Crews able to keep up with snow on roads But weather-related crash results in baby's death


Despite a winter storm that brought as much as 20 inches of snow to parts of Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, and less elsewhere, roads were cleared quickly yesterday, travelers experienced few delays and almost normal crowds showed up at area malls.

Most main roads in Maryland were clear by yesterday afternoon, and public works officials throughout the region expected to finish plowing secondary roads by midnight.

Officials in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore reported passable roads yesterday afternoon.

By 8 p.m. yesterday, Anne Arundel, Howard, Calvert, Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's and Talbot counties remained under a state of emergency, according to State Highway Administration spokesman Chuck Brown.

Baltimore authorities called off the Phase I state of emergency at 9 p.m. yesterday, according to Public Works Director George G. Balog. That phase, which began at 6 a.m. Friday, required that all vehicles on the roads be equipped with chains and snow tires and approved radials.

The snow fell in two stages, one storm early Friday and the second late that night and early yesterday, which helped crews keep up with accumulation.

"We were able to get the [main] roads plowed before the second storm came," said Betty Dixon, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works.

One snow-related fatality was reported.

A 16-month-old baby who was sitting on his sister's lap was killed late Friday when the van they were in spun out of control, hit a curb and flipped over on snow-covered Route 198 near Laurel, Anne Arundel County police said.

Michael Gerald Anderson of the 14600 block of Shiloh Court in Laurel was pronounced dead at the scene. Theresa Anderson, 33, the baby's mother, who was driving the van, and four other passengers were treated for minor injuries at Laurel Regional Hospital and released.

Police throughout the region said they were busy yesterday morning and afternoon handling fender-bender accidents and calling tow trucks to get disabled cars off snow emergency routes.

With most of the snow out of the way, the State Highway Administration will shift to dealing with sub-freezing temperatures expected over the next few days, said Mr. Brown. State workers are ready with 100,000 tons of salt and 125 gallons of liquid magnesium chloride, which helps the salt keep water from freezing at temperatures below zero.

Only a few travel delays were attributed to the storm.

Greyhound canceled service to the Eastern Shore and to points south of Washington for much of yesterday. By last night, service to Richmond, Va., was restored.

The few flight delays at Baltimore-Washington International Airport were caused by weather conditions in other cities, according to airport spokeswoman Carol Riley.

And travelers seem to have learned from the blizzard last month. "Passengers have heard it so much now that they automatically call the airlines now before coming out here," Ms. Riley said.

A few Mass Transit Authority buses were diverted from their routes early yesterday, but for the most part, buses, light rail and MARC trains ran as scheduled, according to a spokesman.

Malls reported a steady flow of shoppers yesterday.

"We have had just a slight decline," said Linda Dreyer, marketing director for St. Charles Town Center in Waldorf, where about 17 inches of snow fell.

The multimillion-dollar cost of cleanup statewide will add to a snow-removal bill for the State Highway Administration that already is more than $10 million over budget. Administration officials will calculate the latest costs this week, Mr. Brown said.

Public works officials in Baltimore estimated that the cleanup will cost about $500,000, while those in Harford County estimate the cost at $280,000 or more. Other counties did not have cost estimates yesterday, but some officials said their counties are hoping for state and federal help.

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