- The Washington Times - Friday, March 16, 2007

The National Weather Service says Mother Nature calls the shots, which means transitioning into spring is frequently an unpredictable ride.

After almost a week of springtime weather, temperatures in the Washington area dropped to the 30s as a low pressure system brought with it cold Canadian air.

Temperatures had been in the high 50s since last Saturday and peaked in the low 80s Wednesday because of incoming warm, southwestern winds.

“March and October are months of transition for this region,” said Jim Lee, a spokesman for the National Weather Service. “It’s not uncommon for us to have wide swings.”

A storm moving into the Northeast Thursday brought precipitation that came as snow in parts of the region because of falling temperatures.

Forecasts called for increasing snowfall to the north and west of the D.C. area.

Four to six inches of snow had fallen by evening in Western Maryland, said Kellie Boulware of the Maryland State Highway Administration, which had crews in the area treating the roads.

State police from the Westminster barracks reported at least a dozen weather-related car accidents in Carroll County yesterday afternoon.

One of the Secret Service vehicles escorting President Bush from the District to Camp David was involved in a fender bender with a civilian vehicle in Urbana, Md.

No one was injured in the crash, which happened just after 3 p.m. on Interstate 270 near Exit 26, said Agent Kim Bruce, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service.

The crash was “nowhere near” the president’s vehicle, she said.

Mr. Lee said the District would see 1 inch of snow at the most and that the biggest threat in the area was flooding. The weather service issued a flood watch for parts of the region as the area also expected to see several inches of rain.

“It just shows you the nature of where we live,” said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic motor club.

The weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the high 30s today and low 40s tomorrow with almost no chance of precipitation.

Temperatures are expected to return to the 50s and 60s next week.

The weather in March has taken the D.C. area for a wild ride at times.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival activities were interrupted by 11/2-inch of snow on March 30, 2003.

On March 13, 1993, 13.9 inches of snow fell at Washington Dulles International Airport and about 11 inches fell at both Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports, according to data compiled by the weather service.

Also, a storm known as the Palm Sunday Storm on March 29-30 in 1942 dumped 22 inches of snow on the region.

Spokesmen for local utility companies indicated March is a tricky month because winter and summer-type storms can damage power lines and each type of storm has its own challenges.

Debbi Jarvis, a spokeswoman for Potomac Electric Power Co., said the utility actively monitors weather all year because it is the most heavily treed system in the country.

“Whatever comes our way we are ready for,” Mrs. Jarvis said. “It’s something we’re prepared for 365 days a year.”

Tarron Lively contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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