First, I would like to compliment everyone for heeding our warnings last Wednesday and Thursday and preparing themselves for one of the largest snowstorms we've ever had.
Message from Mayor Randy McClement to Citizens
Frederick, MD – January 25, 2016: First, I would like to compliment everyone for heeding our warnings last Wednesday and Thursday and preparing themselves for one of the largest snowstorms we've ever had. I also want to thank everyone for their continued cooperation as we work through this storm in an attempt to open up roadways within the city.
We received about 35 inches of snow during this storm. The storm started Friday afternoon and snow continued till late Saturday evening. During that time, conditions for our snowplow crews were mostly treacherous. I'm proud to say that our crews continued operations non-stop throughout the storm and will continue to work non-stop on rotating 12-hour shifts until all roads are opened.
This storm was so severe that Governor Hogan had to close major thoroughfares I-70 and I-270 for a period of time on Saturday night.
During the snowstorm we received a large number of assistance calls from Frederick County Fire and Rescue as well as our own City Police Department to access emergency calls. To handle these calls, we pull plow trucks off of their duties to assist with getting these emergency responders to their calls. We also maneuvered plow trucks to residents that were actually emergency responders who found they could not get out of their house to get to their jobs, so we ended up deploying quite a few plows to help emergency responders.
Please also note that we do not have a dedicated staff of people who just push snow. The people responsible for pushing snow are pulled from other departments such as Sanitation, Water and Sewer, Street Maintenance, Light and Signal and others. As emergencies come up with these departments we also have to pull those staff off to handle those emergencies. While we had very few power outages as a result of this storm, we did experience a number of water line breaks which required us to pull Water and Sewer teams from snowplows, which further delays out goal of getting to all roads within the city.
Here is an update as of 7:00 AM Monday morning:
During a snowstorm the state mandates that we maintain access as much as possible, on all snow emergency routes. Our crews did an excellent job of this even fighting blowing and falling snow. As the snow and winds let up we attempted to move some of our snow crews onto the collector and secondary streets, but because of the large amounts of snow, we had to move most crews back onto the Snow Emergency Routes.
Late Saturday afternoon we started concentrating on collector streets and secondary streets. The goal was to at least open a single lane or possibly a lane and a half on these streets to allow the greatest amount of ingress and egress. This became a challenge due to the sheer amount of snow that had fallen. As of today we are still trying to get through to some of those secondary streets and subdivisions. At the same time we are required to open up the snow emergency routes from curb to curb wherever possible. Because we no longer have places to push the snow and with the temperatures well below freezing each night, the snow that has piled up from our original push and is now becoming frozen. This required us to shift from a pushing operation to a removal operation.
So you can see that we have many directions that we are required to go and this particular storm made operations extremely challenging.
Some of you who live in subdivisions may not have seen a plow yet, please understand that we are doing our best to get to all areas of the City, and please continue to be patient. If your home has access via Alley, please understand that these are the last to be cleared. Our goal is to move the greatest number of people safely through the City.
I know this is a very frustrating situation for everyone, but please be assured that city snow crews are working as fast and as hard as they can. This was an historic snow event and it has been very taxing on all of our equipment and staff.
We are asking for your continued patience and understanding as we continue snow plow operations. The snow emergency plan will remain in effect until further notice. This means there is no parking along any snow emergency route. I have also opened all city garages for free parking until 6:00 AM Tuesday morning. I will evaluate this sometime Monday afternoon to see if we need to continue that for another day. Please remember, even when the garages are no longer free, this may be the best option for keeping your vehicles safe, and the maximum cost per day for City parking garages is only $13.00.
We are asking residents to continue to stay off the roads as much as possible. We are also asking that citizens not attempt to walk on the streets, I realize that many sidewalks are not clear, but walking on the roadways is extremely dangerous, as our plow trucks are very large and have a hard time seeing people in the street. We have added a link to report plowing issues on the City's website.
Again, we ask for your patience, cooperation and understanding as we move forward with our plowing operations.