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Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 01/27/2011

Some may not get power until Sunday

By Washington Post editors

Power is not expected to be completely restored in Montgomery until early Sunday, county officials said.

In addition to the 127,000 Pepco customers without power in Montgomery as of Thursday morning, 200 traffic lights were still out, county officials said.

Officials are directing snow-clearing crews to neighborhoods with widespread outages so families without heat can more easily emerge and seek help on their own. A shelter is opening at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, officials said.

Montgomery officials declared a road emergency at about midnight. That meant private tow truck operators could drag away vehicles without the owners’ permission, officials said.

Stuck or abandoned vehicles fed the epic gridlock Wednesday and hampered emergency workers, officials said. More than 200 vehicles were towed, officials said.
-- Michael Laris

Montgomery County spokeswoman Esther Bowring said plows finished all emergency routes as of 9:30 a.m. and were starting on primary and secondary roads. She said she didn't know when they would reach most neighborhood streets but said the county and Pepco are working together to get plows first to neighborhoods where utility trucks need to get in to restore power.

Because county plows were stuck in the same gridlock as commuters Wednesday evening, she said, crews that usually work throughout a storm couldn't begin their work in earnest until after the snow stopped and traffic lightened up Wednesday night. That delay caused snow and ice to bond to the pavement, she said, making the job more difficult and slow-going Thursday morning.

"We'll go over and over the secondary roads to clear them curb to curb and only then will we move into the neighborhoods," Bowring said.

Fire trucks that need to get into neighborhoods with snowy roads will be accompanied by snow plows to clear the way, she said.
-- Katherine Shaver

By Washington Post editors  | January 27, 2011; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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