News Flash

2020 Press Releases

Posted on: December 15, 2020

Montgomery County Prepares for Winter Storm

SnowPlows

NORRISTOWN, PA – Montgomery County Officials announced today they are ready for the forecasted December 16 winter storm. 

“I strongly encourage all Montgomery County residents to stay home during the winter storm and avoid travel unless absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Our Roads and Bridges workers are ready to treat County roads and help keep them passable for emergency responders, healthcare staff, and other critical workers. Our crews are prepared to work around the clock throughout the duration of the storm.”

Montgomery County Roads and Bridges maintains over 75 miles of County-administered roadway and 131 bridges, which translates to approximately 150 snow lane miles. Snow-lane mileage is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes; which means a one-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles. Equipment and personnel used during the winter include: 

  • 14 County on-the-road workers are available to drive snowplows and other equipment; 
  • Eight subcontracted on-the road workers; 
  • 11 trucks fitted with plows and salt spreaders;  
  • Two large dump trucks with large plows; 
  • Three huge front-end loaders to keep the trucks full of salt and replace salt at storage facilities. 

The County maintains and or stockpiles salt at several facilities. Over the last five winters, Montgomery County used an average of 2,000 tons of salt per year on County roads. Some County roads are maintained by local Townships, who work cooperatively with the County. 

Montgomery County asks that drivers prepare for the incoming storm by using caution while driving and avoiding travel during severe winter weather conditions. Roadways will not be free of snow while precipitation is falling. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning. Motorists should leave plenty of space – six car lengths – when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials.

Additionally, motorists who are traveling during times of snow or sleet should remember the following safety advice:

  • Leave early to ensure you have extra time to make the trip;
  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions;
  • Turn on your headlights and stay in your lane;
  • Increase your following distance;
  • Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required;
  • Use defroster and windshield wipers, keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice; 
  • Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly;
  • Give ample room for plow truck drivers to treat the roadways and never pass between two trucks operating in a plow line;  
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

Residents are asked to observe the following precautions during winter storm conditions related to power outages or other storm-related incidents:

  • The heavy, wet snow expected with this storm may cause widespread power outages, the impact of which will be enhanced by a significant drop in temperatures later this week.
  • If you lose power, do not call 9-1-1. The County’s Emergency Communications Center will already be extremely busy with storm-related incidents. Call your local utility provider to report the outage.
  • PECO: 1-800-841-4141
  • PPL: 1-800-342-5775
  • Met-Ed: 1-888-544-4877
  • Always assume that all power lines are live, even if you lose power in your home or business. Never go near or touch a fallen power line.
  • Never use a gas stove to heat your home. If you use candles for light, exercise extreme caution and never place them near combustible materials such as curtains or furniture. Battery powered candles or flashlights are much safer, especially if you have children or pets.
  • If your power is out, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed, which should keep food cold for about four hours. Be sure to dispose of any perishables (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leftovers, etc.) that have been above 40° F for two hours or more.
  • If you have a portable generator, never use it inside your home or even in a partially enclosed area. Generators, as well as gas and charcoal grills, produce Carbon Monoxide, which is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you. Keep the generator far away from doors, windows, and air intakes.
  • Never overload the generator or attempt to power your house by plugging it into a wall outlet. Both practices can cause electric shock or fire.

Montgomery County residents are encouraged to sign up for ReadyMontco text, call and email alerts to get the latest storm updates. ReadyMontco is the County’s official source for notifications about emergencies, severe weather, crime alerts and disasters in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. ReadyMontco is administered by the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety and is free of charge (text messaging and voice rates may apply). Once subscribed, residents receive time-sensitive messages wherever specified, such as their home, mobile or business phones, email address, and text messages.

Media Contact: Kelly Cofrancisco, kcofrancisco@montcopa.org 

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