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Police say storm caused no 'real serious' traffic problems

Hagerstown receives 4.5 inches of snow

February 22, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Melvin Price, of Hagerstown, helps a stuck motorist get up a hill on East Franklin Street near Hagerstown's City Hall on Tuesday.
By Dan Dearth/Staff Writer

TRI-STATE — A winter storm that began Monday night and dropped more than 4 inches of snow in the region did not cause major traffic problems, law enforcement officials said.

Maryland State Police Sgt. S. Cain said troopers didn't handle a lot of accident calls during the storm.

"We didn't have anything real serious," Cain said. "We just had a lot of abandoned cars and vehicles in ditches."

The Snow Emergency Plan in Washington County was lifted at 9 a.m. Tuesday for interstates 70 and 81 only, and at 1:30 p.m. for the rest of the county, state police said.

State Highway Administration spokesman Geoff McCammon said 74 of the 2,000 vehicles that the state had on Maryland's roadways during the storm were in Washington County.

"I think the crews did an excellent job," McCammon said.

He said the state didn't pretreat roads with salt brine, a liquefied salt solution that prevents ice and snow from forming, because the rain that fell Monday would have washed it away.

Ed Plank, director of the Washington County Highway Department, said low temperatures early Tuesday caused snow on the roadways to pack, making it difficult to remove. He said he was concerned that snow that melted Tuesday would refreeze, causing slick conditions overnight.

Thursday's weather could make things even worse if the forecast is accurate and an inch of rain falls.

"A little rain would be OK," he said. "We don't need an inch of rain. It would melt the snow and flood."

Pennsylvania and West Virginia State Police reported a few minor accidents on roadways after the storm started Monday night.

By noon Tuesday, the main thoroughfares in downtown Hagerstown were clear or nearly clear of snow. Side streets remained snow-covered or slushy, however.

McCammon said there were some incidents overnight of tractor-trailer rigs stopped on South Mountain on I-70, but the mountain was not shut down as a result. He said the disabled trucks had been moved by Tuesday morning.

Hagerstown received 4.5 inches of snow from the storm, according to weather observer Greg Keefer's website, That was less than the 5 to 7 inches forecasters had expected.

In Franklin County, Pa., Franklin County Emergency Medical Services reported that its personnel responded to eight traffic accidents between about 6 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Monday.

Most public school systems in the Tri-State area, including Washington County, were closed Tuesday. Area colleges and universities opened late Tuesday morning or early in the afternoon.

Washington County government opened on time Tuesday morning, and liberal leave was in effect for employees.

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