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MCPS Closed, Freezing Rain Could Mean Difficult Commute

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 2/5/2014, 7:00am  ET

Overnight freezing rain for much of the county was enough for MCPS to close schools on Wednesday:

Montgomery County Public Schools are closed today due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings also are canceled. All administrative offices will open two hours late. Day care programs in school buildings may choose to open, but parents should check with their day care provider.

The freezing rain is expected to turn to rain later Wednesday morning. From the National Weather Service:

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EST THIS MORNING…

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS…AROUND ONE-QUARTER INCH OF ICE FROM FREEZING RAIN.

* TIMING…FREEZING RAIN WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE MIDDLE MORNING HOURS BEFORE CHANGING TO PLAIN RAIN BY THE LATE MORNING.

* TEMPERATURES…AROUND 30 DEGREES THROUGH THE EARLY MORNING HOURS…SLOWLY RISING ABOVE FREEZING THROUGH THE MID MORNING.

* WINDS…NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL WILL BE DANGEROUS THROUGH THE MORNING COMMUTE.

Montgomery County government will be open as usual Wednesday. The federal government will be open with the option of unscheduled leave or telework.

Icy tree branches are contributing to power outages around the area, including in Montgomery County. There are no reported outages in Bethesda or Chevy Chase at 7 a.m., according to the Pepco outage map.

The State Highway Administration is warning commuters to take it slow Wednesday morning:

SHA reminds travelers to exercise caution and plan for extra travel time this morning.  Highway crews patrolled and salted State roads overnight in various parts of the State, including plowing roads in western Maryland.  Drivers are reminded that travel conditions will vary based on location as temperatures hover near or below freezing. More than 1,800 trucks hit the roads overnight and will continue salting through the morning rush hour.

“SHA reminds all travelers to drive at the appropriate speed for the weather conditions, especially when approaching ramps, bridges and overpasses,” stated SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters.  “Remaining alert for changing conditions will be key during the morning commute.”

Be sure to keep these additional driving tips in mind:

- During snow and ice storms, there may be power outages that disable traffic signals.  If drivers encounter a traffic signal without power, State law requires ALL traffic to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

-  Remain alert for downed tree limbs and branches due to ice.

- Use caution when merging at ramps and intersections, especially in areas with a history of flooding; do not drive through standing water.

-  If your vehicle does become disabled, make every effort to move it safely from the travel lane and onto the shoulder.