polo hats at macy s Blizzards called ‘historical’
John Chew has had a lot of experience with snowstorms over the years, but the two blizzards inside of one week in Queen Anne’s County are right up there with anything he’s seen on the East Coast.
“Historical,” said Chew, the director of the Queen Anne’s County Emergency Operations Center. “Historical in terms of timing and historical in terms of amounts.”
At the Maryland State Police Barrack in Centreville, Lt. Dwayne Boardman said the blizzard of Wednesday, Feb. 10, was “even tougher” than the first one for both motorists and troopers who had to be on the road.
“The whiteouts were much worse,” he said. Even so, there were few incidents during and after the storm, he explained.
“It was tough on equipment but we did OK,” said Todd Mohn, director of the Queen Anne’s County Department of Public Works. All things considered, he said, efforts to clear county roads went “better than expected.”
By the time the snow stopped falling late Wednesday, a fresh 12.5 inches had fallen in Stevensville on top of what was already on the ground, and a fresh 16.5 inches fell in Millington, which straddles the line with Kent County. They were the only Queen Anne’s County communities for which the National Weather Service had unofficial readings.
The heavy snow also led to the closing of Prime Outlets at Queenstown on Wednesday. Most of the mall reopened on Sunday, Feb. 14, but some stores remained closed as of Tuesday, said a brief statement from the company.
“Due to the recent heavy snow, buildings at Prime Outlets Queenstown experienced roof damage. We are continuing to work with a team of engineering professionals and expect a report later this week,” said a company statement issued Tuesday afternoon. The company said two buildings remained closed, stating that its “first priority is the safety of our shoppers and employees.”
The stores closed as of Tuesday were Chesapeake Gourmet, Paper Factory, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Timberland, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Gymboree, Nine West, Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and Yankee Candle.
The cleanup from the blizzard of Saturday, Feb. 6, was still underway when Mother Nature came roaring in with number two. The snow was very heavy around the county on Wednesday and things were made worse by the high winds.
“The problem was that there was an icy bottom and then the light, fluffy snow on top of it, and then the blowing snow,” said Boardman. Thursday. Chew said Queen Anne’s was one of only four counties in Maryland to impose such restrictions.
“It really helped us,” he said. “People really listened.” Boardman agreed, saying there was little traffic because local residents took the warnings seriously. Two National Guard Humvees were attached to the Centreville barrack to aid troopers and the Department of Emergency Services had several at its disposal as well.
The biggest problem emergency vehicles had, Chew said, was getting to the scene of an incident because some side roads and farm lanes were still buried in snow. Even so, he said, there were no major incidents.
Chew said there were some occasional communications glitches, but they were quickly fixed.
Mohn said that when a plow or piece of equipment had a breakdown it was brought into the shop for quick repairs. “The guys in the shop did a great job,” he said.
The Emergency Operations Center near Centreville was essentially open from Friday, Feb. 5, through the morning of Friday, Feb. 12, except for a brief shutdown Thursday night for “some R and R,” Chew said.
As he did following the Feb. 6 storm, Chew praised the cooperation between the various agencies such as the county Department of Public Works, county Department of Parks and Recreation, State Highway Administration, the National Guard, and the county’s volunteer fire departments.
“I’m really struck by the continued amount of over the top cooperation. It’s been incredible,” he said. “Everyone pulled together.” Boardman agreed, saying that all agencies worked together very well.
While the storm’s impact on local budgets is still being evaluated, Chew said he is hopeful of reimbursement for much of the cost. That’s because both the county and the state declared states of emergency and the state sent a request to the president for assistance.
“This should demonstrate the significance of the situation,” he said, adding that if the president signs the request the county stands to get back 80 cents on every dollar from the federal government.
At the State Highway Administration, spokesman Kellie Boulware said crews plowed state roads on the Eastern Shore and helped with such problems as downed trees and worked with Maryland State Police to remove disabled vehicles.
Given that SHA crews and private contractors working for the agency also had their hands full cleaning up from the previous Saturday’s storm as well, they held up well, she said.
“This is really the sixth day of a long winter storm event,” Boulware said at the height of the storm Wednesday. Most crews were assigned specific loop routes to plow and it can take them a long time to do so. Crews rotated so that they could get some rest before hitting the road again.
“It’s really been ‘all hands on deck’ at SHA,” she explained at the time.
Boulware said SHA was able to replenish its salt supplies in the days leading up to the Wednesday storm and had sufficient supplies on hand.
Mohn said late Wednesday morning that it was “really, really bad out there.” He said county roads crews plowed until about noon and were then told to stop and get their equipment to safe locations until conditions improved.
“They can’t see because of the blowing snow maybe only a hundred feet or so,” Mohn said at the time, adding that there was a lot of drifting. “We want to let them rest and we don’t want them to get stuck.”