Pileups Reported on Snow-Covered Roads (washingtonpost.com)

From: Jeffrey Kay (jkay@ENGENIA.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 13:23:50 PST

This seems a little gruesome, but I just thought everyone out there in the
rest of the world would be amazed with this -- a 130-car pileup. I can't
recall ever hearing about that many cars in a single pile-up because of a
snow storm. Anyone know what the record is?

jeffrey kay <jkay@engenia.com>
chief technology officer, engenia software, inc.
"first get your facts, then you can distort them at your leisure" -- mark
"golf is an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle"
-- sports illustrated
"if A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y plus Z. X is
work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut." -- albert einstein
Pileups Reported on Snow-Covered Roads
By Leef Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 22, 2001; 2:56 PM

Today's snowstorm has caused an accident involving as many as 130 vehicles
on southbound Interstate 95 in Stafford County.

The massive wreck, one of many that are snarling traffic in and around the
Washington area as snow continues to fall heavily in the region, occurred
around milepost 147, just south of the Prince William County line, according
to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

There have been injuries in the wreck, which involved somewhere between 114
and 130 cars and trucks, Caldwell said. Some drivers have abandoned their
cars along the interstate and Stafford County authorities are setting up
shelters for stranded motorists, Caldwell added.

The snow, still falling heavily at mid-afternoon, is the result of a
low-pressure system barreling out of Tennessee.

Meteorologists predict the region could be blanketed in from three to six
inches of snow by mid-evening.

The white stuff began to fall in Northern Virginia about 10 a.m., causing
several multi-car pileups in addition to the Stafford crash. Virginia State
Police officials said sections of several major interstates are closed and
roadways are paralyzed across the state, including I-81 near Lexington,
where a fatal 20-vehicle wreck has blocked southbound lanes. Authorities are
cleaning up wreckage as well as a hazardous spill from one vehicle involved
in the chain-reaction crash. At least two people are dead, according to the
Virginia State Police.

Police were investigating 15 major accidents on Interstates 95, 395 and 495
in Northern Virginia this morning.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Virginia State Police spokeswoman
Lucy Caldwell. "It just came so quick. Motorists are stranded all over. It
began early, and we're still in the midst of it."

Police are also working on a 10-car pileup on northbound I-95 at the Prince
William County Parkway and the outer loop of the Capital Beltway is closed
at Braddock Road while rescue workers untangle a multi-vehicle crash.

Schools across the region were quick to call early closings in anticipation
of heavy accumulations of snow. Classes in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and
Prince William, Prince George's, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and
Frederick counties as well as those in Alexandria and Manassas elementary
schools are scheduled to close two hours early, with after-school and
athletic activities canceled for the day.

Montgomery and St. Mary's counties and Manassas City secondary schools are
closing two and a half hours early, officials said. Howard County schools
announced they are closing three hours early.

Many school districts made their decisions even before the first snowflakes
started falling in mid-morning. By noon, however, sidewalks and side streets
were already covered by a thin layer of snow, and the flakes were falling

The federal government, however, had no plans to shut down earlier.

"The government is open.... As always, we would assume that individuals are
making the best decision for themselves," said Sandra Payne, spokeswoman for
the Office of Personnel Management.

Employees who wish to leave work early need the approval of their
supervisor, officials said.

"County crews have done a good job of keeping the main streets clear, but
the side streets are getting covered. So, our decision to get those kids out
of this snow was a prudent one," Montgomery schools spokesman Brian J.
Porter said. "It's coming down fast and furious right now."

Metro officials said they have taken the precaution of calling in additional
rail operators in the event more trains are need.

Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports
Authority, said National and Dulles airports continue to operate on treated

"We're seeing some delays and probably some cancellations as the storm
continues here and elsewhere," Hamilton said, noting that bad weather across
the country will affect their operations schedule. She encourages air
travelers to check with their airlines on the status of flights before
heading to the airport.

John Newkirk, a program manager for the National Weather Service said snow
will likely continue to fall until about 8 p.m., affecting areas that
stretch from Augusta, in west-central Virginia, up to Baltimore and the
eastern shore. The storm is expected to move quickly, reaching Cape Cod by

"This could be the most snow we've had all year," Newkirk said, noting that
January saw a total of 2.4 inches. "No doubt about that."

Washington Post Staff Writers Stephen Barr and Manny Perez contributed to
this report.

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