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1.10.12 Howard County Offers Options to Keep You Up-to-Date on Winter Weather Road Conditions

January 10, 2012

Media Contact:
Kevin Enright, Director, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

Howard County Offers Options to Keep You Up-to-Date on Winter Weather Road Conditions

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – With winter weather upon us, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman wants to remind residents that the County now has a variety of ways to provide them with the information they need, when and where they need it.

“While the public has been able to track the progress of the County’s snow removal vehicles for some time now by clicking on the ‘snowflake’ icon on the County’s homepage, the addition of social media and the new NotifyMeHoward alert system have just made getting the word out so much easier,” said County Executive Ulman. “Whether you live, work or need to travel through Howard County, we have up-to-date tools to keep you informed.”

NotifyMeHoward sends subscribers critical information about potentially dangerous weather and road conditions. The service is free and subscribers can select to receive alerts and decide how and where they want to receive them – via e-mail or by text to mobile devices. To sign up for NotifyMeHoward, visit www.notifymehoward.org and click “Sign Me Up” near the bottom of the page or sign up through rapid enrollment by texting HOWARD to 411911.

The public can also visit Howard County Government through Facebook. When snow or icy roads become a problem, Facebook “followers” get updates and are linked to the snow plow tracker and a fact sheet with commonly asked questions related to snow removal and trash/recycling pickup during and following storms. Check us out at www.facebook.com/hocogov.

The County’s information hotline – 410-313-2900 – is updated regularly during a snowstorm with road conditions and other critical emergency information. When conditions warrant, the voice recording reverts to a fully-staffed Call Center where customer service representatives assist residents with questions relevant to the incident.

The snow tracker “snowflake” is still available on the County’s website and can be found near the bottom of the County’s homepage at www.howardcountymd.gov directly under the County Executive’s message. The snowflake links directly to a “tracker map” which shows the current location of snow plow vehicles, indicates roads that have been treated, whether roads were plowed or salted, and the location of roads still to be treated.

The Bureau of Highways reminds drivers not to park on streets if they have driveways available, especially in cul-de-sacs. Cars parked in cul-de-sacs make it nearly impossible for highway crews to do their jobs safely and quickly and so that public safety vehicles can have access should there by an emergency. Residents may also want to delay shoveling the end of their driveway until the street has been completely cleared; otherwise, it is likely that a full blade of snow may slide off the plow and block an already-cleared driveway.

The Howard County snow plan covers more than 1,000 miles of a 3,800-road system which is divided into a series of routes. Primary and secondary roads receive the first service followed by local/residential roads. Even during smaller snow storms, the entire effort can take as long as 24 hours to complete.

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