What to Expect

County Emergency Priorities

When a winter storm occurs, snow emergency routes and primary roadways will be treated first, followed by secondary streets and finally, residential streets, including dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs. 

  • In a snow emergency, during Phase 1 of plowing operations, all streets are plowed to passable condition. This consists of two plowed lanes on primary roadways and one plowed lane on secondary and residential streets.
  •  In a snow emergency, Phase 2 of plowing operations goes into effect once all roadways are passable. This consists of plowing to provide bare pavement and wider travel lanes, as well as any additional treatment of salt or sand as required.

Take Action

Working together, County residents can play an important role in helping the Department of Public Works and Transportation provide more effective snow removal to all of our communities. The following actions will benefit all of us during snow emergencies:

  • Don't drive except when absolutely necessary.
  • Don't park on snow emergency routes.
  • Park only on even-numbered sides of residential streets or in driveways.
  • In big storms, understand that our Phase 1 plowing operation is intended to provide passable conditions only. This permits us to provide all communities with a passable way out as early as possible. If necessary, we then return during Phase 2 to clear most of the traveled way.
  • If possible shovel driveways after the road has been plowed to avoid having driveways blocked by snow plowing operations.
  • Wait for 48 hours after precipitation has stopped to call the Snow Information Center at 301-350-0500.
  1. 0-4 Inches
  2. 4-8 Inches
  3. 8-12 Inches
  4. 12-18 Inches
  5. Over 18 Inches
  6. Freezing Rain or Ice

Winter Weather Advisory

Slippery roads!

Major Roads

  • Less than 2 inches: salting completed within 4 hours after end of storm
  • Over 2 inches: continuous plowing and salting. Plowing to bare pavement completed up to 12 hours after end of storm.

Residential Streets

  • Less than 2 inches: salting and sanding, where needed, completed within 12 hours after end of storm
  • Over 2 inches: plowing begins, as needed, up to 12 hours after end of storm. Plowing completed up to 24 hours after end of storm.

Bus and Rail Routes

  • Metrorail: normal operations
  • Metrobus: normal operations
  • MetroAccess: normal operations
  • Metro Parking: 5% fewer spaces
  • Transit Buses: normal operations
  • VRE and MARC: normal operations