In Metro Area, Weather Proves Dangerous Even Without Much Accumulation
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — While the late-winter snow storm that blew through the D.C. region didn’t live up to the hype, accumulation-wise, it did prove to be quite dangerous for some.
A combination of storm-related factors killed at least one Virginia resident, left hundreds of drivers in need of police assistance and displaced a Maryland family Wednesday.
Virginia State Police say officers responded to 367 traffic crashes and 237 disabled vehicles from midnight to 10 a.m. Wednesday.
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Traffic conditions could have been worse, but Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency and directed state agencies to let employees work from home. Still, about 50 National Guard soldiers were sent out to help clear roads.
While there were no fatalities resulting from road conditions, a 52-year-old Fauquier County man died while trimming a tree that sustained damage during the storm. The tree fell on Joseph John Brozina’s head and killed him instantly, according to the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
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In Maryland, four adults and three children were displaced after a large tree fell on their two-story home on the 6100 block of District Avenue in Seat Pleasant. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department said high winds and soft, wet ground probably caused the tree to fall.
The wind that came along with the storm was perhaps more concerning than the precipitation elsewhere in Maryland, as well.
The Bay Bridge was closed in both directions around 2:30 p.m. due to high winds. Earlier in the day, two lanes of the westbound span of the bridge were shut down due to an overturned tractor trailer. The bridge reopened around 6:20 p.m.
The severe weather largely spared the District, yet the typically bustling city had all but shut down because officials didn’t want a repeat of 2011, when a rush-hour snowstorm stranded commuters for hours.
The Baltimore-Washington area’s last major snowstorm struck Jan. 26, 2011. It hit Washington during the evening rush hour, causing some motorists to be stuck in traffic nearly overnight. It dropped 5 inches on Washington and 7.8 inches on Baltimore, knocked out power to about 320,000 homes and contributed to six deaths. The federal government later changed its policies to allow workers to leave their offices sooner or to work from home if major storms are expected.
The roughly 300,000 federal employees inside the Beltway and in surrounding counties were treated to paid snow day Wednesday.
Some of the Metro region’s outlying counties did see significant snowfall.
Virginia’s western suburbs saw accumulations of 9 inches or more, but traffic was relatively light and plow trucks came through repeatedly.
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