ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 6, 2014) – Governor O’Malley advises residents to take appropriate safety precautions as some of the coldest temperatures in 20 years approach Maryland. Temperatures are expected to dip to near or just below zero in central Maryland, with lows as cold as 15 below zero in the western portion of the state. Temperatures will be slightly warmer in southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore but wind chills are expected to drop temperatures dangerously low across most of the state for isolated periods.

“The brutal cold that's coming our way can be dangerous, and Marylanders need to be vigilant and prepared," said Governor Martin O’Malley. “After just a few minutes in weather like this, hypothermia can set in and exposed skin can suffer from frostbite. I urge everyone in Maryland to exercise caution, limit their activities outdoors, wear loose layers and cover all exposed skin if venturing outside is unavoidable.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been monitoring the weather forecast for several days and has been in touch with the four National Weather Service offices serving the state as well as local emergency management offices. MEMA and other state agencies are closely monitoring conditions to support local efforts in case additional shelters and/or heating centers need to be opened. 

Here are some tips for dealing with the upcoming cold snap:

  • Wear layers of clothing that can be easily removed if you become overheated, and make sure to use socks, hats and scarves to protect feet, head and exposed skin.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated in the low-humidity conditions, but avoid drinking beverages with alcohol and too much caffeine.
  • Make sure your car’s radiator and windshield washer fluid tanks are full and watch for black ice when driving.
  • In addition to normal supplies in your car, keep some extra blankets and snacks, such as energy bars, available in case you become stranded.
  • If you are travelling, make sure people know when you are expected to arrive and what route you plan to take and make sure you have a fully charged cell phone.
  • Consider SAFE alternative heating methods in case you lose power, or see if friends or relatives can provide a place to stay. Avoid using heaters with open flames or heating methods that produce carbon monoxide gas.
  • Limit the time pets stay outdoors in these conditions, including pets that normally live outside. If they must remain outside, please make sure they have a dog house or some other type of shelter available and plenty of non-frozen water to drink. (Avoid leaving blankets outside for pets to sleep on in the winter as they may become wet and icy.)
  • If some of your pipes are susceptible to freezing, leave a trickle of cold water running from the sink on the lowest level or your home. If possible, insulate pipes.
  • Keep cell phones, tablets and other portable devices fully charged in case you lose power.

“If you have any relatives, friends or neighbors who may not have adequate heat, please check on their welfare during these next few days,” said MEMA Executive Director Ken Mallette. “If you have the ability, help them get to someplace warm or contact local social service providers on their behalf.”

Tune in to your local news and radio stations for the most up-to-date information in your jurisdiction. Be sure to follow MEMA and local officials on Facebook, Twitter, and regularly check websites for updates. Marylanders are encouraged to call 211 or their local city or county governments for information on local shelters and warming centers. MEMA will also update their website with shelter hours and locations as they become available.

The following links may also be of use:
Social Media links for MEMA: