Government offices, transportation, schools shut down as area braces for storm -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 5 p.m. Oct. 29.

As Hurricane Sandy began making its way across Maryland Sunday and into Monday, state and local officials announced a number of closings.

According to Weather.gov, the area should expect heavy rain, near-hurricane-force winds and flooding. Keep up-to-date on the storm with NBCWashington.com’s weather coverage.

Residents should call 311 for information and questions and 911 for emergencies. Traffic information can be obtained by calling 511.

Below is a partial list of closings and delays.

Education

Public schools are closed for Monday and Tuesday in Montgomery, Frederick and Prince George’s counties, according to school websites. Prince George’s is operating under Code Yellow Monday, which means emergency personnel must report, but under a Code Red on Tuesday, which means no one reports.

The following colleges and universities have also cancelled classes for Monday according to their websites: Bowie State University, Capitol College, Frederick Community College, Montgomery College, Mount St. Mary’s, Prince George’s Community College, University of Maryland, College Park.

County government and services

County governments are also closed Monday, including courts and trash collection, according to their websites. Montgomery County asks residents to avoid raking leaves to the curb or into the street to help keep drains clear and hopefully minimize flooding from heavy rains.

State and federal government are also closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Early voting will be closed Monday by order of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). Early voting will be extended through Friday.

Transportation

Montgomery County announced Sunday that Ride-On bus service has been suspended until further notice.

TheBus service in Prince George’s is also cancelled for Monday.

Metro service is suspended Monday and Tuesday. This inclues rail, bus and MetroAccess service. No decision has yet been made on when service will be restored.

MARC service has also been halted for Monday. A decision on whether it will resume Tuesday is scheduled to come by 8 p.m. Monday.

Shelters

Beginning at noon on Monday, according to a release, Montgomery County will open shelters at the following locations: White Oak Community Recreation Center, people and pets, at 1700 April La. Silver Spring; the Activity Center at Bohrer Park for people only, at 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg; and the Mid- County Community Recreation Center for people only, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring.

Prince George’s has opened three emergency shelters: Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale; Gwynn Park High School in Brandywine; and Richie Coliseum at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Three shelters in Frederick have opened. The Frederick Community Action Agency, 100 South Market Street will be open on Monday and Tuesday from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm. The agency’s soup kitchen will serve a free evening meal from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 pm. The food bank will be open and distribute food as needed. For more information, call 301-600-1506. The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, 27 DeGrange Street, will open and operate as an overnight shelter on Monday at 6:30 pm. For more information, call 301-631-2670. The Frederick Rescue Mission, 419 West South Street, will provide free breakfast and lunch meals on Monday and Tuesday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information, call 301-695-6633.

Traffic safety

The State Highway Administration asks motorists to remember the following tips for driving safely in storm condisions:

-Avoid downed or damaged power lines.

-Do not try to cross flooded roadways. Eighty percent of flood-related deaths happen in vehicles. Even six inches of running water can knock a person off their feet, and two feet is enough to float a bus.

-When a traffic signal is out, the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop.

Maryland authorities have lowered the speed limit on all interstate and U.S. highways to 45 miles per hour until further notice.

Entertainment and shopping

In Montgomery County, The Music Center and Mansion at Strathmore (www.strathmore.org) and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (www.afi.com/silver) will be closed Monday.

The Washington Performing Arts Society’s concert featuring András Schiff, originally scheduled for Tuesday at Strathmore, has been cancelled.

The Squarepusher concert scheduled for Monday at the Fillmore Silver Spring (www.fillmoresilverspring.com) has been postponed.

In Frederick County, auditions for Way Off Broadway’s (www.wayoffbroadway.com) “Steel Magnolias,” scheduled for Monday evening, have been postponed. The company will announce new dates soon.

In Prince George’s County, The UMD Jazz Ensemble, UMD Jazz Lab Band and University Jazz Band’s Big Band Pre-Halloween Scream concert, originally scheduled for Monday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu), has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31.

Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda is closed Monday, but restaurants with outside entrances remain open.

Westfield Wheaton Mall is closed Monday, but Hollywood East Cafe and PJ’s Rice Bistro will be open through Monday evening. Giant will be open until midnight.

Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg will be closed Monday and Tuesday.