- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 30, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Road crews in the Washington area yesterday scraped, plowed and salted neighborhood streets and interstates blanketed by freezing rain, ice and snow, as the second winter storm in a week rolled through the area.

Workers in Maryland, Virginia and the District spent most of Saturday night and early yesterday laying salt to keep ice from settling on the highways. When snow began falling on top of the freezing rain and sleet, the crews switched to plowing.

The Washington area received between 2 and 4 inches of snow since Saturday night, said Christopher Strong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. West Falls Church and Centreville in Northern Virginia received about 4 inches of snow, and parts of Montgomery County got 2 to 3 inches, Mr. Strong said.

Crews in Maryland manned about 1,400 pieces of equipment on Saturday night, before the snow and ice storm arrived, state transportation chief Robert L. Flanagan said yesterday.

“It’s slushy,” Mr. Flanagan said. “But the primary highways are in good shape, despite some coverage of slush and snow.”

No major accidents were reported as a result of the precipitation.

Crews in Northern Virginia operated up to 500 pieces of equipment between Saturday night and yesterday afternoon to treat an estimated 15,000 miles of roadway in the area, said Ryan Hall, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

About 450 trucks were out yesterday afternoon treating the secondary roads, Mr. Hall said.

“[The roads] are looking perfect for the morning commute,” he said.

Forecasters reported less than a quarter-inch of ice buildup yesterday morning. Temperatures reached into the mid-30s yesterday.

Much of the snow and ice is expected to melt away this week as temperatures reach the 40s and as high as 50 degrees on Saturday.

This was the second weekend storm to hit the region.

Last weekend, up to 7 inches of snow was on the ground, closing dozens of schools and canceling sporting and community events. Thousands were left without electricity.

Yesterday, there were fewer closings and airport delays, but more power outages were reported. Baltimore Gas & Electric and Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) reported hundreds of customers without power by early morning, but the numbers were dwindling by noon.

nThis article is based in part on wire service reports.

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