The National Weather Service recently announced a new service designed to prevent the kind of rush hour traffic congestion the metropolitan region experienced in mid-January of last year when a light snow during the afternoon of January 20 created icy roads and an hours-long ride home for many commuters around the region.
This year, the Weather Service is committed to issuing a Winter Commuter Alert when weather conditions indicate there is a threat to drivers traveling during the morning or afternoon rush hours. The special notices will be issued within 12 – 36 hours in advance when the following conditions are expected to exist: road temperatures in the 20s; a 30 -50 percent chance of any snow or ice accumulation, and the conditions coming together during a morning or afternoon rush hour.
The Winter Commuter Alerts will explain that if the threat does materialize, roads could turn to ice and cause multiple traffic accidents and delays. The notices will urge commuters to be aware and plan ahead to allow for extra travel time and the use of public transportation or telework options. The Weather Service will send the alerts to COG’s public safety personnel and it will be widely available to residents through their local text alert systems and the media.
Winter weather resources:
National Weather Service – Baltimore/Washington Winter Weather Page
National Weather Service – Baltimore/Washington Twitter
Capitalert – Sign up for free emergency alerts from local governments
Ready.gov – U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Preparedness Campaign