abrasives

    For updates on major incidents, delays, estimated travel times and weather conditions, drivers may call the SHA's traffic hotline at 511 or visit  md511.org

    Check Patch for updates. 

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