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Wintry mix keeps road crews busy, affects school schedules

January 28, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Traffic moves along Antietam Street in Hagerstown on Monday morning as a light freezing rain fell.
By Caleb Calhoun/Mobile Journalist

A wintry mix of sleet, freezing rain and rain fell across Washington County on Monday morning, sending out road crews and prompting school systems to close or delay classes.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Washington County and surrounding counties.

The temperature had moved just above freezing, at 32.4 degrees, by 10:42 a.m., according to the website of Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer at http://i4weather.net.

By 10:42 a.m., .21 of an inch of precipitation, had fallen since the weather system moved in to the area, the website shows. Of that, .1 was in the form of snow and/or ice.

Many Tri-State area schools, including most Washington County Public Schools, were operating on two-hour delay Monday, but a number of school systems were closed.

Schools in Hancock were closed, as were schools in Chambersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro and Fulton County in Pennsylvania. and Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia. Urbana Elementary School in Frederick County, Md., was closed due to lack of heat. Gateway Christian Academy and Mt. Aetna Adventist Elementary School also were closed.

Hagerstown Community College and the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown were to open at 10 a.m. Shippensburg University and Blue Ridge Career and Technical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., were closed. Other postsecondary schools in the area were opening on a delayed basis.

Washington County Highway Department Director Ed Plank said that all plow trucks were sent out around 3 a.m. to treat the roads by laying down salt but that road conditions “are not too bad.”

“It’s icy in some spots like near Hancock and Cascade, and some of the subdivisions are a little slick,” Plank said. “If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home, and if you have to go somewhere, drive slowly. Hopefully we’ll get everybody to work safely.”

Snow, freezing rain, and rain that froze on the surface all hit the county overnight, Plank said.

The salt is having an immediate effect.

“I hope we’ll have everything treated in the next couple hours,” Plank said. “Sidewalks and any untreated surfaces are still icy.”

A supervisor for Washington County Emergency Services said that there are no serious accidents affecting traffic in the county as of 7:10 a.m. Monday. She said there had been fewer than five minor accidents  in the county Monday morning.

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Emergency services dispatchers in the Tri-State area said Monday morning that they handled the typical number of minor accidents associated with icy roads.

Accidents appeared to be tapering off in Washington County a little before 9 a.m., a Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher said.

Fender-benders were reported In Berkeley County, W.Va., particularly on Dry Run Road west of Martinsburg, a Berkeley County Emergency Services supervisor said.

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