Light snow causing numerous accidents
A surprise snow squall was causing numerous accidents in Central Maryland at mid-day Friday as light accumulations created slippery conditions on some roadways.
Baltimore County Police reported one person with "life-threatening injuries" after an accident on Jarrettsville Pike in Jacksonville, between Stansbury Mill and Manor roads.
"A bread truck truck and a passenger car were involved," said police spokeswoman Louise Rogers-Feher. But she had no further information on the accident, which occurred shortly after 1 p.m.
Police counted 21 more crashes around Baltimore County, most of them in the Cockeysville and Franklin precincts. There were some injuries, Rogers-Feher said, "but nothing major."
The storm slicked roads in Carroll County, too, police said.
"We have dozens of accidents right now," said Sgt. Alfred A "Andy" Eways, at the Westminster barracks of the Maryland State Police. "Fortunately, right now, it appears everything at this point is property damage."
"We also have numerous disabled vehicles, either getting stuck or skidding into ditches," Eways said.
Salt trucks were dispatched around noontime, but Eways said, "We would encourage anybody who doesn't have an absolute need to be driving in Carroll County not to."
The State Highway Administration's CHART system was reporting four collisions on I-70 from Washington County to Howard County. A tractor-trailer overturned on I-270 in Montgomery County. There were no immediate reports of injuries. Vehicles were pulling to the side of the road because of slippery conditions on I-68 in Cumberland.
SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said that in many cases drivers moving at speeds better suited for dry conditions.
"What we're trying to do is get folks to slow down a little for the conditions," he said. "The speed limit is set for ideal conditions, and when they're not ideal, you have to slow down."
Traffic cameras showed clear pavement, but with some snowy patches, at I-70 and U.S. 29 in Howard County, as well as at I-70 and I-270 in Frederick.
State highway officials said salt trucks were sent out, but the roads were not pre-treated because the forecast had called only for flurries.
Howard Silverman, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., said reports received there indicated no more than a few tenths of an inch of snow.
"It hasn't been a consistent, widespread band of accumulating snow, but there are consistent flurries moving across Virginia and Maryland," he said. "But with temperatures right around freezing, that's not to say it's not capable of creating slippery conditions, and it has been. But it's not a lot of snow."
The possibility of snow today, and its potential impacts, had been discussed by meteorologists, Silverman said. "It was not off the probabilities. But it was not a definite forecast, either."
Temperatures have been well below average in recent days, he noted, and that has probably cooled pavement temperatures and contributed to the traffic problems.
The little storm was expected to pass by after an hour or two, leaving no more than a dusting, Silverman said. "But that's about all it takes."