Weekend winter weather takes severe toll: Resources and response in Md., Va.

WASHINGTON — Despite pre-treated roads and warnings to delay travel, a blast of winter weather took its toll this weekend.

Though the weather is expected to rise to unseasonably high temperatures Sunday, Saturday’s weather — and the slew of troubles that came with it — offered a glimpse of what winter could bring to the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. areas this season.

From crashes and traffic problems to outages and more, officials, especially in Maryland and Virginia, were slammed with a host of problems that arose, even after preparation and vigilance.

Here’s a look at the resources activated and response to this weekend’s bout of wintry weather by state.


Governor Larry Hogan directed state emergency management, transportation and law enforcement agencies to provide necessary assistance Saturday. Numerous agencies across state collaborated to support the areas that were hit the hardest.

Maryland Emergency Management Agency worked closely with Baltimore City officials in light of the numerous accidents in and around the Baltimore metropolitan area, including the fatal accidents on Interstate 95. Multiple organizations, including MDTA police, MDOT’s State Highway Administration, Baltimore police and multiple fire departments and first responders, rallied in recovery and assist efforts following the I-95 tractor trailer crash, in which 67 vehicles were involved.

The Maryland Transportation Authority  police requested Sunday that any operators, passengers or others involved in the I-95 crash contact the Tunnel Command Duty Station at 410-537-1208 to give police important information that will help them match operators and passengers with the vehicles involved.

Maryland state police had responded to 330 crashes across the state within 24 hours as of 1 p.m. Saturday, officials said in a news release. This was despite the roads being pre-treated with salt and salt brine.

Even after MDOT and MDTA used 1,200 machines to treat area roads with more than 380,000 tons of salt, officials said the rain washed away much of the treatment and reduced the effectiveness of what was left.

“As the winter storm season begins, we urge all Marylanders to use caution when traveling, closely monitor weather and road conditions, heed all warnings from state and local authorities, and have a safety plan in place for emergencies,” Governor Larry Hogan said in the news release. “Maryland remains ready and committed to activating all necessary state resources to keep all Marylanders safe this winter season.”

Maryland officials are continuing to monitor weather forecasts in case of possible refreezing Sunday night into Monday morning.


VDOT issued multiple warnings to prepare drivers for the possibility of icy road conditions, including a list of winter travel safety recommendations.

VDOT also provided multiple online and mobile tools for public use. They asked people to use the Virginia 511 system, which offers telephone, web and smartphone service, to inform themselves of road conditions before taking off.

Their snowplow tracker is another handy tool for the upcoming winter months, with which drivers can find out where plows have been and where they are headed in the northern Virginia and Fredericksburg districts.

Virginia roads are treated with several different materials, including salt, calcium chloride and abrasives such as small gravel or sand.

Despite these preparations, slick road conditions triggered a chain-reaction crash involving 23 vehicles on the Inner Loop of the Beltway, near Gallows Road, Virginia State Police said.

Seventy percent of snow-related deaths occur in automobiles, according to VDOT. While local agencies and officials do their best to prepare local roads for winter travel, VDOT says the safest place during a winter storm is indoors and off the roads.

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