The Signs of Winter

March 10, 2014

Road sign bent over concrete abutment.

Copyright 2014 Kevin p. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The winter of 2014 dropped over 30 inches of snow on the Baltimore, Maryland region.  Along with this powder came no small amount of ice as well.  Indeed, due to the generally warmer and moister air coming up from the South and being met by very cold air temperatures coming from the North and West, that snow often had a high moisture content and was very wet as is usually the case in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Those cold air temperatures also account for the amount of freezing rain and ice that accumulated as well.  As a result, the roads were often slick and certainly needed to be plowed on a number of occasions.  Whether through the impact of a moving vehicle or a large amount of heavy, plowed snow, it was a tough season for road signs.

Road sign bent parallel to the ground.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

According to the Baltimore County Maryland Department of Public Works:

“There are about 250,000 signs in Baltimore County to inform motorists. The sign shop installs approximately 6,000 signs per year and stores about 2,000 signs. They also perform road painting and marking using white and yellow paint, on approximately 2,700 miles of painted lines roads in Baltimore County.”

 Those pictured here are three of those approximately 250,000 signs that are now less able to perform their intended function.

Road sign broken and laying on the ground.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

With regard to the weather, this has been a winter of contrasts: according to The National Climatic Data Center, January 2014 was the fourth warmest on record.  And yet, as a result of the polar vortex, February was much colder and was the month when we received so much of the snow and the much colder than normal temperatures. (The NCDC has not as yet released its February 2014 data.)

It is too early to tell which of these will be the dominant weather patterns moving forward.  What does appear to be clear, however, is that the winter of 2014 has been an expensive one-these road signs are just one example of that.

Take care.