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For Immediate Release: Sunday, January 16, 2022

Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Montgomery County for today, beginning at 1 p.m. through Monday, Jan. 17 at 1 a.m. The forecast calls for between one to three inches of snow followed by a wintery mix of sleet and freezing rain. Ice accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch are possible and wind gusts may be as high as 45 mph.

County roads were pretreated on Friday with salt brine to reduce the need for traditional salt applications. For most applications, brine acts as a bond breaker preventing ice accumulation.

Beginning at noon today, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Highway Services storm operations crews will mobilize, and the Storm Operations Center will activate to respond to requests for service from emergency agencies. MCDOT’s priority will be to maintain access to public health facilities on major roadways.

“If you have to travel, please monitor the weather and be safe and smart when traveling,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “If you can avoid driving during the storm, please stay home. Our crews will be out on the roads. We want to give them plenty of room to operate. We appreciate, and are grateful for, the hard work and diligence of our snow-removal teams who performed admirably during our first significant snowfall this year despite the staffing shortages we are facing.”

Residential roads are not typically plowed until about three inches of snow accumulates and major roads are sufficiently clear. With the added challenge of a reduction in available snowplow drivers regionally, snow-clearing may take longer than normal.

“Due to a high number of COVID-19 cases and exposure rates, the shortage of snowplow operators and contractors is still prevalent,” said Richard Dorsey, MCDOT chief of Highway Services. “Our priority is to keep major roads clear to ensure access to public safety and health facilities. We will treat residential roads after these main roads are cleared. Residents may need to wait longer than typical for neighborhood streets to be treated and should visit the County’s Snow Portal for up-to-date snow-clearing information.”

MCDOT has seven regional depots that are responsible for clearing snow along 220 plow routes on more than 5,200 lane miles of County roads. The Maryland State Highway Administration clears all State roads in the County. State roads are designated by numbers.

“Our operators are on standby and will begin clearing and treating roadways as early and often as possible,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “It may take us a little longer, with the staff shortage, to reach all streets but we will get to all of them.”

Montgomery County’s Ride On bus service had announced a temporary reduction in service due to a growing number of bus operators sick or exposed to COVID-19. The schedule changes are expected to begin today as planned and are posted on MCDOT’s website. The new schedule will operate on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 17 in place of a holiday schedule.

Riders should expect that there may be some weather-related delays and should be on alert for any announcements about service changes in response to weather conditions.

More information about snow removal including who plows specific streets, snow-removal status and submitting service requests is available online here. For tips and best practices on snow- and ice-clearing visit,

For storm clearing effort updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter.

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Release ID: 22-039
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta 240-372-2282
Categories: Public Safety, Snow, Transportation