- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

One to 2 inches of ice and snow could menace commuters this morning, the National Weather Service forecast yesterday.

“The ice could create worse conditions than a typical snowfall,” said Ada Shulman, spokeswoman for the Weather Service, adding that the ice buildup could bring down power lines, tree limbs and create hazardous driving conditions for the morning rush hour.

Forecasters said a wintry mix of sleet and snow was expected to arrive between 4 and 7 a.m. and turn to freezing rain by afternoon, when the warming temperatures could help prevent a lot of ice accumulation.

The Virginia Department of Transportation prepared to send 200 trucks out near midnight. The full fleet — 750 trucks — were to be on the roads about 3 a.m. today, three hours before rush hour.

The Maryland State Highway Administration spent yesterday fueling trucks and loading them with salt. They sent workers home last night to get some sleep and prepare to be on the roads between 3 and 6 a.m.

The District’s Department of Transportation said the ice would be “clearly affecting Tuesday’s commute.”

The city planned to mobilize more than 150 trucks to be in key positions and ready to start spreading salt as soon as the storm began.

Potomac Electric Power Co. officials were concerned that the buildup of ice on trees could bring limbs down on power lines and knock out power to some costumers.

Robert Dobkin, spokesman for Pepco, said the utility planned to have extra crews out last night but expected most of the problems to occur during the morning rush, making repairs more difficult.

“We are hampered along with other traffic,” he said. “Of course these things change, and snow and sleet are not as bad as ice, but we are watching to forecast,” Mr. Dobkin said.

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