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Snow blankets Tri-State area

more on the way

January 18, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

A storm that began midmorning Thursday dropped about 3 1/2 inches of snow on the Hagerstown area and created slick conditions that were expected to continue into this morning, according to weather reports from the National Weather Service and Hagerstown weather site www.i4weather.net.

Periods of freezing rain and sleet overnight could result in an accumulation of several hundredths of an inch of ice, enough to keep travel hazardous, the National Weather Service predicted. A winter storm warning issued by the service was in effect until today at midnight in Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland, and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

Temperatures today are expected to reach a high of 42 degrees, but an arctic front could bring more snow Saturday along with the coldest temperatures of the season, the National Weather Service reported. Snow and wind-chill advisories might be required this weekend, the service said.

Maryland State Police and the Hagerstown Police Department reported no major accidents and said highways and city streets were clear Thursday night. The Washington County Sheriff's Department responded 18 accidents throughout the day, Lt. Mark Knight reported.

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In one incident, the driver of a Toyota Camry lost control of the vehicle about 3:10 p.m. on Old Forge Road due to the snow and slid sideways across a double yellow line, colliding with a Volvo, the sheriff's department said in a press release. The driver of the Camry and two passengers in the Volvo were taken to Washington County Hospital by ambulance, the department said.

AAA Mid-Atlantic advised motorists to slow down and be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibility. Stopping distances are significantly longer in snowy or icy conditions, so AAA recommends leaving a following distance of at least 10 seconds.

The travel service also recommends drivers clear snow or ice from all vehicle surfaces before driving and add ice scrapers, small snow shovels and kitty litter or sand to their emergency kits.

When braking on ice or snow, if you have an anti-lock braking system, you should keep the pedal depressed, but if you do not have anti-lock brakes, you should pump the brakes gently at a rapid pace, AAA advised. If you skid on a slick surface, you should take your foot off the brake and steer in the direction the car is traveling to gain traction, then begin to accelerate slowly, AAA said.

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