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Winter Blast Caused Treacherous Driving Conditions

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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HANOVER, Md. (WJZ)—The snowstorm is blamed for at least three deaths in Maryland. The treacherous conditions forced hundreds of drivers to leave their cars on the side of the road. Many people are still working on getting their vehicles back Thursday night.

Others spent the day plowing, shoveling and scraping. Some of the toughest cleanup is in the northern counties, where the snow accumulations were the greatest.

Derek Valcourt  is following the snow’s impact on the roads.

The storm slammed Maryland during rush hour, leaving gridlock on almost every major road and cars stranded throughout the region.

Thousands of cars were stuck, unable to move in the quickly mounting snow. Many stuck drivers waited hours for help that never came.

Eventually, many just abandoned their stuck cars and left to find shelter, making it even tougher for those still out to get around.

“It was a perfect storm for a frustrating evening,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

City, county and state officials say the mid-afternoon rainfall prevented highway crews from pre-treating the roads. The heaviest snow fell during rush hour.

“That situation led to more jack knifed tractor trailers than we’ve ever seen in as short a period of time than we’ve ever seen them,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“We had many of our pieces of equipment stuck in the same backups,” said Neil Pederson, State Highway Administration.

It didn’t help that many drivers weren’t prepared for the snow.

“By the time rush hour hit, I don’t think people were being respectful of what was happening,” said Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive. “The snow really hit hard, and people were getting stuck on hills.”

“They were out in cars that did not have the proper tires or four-wheel drive, and they were very ambitious—overly so—which got stuck and made it worse for everybody,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Thursday around the region, plenty of abandoned cars were still stuck in the middle of the road.

“Tried to make a U-turn, hopped up on the sidewalk, and my reverse is burned out,” said Quincy Davis, of Woodlawn.

Officials are asking drivers to collect their towed or abandoned cars.

Baltimore City sent abandoned cars to the PolyWestern parking lot at Cold Spring Lane and Falls Road. They are telling drivers to pick those cars up Thursday night or face a ticket.

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