- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Nearly 2 inches of rain fell on the Washington area yesterday, pushing the region’s average rainfall for the month above normal and contributed to at least one serious pileup.

The average rainfall for the month of March in the Washington area is 2.72 inches. Yesterday, 1.85 inches of rain had fallen by early evening, bringing the area’s total for the month to 2.79 inches.

Officials said the weather might have been responsible for a seven-car pileup on the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway In Prince George’s County that stalled traffic for about four hours.

“When that accident occurred, it was the heaviest rain we had incurred all day long in Prince George’s County,” Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said. “It was torrential, and there were large amounts of water on the roadway.”

The crash, involving five cars and two tractor-trailers, happened at about 1:15 p.m. beneath an overpass leading to Indian Head Highway from Interstate 295.

Authorities said they did not know specifically what caused the crash, which occurred in a construction zone.

Mr. Brady said one man was trapped in his car underneath one of the tractor-trailers for about 90 minutes, and was taken to a hospital with injuries described as not life-threatening.

Two women also suffered minor injuries.

The roads were cleared shortly after 5 p.m.

The rain also was partially responsible for sporadic power outages.

“With the rain we’ve gotten today and the saturated ground, it’s likely the outages are weather-related,” said Linda Foy, a Baltimore Gas & Electric spokeswoman.

At 5 p.m., BGE reported 3,515 power outages, including 1,097 in Baltimore County, 2,198 in Baltimore city and 117 in Anne Arundel County.

Potomac Electric Power Co. reported 253 outages in Montgomery County, 177 in Prince George’s County and three in the District.

Dominion Virginia Power reported 70 outages in Northern Virginia by early evening.

“It has not been a particularly difficult day,” Pepco spokesman Bob Dobkin said. “It’s just a heavy rainy day, and it may cause some minor outages here and there.”

Forecasters with the National Weather Service said there was a chance for more scattered showers last night, but they expect only cloudy skies today with temperatures hitting 50 degrees.

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