- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

BOSTON, March 6 (UPI) — A quick-moving snowstorm blew through southern New England Thursday, creating hazardous driving conditions and forcing schools to cancel classes.

Police in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts reported hundreds of multiple-vehicle accidents.

Some two dozen people suffered minor injuries, but none life threatening, said Massachusetts State Police Lt. Paul C. Maloney.

He said up to 150 cars were involved in a series of multiple vehicle accidents on Interstate 95 in the Attleboro, Mass., area just north of the Rhode Island state line.

The southbound lanes of I-95 had to be closed for hours, he said, and many accidents also happened on the northbound side.

Accidents involving 15 to 40 vehicles were reported on other highways south of Boston, including Route 3, police said.

The problems started when a light rain and snow quickly iced over the highways as visibility deteriorated to white-out conditions.

The storm came in suddenly and "may have caught motorists off guard," Maloney said.

"One minute you were going along and the next it was a skating rink," is how one WBZ reporter described the conditions on Route 3.

Emergency vehicles responded to numerous injuries, but the exact number of people hurt was not immediately known.

"We certainly have problems," one state trooper said as many vehicles were abandoned. Lines of tow trucks were called in to help clear the roadways.

The snow also forced police to temporarily close Interstate-84 west of Waterbury, Conn., where troopers were sent in on foot to deal with some 50 accidents.

The National Weather Service, which issued winter storm warnings and advisories for the region, said 3 to 6 inches of snow were expected before the storm headed out to sea.

As the latest severe weather moved into the region, schools began to send students home early and cancel evening classes.

The storm also created delays in landings and departures in the major airports in the New York area and in New England.

The storm came less than three weeks after one of the 10 worst storms in the past 100 years set a record with 27.5 inches at Logan International Airport in Boston.

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