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Maryland and Charles County authorities say they are prepared for the snow season.

The Maryland State Highway Administration will have 17 trucks devoted to clearing snow from state routes in Charles County, with capacity to call in another 30 from private contractors, according to an SHA news release.

Charles County government has about “200 pieces of equipment,” all of which had their salt spreaders or plows installed in October, said county Roads Chief Steve Staples.

Also in October, Department of Public Works employees met with the 80 contractors hired to handle winter snows and asked them to drive their routes and identify any possible problems in advance of any storm, he said. Sixty-five county employees also will help keep roads clear.

It’s impossible to know in advance what the season will bring, so county government is ready for the worst, Staples said.

“They always call for snow. We could have something like last year, where we had nothing, or like 2010, where we had six feet. We deal with it as it comes,” he said.

SHA tries to predict storms in advance, though it’s dicey, said spokesman Charlie Gischlar.

“We subscribe to a weather service called Meridian; we pay for that forecasting ability. We also obviously have conference calls with the National Weather Service, as well. Generally, they’re ... very slightly different or pretty much the same in most cases, and when they concur, then we start to put together a plan way in advance of the storm even coming near the state: where it’s going to hit first and what time. That way, we can put together, in time, a schedule for our hired folks and get the maintenance ready,” he said.

If a storm seems to be on the way, trucks will spray salt water on the roads preventatively, he said.

“We watch it [the weather], but that’s a tough one to predict. We always expect the worst and hope for the best. We’re watching all the time. Lately, it’s been snow, hurricanes, superstorms. We can’t predict that far out and ahead, but for your readers to know, we’re ready for this as we get out into the teeth of winter,” he said.

One of the hazards of weather is avoidable; every year, impatient drivers pass snow plows. And every year, some of them end up in accidents, Gischlar said.

“We always see somebody try to pass us, and if you hit a plow, the car’s going to lose,” he said. “Every year, somebody cuts off a plow and gets disabled or gets themselves in a wreck where they run off the roadway. We see it every year.”

emitrano@somdnews.com