Snow showers and plunging temperatures combined last night to glaze roadways across Central Maryland with ice, causing numerous accidents and - in some areas - bringing traffic to a near-standstill.
Police departments said there were too many accidents to count as the unexpected snow fell, wetting roadways just before temperatures dropped into the 20s and leaving a thin, dangerous layer of ice.
A state trooper was injured while directing traffic on Route 27 at Cabbage Spring Road in Mount Airy in Carroll County, and was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment of leg injuries, police said.
In Howard County, portions of Interstate 70 and U.S. 29 were nearly impassable, and salt trucks had difficulty reaching affected areas, because so many vehicles were unable to move, state police reported.
Many vehicles were stuck on ramps, police said.
From Westminster to Golden Ring on the Baltimore Beltway's east side, in Northeast Baltimore and through Harford County, police reported glazed roads and accidents - most of them minor.
Neal DiPasquale, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., said temperatures in the Baltimore area dropped from the lower 30s about 6:30 p.m. to the upper 20s by 7 p.m., about the time the rash of accidents began.