- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2003

A winter storm that created dangerous road conditions yesterday surprised residents and caused widespread accidents across the region.
The slick roads had emergency crews responding to about 45 accidents an hour, said Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County's fire department.
The wet snow started falling about 9:30 a.m. and was likely to have contributed to a two-vehicle accident in Montgomery County that killed two women and injured six persons, including five children.
The accident at Norbeck and Norwood roads in Norbeck occurred about 11 a.m., but police said they would not release the names of the victims until this morning.
The storm, known as a clipper because it was tracked across the Ohio Valley from Canada, caused so many accidents that officials used television and radio interviews to plead with drivers to slow down.
WUSA-TV (Channel 9) used part of the screen during the broadcast of an NFL playoff game to advise motorists of dangerous conditions.
Among the worst of the accidents was a 19-vehicle pileup on Interstate 695.
"I think people are lulled into a false sense that it's just a wet road," said David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
The snow ended by late afternoon yesterday, but Montgomery County officials had already decided to close schools for today.
Maryland police reported hundreds of car crashes yesterday, and the Virginia Department of Transportation dispatched 900 trucks to sand and salt roads in Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William counties.
In the District, the snow was freezing on bridges, ramps and overpasses, causing dozens of fender benders. Both sides of South Capitol Street were closed for about an hour.
"We had accidents on virtually every bridge," said Alan Etter, spokesman for the District's fire and emergency services department. "There were no serious injuries."
Today, roads were expected to be safe for commuters and school buses, though intermittent snow flurries were possible with temperatures near 40 degrees.
Montgomery police were still investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash last night southeast of Olney. They said a Plymouth headed east on Norbeck Road collided with a Toyota minivan going north on Norwood Road.
"Witnesses told us the minivan ran a red light," police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said.
Investigators said the roads were wet but there was no accumulation of snow, Miss Baur said.
The driver of the Plymouth and her front-seat passenger, a woman, were killed. The back-seat passengers, a 16-year-old boy, a 2-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl, were taken to Montgomery General, Suburban and Children's hospitals.
The female driver of the Toyota and a 4-year-old boy were treated and released from Laurel Regional Hospital. A 6-year-old passenger was treated for a broken leg at Children's Hospital, police said.
Vehicular accidents began soon after the snowfall started, especially along Interstate 270 and on ramps, bridges and overpasses, Mr. Piringer said.
Weather forecasters predicted 2 to 3 inches of snow and issued a winter weather advisory for the metropolitan area. It included most of Maryland and south into Virginia beyond Lexington and Charlottesville.
A mixture of rain, snow and ice also was blamed for similar accidents in the Appalachian Mountains and Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia.
Maryland authorities sent 752 trucks to sand and salt state roads. In the District, six trucks were dispatched at first.
At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, flights were delayed about an hour.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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