Winter Weather

Winter Storm Operations (County)

In Your Home

BALTIMORE, MD (November 21, 2014) – As Baltimore weather turns cold and will become even colder as winter advances on the region. Baltimore City Department of Public Works Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E., reminds customers of the threat to water infrastructure due to extended cold or even repeated freeze/thaw cycles.

Water mains and water meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. That can pose a threat to water service, as can temperatures that dip in and out of freezing, which causes the ground to buckle and sometimes bends and breaks water lines.

“Last winter we saw hundreds of broken water mains in January and February, inconveniencing our customers and stretching our maintenance crews and contractors,” said Director Chow. “We are already seeing an increase in water main breaks, so our customers should be sure they are prepared for winter’s challenges.”

Here are a few tips to help protect your water lines during periods of cold weather:

  • Insulate pipes located in unheated parts of your house. This is especially a good tip for those who have had frozen pipes in the past.
  • Let a thin stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. The stream should be a continuous flow, about the thickness of pencil lead. This water can be caught in a bucket and used later as laundry or dish water.
  • If a pipe should freeze, gently warm it with hot air from a blow dryer at the point where it enters the house.
  • Be sure you know the location of the water shutoff valve in your home. Check it periodically to ensure that it works properly.
  • Be sure to shut off water to outside faucets.
  • Periodically monitor your sump pump. A frozen drain pipe could result in a flooded basement.
  • Keep bottled water on hand. Figure on needing a gallon of water per person per day.

The Department of Public Works maintains outdoor water lines up to and including the meter. For water emergencies call 311, or 410-396-5352 in Baltimore County.

Water lines running from the meter to the house, as well as internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner. Check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier to see if your interior pipes are covered in the event they freeze and rupture.

For water emergencies in Baltimore City, please call 311. In our Baltimore County service area, please call 410-396-5352.

In Baltimore City

If you are faced with an ice or snow covered street visit the Baltimore City Snow Center more information or here for Important Phone Numbers.

For information and updates throughout the winter season, residents can visit the Baltimore City Snow Center or tune into the local news media. Citizens can also follow the Department of Transportation Twitter and Facebook for updated messages.

In Baltimore County

When winter weather hits, stay ahead of the storm with Baltimore County Snowfighter. Find the latest on road conditions, current plowing operations, winter storm tips and more.

Baltimore County Shelters Available During Freezing Weather

Towson, Maryland (January 7, 2014) – If you are looking for a place to stay warm during these historically low temperatures, then Baltimore County has options available where you can get relief from the cold.

As always, there are public facilities that are open during the day, such as library branches, senior and community centers, shopping malls and places of worship. In addition, for those who would otherwise be homeless, the County has emergency shelters at the following locations:

Eastside Family Shelter – men, women and children
9100 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

Hannah More Shelter – women and children
12041 Reisterstown Road
Reisterstown, MD 21136

Night of Peace Overnight Shelter – families
7509 Windsor Mill Road
Windsor Mill, MD 21244

Westside Men’s Shelter
55 Wade Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21228

Freezing Weather Shelter at North Point Government Center

From the months of November through March, the County also has a temporary freezing weather shelter at the North Point Government Center. Which is activated on nights when temperatures reach 32 degrees or lower and there are no available beds in the other homeless shelters.

Due to the extreme cold weather we are currently experiencing, this shelter is open today through 7 a.m. on Wednesday, January 8.

It will reopen at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and close at 7 a.m. on Thursday, January 9.

People who are seeking access to any of the shelters listed above are encouraged to call 410-853-3000, option 2 to find the closest available shelter.

Cold Weather Reminders

The combination of low temperatures and wind chill constitute a threat, especially to certain groups of people: older adults, children and people with respiratory or other health problems. If you are in danger or experiencing severe health problems due to the weather, please call 911.

Below are some basic tips to help you and your family get relief from the cold and stay safe.

Be Cautious and Prepared

  • Make sure that you have a 72-hour kit.
  • Check on those who are elderly and/or chronically ill.
  • Keep infants in a warm room since they lose heat easily.
  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about exercising or working in the cold.
  • If you are hiking, camping, or skiing during cold weather, avoid becoming overtired. Be extremely careful when walking in icy areas. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered paths.

Eat Right

  • Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer.
  • Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages – they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Drink warm, beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions consult with your doctor.

Dress Warmly and Stay Dry – Adults and children should wear:

  • A hat, a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth.
  • Sleeves that are snug at the wrist.
  • Mittens – they are warmer than gloves.
  • Water-resistant coat and boots.
  • Several layers of loose-fitting clothing if you are going to be outside.

Don’t Leave Your Pets Outdoors

  • During extreme weather, bring your pets indoors and provide them with adequate food and water.
  • Remember to have an emergency plan for your pet too. Most shelters do not allow pets.

Prevent the Spread of Colds & Flu

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Scrub hands, wrists, fingernails and between fingers.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with colds or flu.
  • If you get sick, stay home to avoid spreading it to others.
  • Avoid crowded places wherever possible.

More Information

You can visit the Baltimore County Department of Health for more information or call 410-887-BCHD (2243).

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