WEATHER ALERT The region will be under a Wind Advisory this afternoon and evening for winds 20 mph to 30 mph and gusts to near 50 mph.

Cameras: MSHA’s essential winter prep item (Photos)

Extra blankets, snow boots and a shovel are common items for winter prep. But cameras?

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Extra blankets, snow boots and a shovel are common items for winter prep. But cameras?

The Maryland State Highway Administration now has access to more than 700 cameras in the state, and uses them in their effort to clear the roads for drivers.

“That gives us more eyes, from local road roadways to our interstate roadways, we’re able to get a better understanding of what the traffic is like and what the conditions are like,” says Melinda Peters, the SHA administrator.

There are more new tools in the winter arsenal, most notably, the dual-winged plow.

Two additional plows are ready to go, making for a fleet of three.

These plows can clear 24 feet of roadway, or two full highway lanes, at a time.

The Maryland State Highway Administration’s winter budget is $46 million.

Follow @WTOPTraffic and @WTOP on Twitter.