SHA warns motorists of possible heavy rain, flooded roads and high winds.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for much of the State this afternoon and evening. Storms moving in from the west may be capable of producing one to two inches of rain per hour. The ground is saturated from recent winter weather, which may produce localized flooding on roadways. High wind gusts could bring trees and power lines down onto the pavement. The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is alerting motorists to be extra vigilant for potentially heavy rainfall this afternoon and evening and curtail travel if conditions worsen. The afternoon rush hour may be extremely slow and congested. Truckers are urged to pay close attention to the possibility of gusty crosswinds on bridges and plan accordingly.
"The combination of flooding rain and high winds could create a potentially treacherous drive home this afternoon," said Melinda B. Peters, SHA Administrator. "Motorists should not attempt to drive through high or standing water on roadways or try to maneuver around downed wires--- play it safe and turn around."
SHA maintenance forces are clearing storm water ditches, preparing high-water signs and getting tree removal equipment in order. As the storm approaches, SHA will re-direct crews from normal road maintenance activities to storm response.
Remember, if a traffic signal is flashing to completely out due to a power interruption, motorists on ALL segments of an intersection must stop and treat the crossing as a four-way stop. This is Maryland State law.
Motorists are advised to heed the following tips for driving in severe weather:
"Turn Around, Don’t Drown." Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall;
Avoid low-laying areas with a history of flooding;
Never maneuver around low hanging trees or wires or try to move branches or downed wires out of the travel lanes; and
Increase following distances between vehicles. Remember to use low-beam headlights when windshield wipers are in operation.
The flash flood watch is in effect from 3 p.m. this afternoon through late tonight, for Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Carroll and Anne Arundel Counties in Maryland, and Loudoun County, Virginia, and Berkeley and Jefferson County, West Virginia.
Motorists have a number of options available to check on roadway conditions. Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information! Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit: www.md511.org .