- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2002

Snowplows got ready yesterday for snow that didn't come. But the plows were to remain in place through the night on the chance that temperatures would drop below freezing.
"They'll just stay out there until it's all over," said Joan Morrison, spokeswoman for Virginia's Department of Transportation. "They'll be ready for the rush hour [today]."
And there's a chance that measurable snow could fall today.
In the District, 50 trucks were loaded and equipped by noon yesterday when forecasters said 1 to 3 inches might fall before midnight, said Mary Myers, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.
"We're monitoring the weather," Ms. Myers said, and more trucks and equipment can be assigned if conditions worsen.
In Maryland, 2,000 trucks, many with new wing plows to shove snow off road shoulders, were ready, said spokeswoman Kellie Boulware. A proportionate number were in strategic locations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, idling on the sides of the roads with only rain falling from the sky yesterday afternoon, she said.
Virginia had 900 snowplows and 1,200 workers on the job.
Some areas did see a little snow. Damascus in northern Montgomery County had 1 inch and Warrenton, Va., about a half-inch. In far Western Maryland, Hancock had 8 inches.
Temperatures began dropping at nightfall and there were reports of light snow falling in Gaithersburg and other areas. Forecasters predicted lows of 25 to 30 degrees overnight, which could freeze the rain and any light snow that might fall before daybreak Most, if any, snow would be north and west of the District, forecasters said.
The forecast today is breezy, blustery and cold with the potential for scattered snow showers and temperatures in the low to mid-30s.
After an unusually dry fall, the rain was welcome. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport recorded 0.59 inches of precipitation and Baltimore-Washington International saw 0.93 inches of rain.
Some roads en route to Washington Dulles International Airport became slick after sundown, said meteorologist Dewey Walston of the National Weather Service offices in Sterling, Va.
"This storm's right on the border of the freeze line," said Lon Anderson, spokesman for AAA-Mid-Atlantic. And that can cause trouble. "Driving in icy snow is a skill," and many drivers are unprepared, he said.
Also, like the rest of the country, there has been a surge in the number of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, which handle differently in snow and ice, he said.
"It's going to be a real test," Mr. Anderson said of the winter weather that is sure to come. "A huge number of drivers have never driven before in snow and ice. …. The SUVs have a high center of gravity. They turn over more easily. Hit the brakes and [accidents can happen]."
An average of three-quarters of an inch of precipitation fell across Virginia yesterday.
More than 2 inches fell in Harrisonburg, and James Madison University canceled classes for today, the scheduled first day of the spring semester.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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