On January 1, 2018, a nor’easter was predicted to hit the lower Eastern Shore but not be significant. Unfortunately, as conditions changed, it became a true blizzard for our area. Wicomico County was one of the hardest hit counties in Maryland due to its location just a little inward from the coast.
As the week progressed so did the forecast for total snow accumulation as well as the call for extremely high winds. On Wednesday January 8th, the prediction was increased to blizzard-level conditions. It became necessary on Wednesday night for me to declare a State of Emergency for Wicomico County. Later, Governor Hogan declared a State of Emergency for all the Lower Shore Counties.
The amount of snow and winds hampered the total clearing of many roads but the Public Works Department, led by the Roads Division, has done a superb job under difficult conditions and challenges. The dry snow, combined with the strong wind gusts, created snow drifts and frequently covered the recently plowed roads. Under the circumstances, the crews were successful with making every road reasonably passable and continued regularly to restore access after wind gusts caused drifts.
I want to thank all of the men and women who worked diligently during the last several days. This storm could have been a killer storm except for the good work of many. Emergency Services was manned around the clock while under the State of Emergency. The Roads and Solid Waste employees of Public Works were amazing while working endless hours in horrible conditions. I would like to acknowledge the Sheriff and his deputies for rescuing stuck vehicles and people who became stranded and were walking while the wind-chill was in single digits. The airport personnel worked persistently to minimize travel disruptions along with Parks and Recreation staff who assisted. At the same time they were responsible for their facilities. General Services has spent hours clearing parking lots, walkways and entrances of county office buildings to help keep everyone safe. Realizing last week was also payroll week, I want to recognize the commitment of the Human Resources and Finance personnel and other employees who worked diligently guaranteeing the County functioned as it should.
I want to express my appreciation to Councilman Joe Holloway who called and offered to drive a snow plow and did so for a couple days. Councilman Ernie Davis was also out clearing areas and I’m thankful of his efforts. Without being requested, many local farmers risked their equipment to be helpful as did many citizens. I appreciate their hard work. I am grateful that Governor Larry Hogan, with his busy schedule, took the time to visit the Lower Shore stopping by the State Roads office in Salisbury.
It is because of the cooperation from all employees and the community that we have survived this blizzard as well as we did. I am truly grateful to everyone for their support during the Blizzard of 2018.