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Winter blast may cause roadway hazards

January 02, 1999

BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

Maryland State Police and meteorologists with the National Weather Service, Sterling, Va., are advising people to use caution on roadways as a winter weather storm warning goes into effect for Washington County this weekend.

Meteorologist Dewey Walston said we can expect light snow which will mix with sleet and freezing rain today. The high will be 25 degrees.

Sunday morning will bring more freezing rain and then clearing for the rest of the day. Highs will be in the low 30s, said Walston.

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"Driving is going to be bad this weekend. Use caution or just don't go anywhere unless you absolutely have to," he said.

By Monday, the precipitation should cease with partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 30s.

Walston said the dreary weekend weather predicted is a result of a storm moving west into the Ohio Valley. He said it is bringing warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to Maryland.

"That air is coming over the cold Arctic air in place (currently over Washington County) that produces the wind-free precipitation," said Walston.

If you should venture out Saturday or Sunday make sure your car is properly maintained and filled with fuel, recommends Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Col. David B. Mitchell.

He said drivers should equip their automobiles with chains or snow tires. And inside the trunk should be a container of sand, shovel, windshield scraper, blanket, flares or safety triangle, booster cables and flashlight.

Mitchell also advises motorists to use common sense when deciding to drive in severe weather.

Turning your lights on, cleaning all windows for visibility and keeping the windshield wiper fluid filled can prevent accidents, he said.

Consider visibility and road conditions and travel at a reasonable speed. When possible, leave additional space between you and the car in front of you, said Mitchell.

Motorists can report disabled or stranded cars to authorities with a cell phone by dialing #77.

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