Ice, slush, quickly cleared from Maryland roads after storm

Marylanders woke Saturday to a slippery mess of snow, sleet and ice that tapered off by afternoon as temperatures edged past freezing, with few traffic tie-ups and no major accidents reported.

In Baltimore, crews finished plowing all primary and secondary roads in the city by 11 a.m., spreading 275 tons of salt on more than 1,500 miles of pavement. The State Highway Administration reported no problems and bare pavement on most thoroughfares, though a minor early-morning accident on the westbound span of the Bay Bridge damaged a guard rail and closed the right lane, causing traffic to back up for miles for much of the day.

The National Weather Service reports a slight chance for more freezing rain on Sunday but says temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s and even the low 50s this week. There is no significant chance of precipitation predicted for the rest of the week.

Few people lost power Saturday, as there was minimal snow accumulation — less than an inch around Baltimore and up to 2 inches farther north in Bel Air — and only a thin crust of ice on top. Baltimore Gas and Electric reported 578 customers in the dark Saturday morning, out of 1.2 million.

Still, sidewalks were slippery Saturday, some covered in slush. Wayne Aaron, the chief engineer at a downtown Baltimore office building, drove into the city from Pasadena to shovel the walkway.

"I do everything from the elevators to the snow," he said while clearing ice along East Saratoga Street near North Calvert Street. He said roads were clear as he drove in from Anne Arundel County, but he complained that many motorists did not scrape all the snow from their cars.

"This ice just slides off and flies backward," said the 50-year-old Aaron.

Only a handful of people were walking along the Inner Harbor late Saturday morning, the tourists and shoppers outnumbered by workers armed with shovels. It took a die-hard Orioles fan to brave the elements and venture over to Camden Yards on the first day that season tickets were available.

Forget the playoff excitement over the Ravens — Shane Murray drove 90 minutes from his home in West Virginia to buy four season tickets to all 81 Orioles home games, getting a prime spot behind the home dugout.

Murray declined to say how much he paid to watch a team that hasn't had a winning season in more than a decade, deferring comment with a laugh. "It's going to be a basement team this year," he said, pulling an Oriole snow cap down over this head to ward off the spitting rain.

The 33-year-old said he wanted to use the opportunity to buy tickets to take his children, Katie, 9, and Payton, 3, to the Inner Harbor. "This was my only day off, so it was my only chance," he said as he strolled along the waterfront. "The snow wasn't too bad. It got better after I left West Virginia."

Baltimore Sun reporter Steve Kilar contributed to this article.

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