Weather service warns of ice as winter advisory continues

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the Baltimore area until 1 p.m. Saturday, as rain continues to fall on top of last night's snow, creating an icy mess.

The wintry mix left less than an inch of snow around Baltimore City, but higher accumulations in the outer suburbs, according to observations from the National Weather Service, which lists 1.9 inches near Bel Air and 1.4 inches near Laurel.

Freezing rain will continue to fall in the morning, changing to rain in the early afternoon, the National Weather Service says. About a tenth of an inch of ice could build up on top of what's already fallen. The NWS warns that the ice could make roads treacherous and build up on power lines.

By 7 a.m., snow had given away to a light mix of sleet and freezing rain, coating the roads and cars with a thin layer of crusty ice. Streets were slippery but passible, mostly covered with slush, but few cars and people were on the roads.

Only a handful of diehard shovelers and joggers were in downtown Baltimore this morning, with the Inner Harbor mostly deserted as dawn approached. Authorities were dealing with two road incidents, both in the Washington suburbs. Two right lanes were blocked on the outer loop of the Washington Beltway at Route 450 in Prince George's County because of a disabled tractor trailer. And on I-270 near Falls Road in Montgomery County, a truck hit an overhead sign, forcing police to block two lanes of that highway.

But Chuck Gischlar, a spokesman for the State Highway Administration, said both incidents were cleared by 8:30 a.m. and all lanes reopened. No backups were reported as traffic was light, and Gischlar said that roads throughout central Maryland are for the most part clear.

Still, Gischlar said, "Every now and then, you get someone who spins out, with people going too fast for the road conditions. It's looking really good but the situation is fluxuating. Be careful and don't go too fast. The speed limit is set for ideal conditions an these are far from ideal conditions."

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