Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Heavy snow early Wednesday afternoon turned to rain within a few hours in parts of Anne Arundel County creating messy road conditions. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Authority (MDOT SHA) has issued a warning of freezing roads Wednesday night, as the sun sets and temperatures drop.
Multiple incidents were visible in the Severna Park-area of the county, with one intersection accident, and at least two cars sliding off the roads in separate incidents, observed within the space of two hours.
"There were a large number of cars sliding off the roads and collisions between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.," reported Sergeant Kam Cook, Director of Media Relations for the Anne Arundel County Police Department. "(With) any sort of winter weather mix we always want to use caution and give extra space between cars."
Cooke said there had only been a few formally reported accidents though just past 4:30 p.m. A drive on area roads in the county in late afternoon revealed many drivers taking it slow, presumably to avoid the issues that some less fortunate drivers had already run into.
Although many Marylanders seemed to be managing with the sudden onset of winter conditions today, MDOT SHA were concerned enough about overnight conditions to issue a press release.
“With temperatures overnight expected to be below freezing throughout much of the State, we are asking people if they must travel, to please slow down and use extreme caution,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith.
“We will continue treating the roads, but it is important to expect conditions to be slippery, especially on ramps, overpasses and bridges.”
MDOT SHA stated snow continues to fall at moderate rates across Maryland west of the I-95 corridor, while widespread rain is currently falling in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.
The heaviest snow fall rates should taper off later tonight or early tomorrow morning, the department expected. According to the National Weather Service, there will be periods of rain, sleet and snow in parts of the State overnight with associated wind gusts and temperatures below freezing in many areas.
Snow Emergency Plans are in effect for Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Washington counties.
Should motorists come upon an unlit traffic signal due to a power outage, MDOT SHA advised, state law requires all traffic to stop and treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
The department advised motorists that every vehicle handles differently; which is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads.
For current, real-time travel information, visit md511.org.
--compiled from phone interview, press release, and on-scene photo-coverage
PHOTOS: Severna Park Maryland Area, Tuesday December 16, 2020