The area could get up to five-inches or more of snow.
With five inches or more of snow in the forecast, Frederick County highway crews are getting ready. Superintendent of Highway Operations, Bill Routzahn, says his drivers have enough supplies of salt, anti-skid and other materials for whatever mother nature sends out way. "We still have a pretty decent stock of material. We restocked twice this winter, and we may need to restock before the end of the season. But right now, we're in pretty good shape for material," he says.
The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Watch will begin on Tuesday evening, and continue through Wednesday evening for much of the region. The precipitation is expected to start out as rain, then mix with snow, and change to all snow. If that's the case, Routzahn says his crews probably won't pre-treat the roads. "If it rains before the snow comes, it's really no use to pre-treat, let the material get washed off the road," he says.
With the possibility of a significant accumulation of snow, the Frederick County School System may need to close school for the day. Spokesman Michael Doerrer says there is a process the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Terry Alban, uses to decide whether classes should be canceled due to inclement weather. "During the night when there is a weather event, we have employees out in the very early morning hours, 3:00 or 4:00 AM, accessing the conditions all over the county," he says. "Our number-one priority, our number-criteria, is are the roads safe. Is it safe for our students to get to school?"
Doerrer also says Dr. Alban is in close touch with state and county highway officials. She uses all the information she receives to decide if the schools should be closed for the day. Doerrer says Dr. Alban tries to have a decision by 5:00 AM.
But there are times when a decision can be made the night before. "If it's a big event, and we know, it's very clear what the decision would be, it could be made earlier," he says. "The last few weather events we've had, they've been very tricky to predict, very tricky to keep track of."
Doerrer says so far, Frederick County has only used two of its five snow days built into the academic calendar. They were used in October when Hurricane Sandy came through the area. If the school system uses up all of its built-in snow days, he says March 28th, June 19th, 20th and 21st will be used as makeup days.
Any school closings will be posted on the school system website, Facebook page, Twitter, Find Out First, as well as broadcasxt by the local media, such as WFMD and WFRE radio.
If you are out on the roads during a snow store, Routzahn urges you not to pass a snow plow, or follow too closely. "They are going to be putting material down, so stay back so the material doesn't bounce up to your windshield,' he says. "Stay back and let the trucks do their job."
He also says be careful at intersections. "We have back up several times to clean up the intersection, and if you're right behind them, they may not see you," says Routzahn.