A winter weather advisory is in effect for Charles County from midnight tonight, Friday, Dec. 8 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9.  The Department of Emergency Services encourages residents to take steps to prepare.
Your home:
• Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows.  This includes structures for livestock and pets.
• Clear rain gutters. Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
• Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
• Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Have sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.   All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
• Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
• Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
Your vehicle:
• Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing.
• Check your battery and ignition system.  It should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
• Keep a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
• Ensure heater and defroster work properly.
• Check oil for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal faster at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
• Repair any problems with wiper equipment and maintain proper washer fluid level.
• Make sure tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.
• Prepare an emergency kit including: shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, blanket, tow rope, booster cables, emergency flares, and rock salt.
Winter Weather:
The National Weather Service urges residents to keep abreast of local forecasts and warnings and familiarize themselves with key weather terminology.
• Frost/Freeze Warning – Below freezing temperatures are expected.
 Freezing Rain – Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice.
 Sleet – Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground causing roads to freeze and become slippery.
• Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous.
• Winter Storm Watch – A winter storm is possible in your area.
• Winter Storm Warning – A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
• Blizzard Warning – Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
For additional information on winter weather and safety tips, visit: www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Due to the winter weather advisory in the forecast, the Department of Public Works Roads Division would like to remind residents of the county’s snow removal schedule.
Targeted Response Time for Snow Removal:
Primary Roads and Major Residential Roads
• 3 to 4 inches snowfall: Passable within 12 hours
• 5 to 7 inches snowfall: Passable within 18 to 24 hours
• 8 to 10 inches snowfall: Passable within 24 to 36 hours
• 11 to 15 inches snowfall: Passable within 36 to 48 hours
• 24 inches snowfall: Passable within 48 to 60 hours
Minor Residential Roads and Cul-de-sacs
• 3 to 4 inches snowfall: One pass made within 12 hours
• 5 to 7 inches snowfall: One pass made within 18 hours
• 8 to 10 inches snowfall: One pass made within 24 hours
• 11 to 15 inches snowfall: One pass made within 36 hours
• 24 inches snowfall: Once pass made within 48 hours
When it snows, county and contract forces concentrate on keeping primary county roads and major residential neighborhood streets passable. Plowing generally begins when snow becomes 1 to 3 inches deep and temperatures indicate snow will not melt.
The type of snow (wet or powder), temperatures, and wind conditions following a storm can alter this schedule. In some cases where snow is drifting and blowing, snow plows will concentrate on snow emergency routes and primary roads. This may decrease response time to residential or neighborhood roads.
Keep your neighborhoods safe for emergency personnel, pedestrians, and cyclists by clearing sidewalks of snow and ice. Remember to assist elderly and disabled neighbors who are unable to move snow. Clearing driveways and entrances of snow is the responsibility of the resident.

For more information about county snow removal, visit 
www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/pw/roads/snow-removal or call 1-888-460-SNOW (7669). Remember county roads have street names and state roads are numbered. Call 1-800-543-2515 for state snow removal. For more winter weather safety tips, visit www.ready.gov/winter-weather

Get the latest Charles County severe weather updates:
Charles County Government websitewww.CharlesCountyMD.gov
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CharlesCounty
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/CharlesCoMD
Charles County Government Television (CCGTV): Comcast channel 95 or Verizon channel 10
SMECO Power Outage Mapstormcenter.smeco.coop (Call 877-747-6326 to report an outage.)
Sign up for the Citizen Notification System (CNS), the county’s free emergency notification system, at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/CNS to receive weather, traffic, and road closure notices by text message, email, or phone. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.