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Wintry mix creates power outages, slick roads

March 07, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Police were at the scene of an accident Monday morning near the intersection of West Wilson Boulevard and Maryland Avenue in Hagerstown.
By Dan Dearth/Staff Writer

HAGERSTOWN — — A winter storm that began Sunday dropped about 1.53 inches of rain in the Hagerstown area, topped by 2 inches of snow and ice that fell overnight.

The storm left about 1,400 Washington County residents without electricity early Monday, according to Potomac Edison’s website. Power to most of those customers was restored by 9 a.m., according to information on the website.

In Hagerstown, hundreds of customers lost power when a vehicle slid into a utility pole at about 4:45 a.m. Monday and knocked out electricity for several hours, a Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher said.

It was uncertain whether all of the power outages were caused by the accident near the intersection of Dual Highway and Eastern Boulevard, the dispatcher said. Power was restored by 8:15 a.m.

Emergency Services reported numerous minor accidents across Washington County, including one that involved several cars at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and West Wilson Boulevard in Hagerstown.

Washington County Highway Department Director Ed Plank said road crews started working on the roads at about 2 a.m. Monday.

“There was a period when the roads started to ice over and it got pretty dicey,” Plank said. “But all in all, I think it turned out pretty good.”

Plank said road crews found that the snow accumulation varied in different areas of the county. The Cascade, Broadfording and Clear Spring areas received about 4 inches of snow and ice, Plank said.

Snow removal went well because the surface temperature of the roads was fairly high before the storm hit, he said.

Washington County was in pretty good shape to handle any more late-winter storms, Plank said.

“We have enough salt to handle two or three storms,” Plank said.   

Hagerstown Public Works Director Eric Deike said eight city dump trucks hit the streets at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

He said road crews addressed a few areas Monday morning, but temperatures were expected to rise and melt much of what was on the ground.

“I doubt that we’ll do too much more today,” Deike said Monday.

Deike said the City of Hagerstown has about 1,000 tons of salt in storage, which is about enough to handle three storms.

“We have a full bin,” he said. “They finally delivered what we ordered.”

Rain changed to a wintry mix of snow and ice Sunday night, leaving 2.0 inches on the ground, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer’s website at http://i4weather.net.

Schools in Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland, and most schools in Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylania, operated on two-hour delays Monday.

Flood warnings were in effect in Washington County until about noon Monday. No serious flooding problems were reported, according a 911 dispatcher and National Weather Service meteorologist Carrie Larsen.

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