- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

Steady snow, howling winds and single-digit temperatures yesterday were not enough to keep some people inside their homes and off the roads.
Karen Wallace was trying to get home safely to Canton, Ohio.
"It's terrible," she said during a fuel stop in Hagerstown where interstates 70 and 81 intersect. Miss Wallace started the trip from Washington in near-whiteout conditions and said she had passed 12 vehicles that had spun off the road in the first 70 miles.
"I noticed one in a Volvo, and she was flying past me," Miss Wallace said. "She wound up in the ditch."
Greg Scott, 40, of northern Anne Arundel County, said he went out in his four-wheel drive Jeep Grand Cherokee but only to get his 5-year-old staying with family near Baltimore.
Mr. Scott, a diesel technician at Cummins Power Systems, said the visibility was so poor that he couldn't see where the ramps met the highway.
"We didn't know the snow would get this bad," he said. "I felt I had to get him. It was a need-to-go situation."
Jim Landry and his wife, Nicole Burton, were returning to Riverdale from an overnight trip to Baltimore. They took the train but still had to travel slippery roads to reach their home.
"There are no lanes," Mr. Landry said. "You just have to drive where you can. People are doing crazy things. An SUV actually tried to pass me when only one lane was clear."
Their car made it partially into their driveway before getting stuck.
A suburban Washington bus ride was just as scary for Jannette Robinson, a mall security worker from Brentwood who works in Bethesda.
"We almost got into an accident," she said. "A truck almost hit the bus. They haven't cleared the roads. It is so slippery."
Baltimore taxi driver Mustafa Saed, a 28-year-old native of East Africa, said he got stuck three times despite new tires on his cab.
"You see cars sliding and hitting parked cars," he said. "It's unbelievable."
Other travelers got off the highways before finding out how bad it was.
Alison Kramer, 24, of Raleigh, N.C., said she and her mother decided to stay another night or two in a Hagerstown motel instead of driving home.
"We're just going to go get some snacks, maybe get a video," she said.
Many who ventured out found stores and even churches closed by the storm.
At the Neelsville Shopping Center in Germantown, most of the shops, nearby restaurants and movie theaters were closed.
One exception was the Giant food store, where plow trucks in the parking lot dodged a few sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
Inside the grocery store, Julie Korona, 21, and Mark Ramsey, 24, of Fairfax, sorted through the frozen foods. They were going skiing near Gettysburg, Pa., when the intense snow ended their journey, so they stocked up on food for an overnight motel stay.
"It was just pretty nasty," Miss Korona said. "We couldn't see anything in front of us."
Meanwhile, others were glad just to see snow.
Riverdale resident Roland Walker moved to the Washington area from Alabama about eight years ago.
"I had never seen snow before," he said yesterday while taking his cat for a walk. "But the snow makes this a most forbidding place."
The cat burrowed its way under a car to stay warm.
In Hagerstown, Mike McBeath walked three miles to a Baltimore Unitarian church only to find it closed. But Mr. McBeath, a visiting professor from Arizona, said he didn't mind.
"I actually kind of like it," he said. "It never snows in Phoenix."
Staff writers Vaishali Honawar and Carleton Bryant contributed to this report, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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