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Winter Outlook

2017-2018 Winter Outlook:

The winter season runs from December 21, 2017 through March 20, 2018. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, La Niña is expected to occur during the 2017-2018 winter season. La Niña is the name given to the phenomena when the sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean are colder than normal. La Niña causes conditions in the Mid-Atlantic region to be drier and warmer than average.
 

 

  • Where should I go to find out what is happening locally?
    When winter weather is in the forecast, it is important for citizens and business owners to monitor the situation and be proactive to protect themselves, their family, and their property. Local officials have a variety of ways to get information to the public. You can obtain reliable emergency information from television stations (for example, WBAL, WMAR, WJZ, WBFF, Anne Arundel County’s Community TV station), radio stations (for example, WNAV 1430 AM, WYRE 810 AM, WYPR 88.1 FM, El Zol 99.1 FM, WFSI 107.9 FM, WBAL 1090 AM), the National Weather Service, and the Office of Emergency Management.
      
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  • What is the difference between a Warning, Watch, and Advisory?
    • A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur, it only means that it is possible. Significant and hazardous winter weather is defined as a combination of:
      • 5 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period
      • AND/OR Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines
      • AND/OR A life threatening or damaging combination of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind
    • A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent. Significant and hazardous winter weather is defined as a combination of:
      • 5 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR
      • Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines AND/OR
      • A life threatening or damaging combination of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind
    • A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued for any amount of freezing rain, or when 2 to 4 inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain), is expected to cause a significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning. If the event is expected to impact the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan areas during rush hours (4-9 am or 2-7 pm on weekdays) forecasted snow totals of one inch will necessitate the issuance of a winter weather advisory.

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  • Common Winter Storm Terminology
    • Black Ice: A thin coating of ice found on roads and sidewalks that is difficult to see
       
    • Nor’easter: A nor’easter is a large storm system that generally forms within 100 miles of the East Coast, between Georgia and New Jersey. These storms can occur at any time of the year and can bring heavy precipitation, winds exceeding hurricane force, and can have the potential to flood portions of the coastline. The name Nor’easter is associated with the northeast winds that are a primary characteristic of these storms
       
    • Sleet: A mixture of snow and rain
       
    • Flurries: Very light snowfall
       
    • Frost: A thin layer of ice crystals that form on a frozen surface, such as grass or a car
       
    • Blizzard: A blizzard means that considerable falling and/or blowing snow and sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater will last for three or more hours
       
    • Passable: The roadway condition when one travel lane is accessible by front-wheel drive cars
       
    • Bare Pavement: The roadway condition when the snow has been plowed and the pavement is exposed
       
    • Frostbite: An injury that is caused by the freezing of skin and underlying tissues. Skin may become very cold and red, then numb and pale
       
    • Hypothermia: A state in which the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees; severe hypothermia can occur when the body’s core temperature drops below 82 degrees. Hypothermia can be accompanied by stiffness, excessive shivering, confusion, slurred speech, numbness, or weak pulse
       
    • Wind Chill: Wind chill is a measure of what the outside temperature actually feels like to humans and animals. Wind chill is calculated off both the actual temperature and wind speed by the National Weather Service
       
    • El Niño: The term El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. Typical El Niño effects are likely to develop over North America during the upcoming winter season
       
    • La Niña: La Niña episodes represent periods of below-average sea surface temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific. During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest
  • Power Outage Information

    Power outages can occur frequently when extreme weather is impacting Anne Arundel County. Every household in Anne Arundel County should be prepared to survive up to three days without power. This can be done by:

    • Ensuring your household has one gallon of water per person, per day, for three days. Make sure to include enough water for pets

    • A supply of flashlights and extra batteries will become essential when power is down. Fire officials strongly discourage the use of candles during power outages due to the heightened risk of fires

    • Portable generators are helpful, but can be dangerous if not used correctly. Always place generators at least 15 feet outside of doors and windows to allow carbon monoxide gases to vent properly

    • Do not use propane or gas heaters indoors as both are a fire and asphyxiation hazard

    • Turn refrigerator and freezer to maximum cold settings if you expect an extended outage. Keep doors closed as much as possible:

      • Food in a full refrigerator will keep for up to four hours

      • Food in a full freezer will keep for up to two days

    • Families who have power-dependent health needs should have an emergency plan at all times

    The Maryland Emergency Management Agency provides power outage reports throughout Maryland that are updated every 15-30 minutes via utility websites.

    To contact BGE, which provides power to most of Central Maryland, visit www.bge.com, or call to report outages at 877-778-2222. If you see sparking power lines, immediately call 9-1-1. For other downed lines call 800-685-0123 or 410-685-0123 (TTY: 800-735-2258).

    For additional power outage safety information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
     

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    Winter Prep