Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ February 2019

Weathering the Storm

By Sharon Canavan

Although there hasn’t been much in the way of snow this winter, weather here can be balmy one day and frigid the next.  The snowiest months tend to be January and February.  Major blizzards with one-day snow accumulation of 10 or more inches occur about twice per decade.  In this area, historically, almost half of the snow records — top 25 snowstorms and top 15 snowiest months — have been racked up in the month of February.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is responsible for clearing 5,000 lane miles.  MCDOT relies on its 250 employees and 175 pieces of equipment to do the job, but, for larger storms, hires additional contractors and trucks.  Depending on the size of the storm, MCDOT takes different approaches to managing the snow removal process.

2016’s ‘Snowzilla’ on Cavalier Drive

When a storm is on the way, the County’s first-stage response is to pretreat the roads with salt brine, a solution of salt and water.  If there is less than three inches of snow, the second stage involves spreading salt on emergency routes, main roads, and bus routes.  For heavier snowfalls, MCDOT will implement a third stage by continuing to spread salt and beginning to plow emergency routes, main roads, and bus routes.  The focus on these main transportation routes is intended to ensure that every home is within no more than half a mile of a passable thoroughfare.  In addition, snow plows are stationed at fire battalions to assist with emergency response.  At stage four, county crews widen the passageway on main roads and begin plowing in neighborhoods.  At stage five, the final clearing process is completed.

You can identify who plows your street or determine the snow removal status of a County-maintained street during a storm event by visiting the Winter Storm Information Portal website, which can be found at snow.  All you have to do is enter your address.  You can also check the status of snow removal in your area or file a service request on that portal.  For households without internet or if power is out, you can also file a service request by calling 311 to talk to the Montgomery County call center.

[Canavan is president of the NFCCA and lives on Edgewood Avenue.]    ■

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