In April, Trotting in Winter Wonderland

An Amish buggy travels Route 236 in Mechanicsville yesterday. Southern Maryland received about four inches of snow during unseasonable downfall.
An Amish buggy travels Route 236 in Mechanicsville yesterday. Southern Maryland received about four inches of snow during unseasonable downfall. (By James A. Parcell For The Washington Post)
By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 8, 2007

You couldn't tell by scanning the fast-moving traffic on Connecticut Avenue in the District or glancing at the powder-specked parks in Montgomery County. But the Washington area's outer counties did get several inches of snow yesterday -- especially in parts of Southern Maryland, where four inches fell.

St. Mary's County felt the brunt of the unusual pre-Easter snowfall. In Leonardtown, three to four inches accumulated by yesterday morning, contributing to four traffic accidents. One resulted in the death of a man who was driving along Jefferson Street, according to Sgt. Philip Joseph of the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office. The man's identity was not released yesterday.

Overall, though, authorities said the region's roads were unaffected by the snowfall, which melted quickly.

"They didn't even plow any of the roads. It stayed pretty clear," said Scott Raley, a supervisor with the St. Mary's County Department of Public Safety. Forecasters had predicted three to five inches in the county, but, Raley said, "I don't think anybody really believed we were going to get much snow."

One aspect of the National Weather Service forecast was slightly off: It had predicted that the District and the region's inner counties would get about one to two inches of snow yesterday morning, said Nikole Listemaa, a senior forecaster with the Weather Service. But the vast majority of Montgomery and Prince George's counties received snowfall ranging from just under a third of an inch in Bowie to 1.3 inches in Oxon Hill; and from nearly half an inch in Potomac to almost an inch in Takoma Park.

Listemaa said the snowfall developed because of a coastal low pressure system that moved up from the Carolinas.

Today's weather in the D.C. area is expected to be partly sunny with a high of 49 degrees. Typical sunny April weather should return by mid-week with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50s and the lower 60s by Friday, Listemaa said.

In St. Mary's, the snow forced people to scrap outdoor plans. Eight of 20 people bailed on their camping reservations yesterday at Point Lookout State Park, which is by the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, according to Blaire Obney, an office administrator at the park. "It was their decision of course, but the weather was supposed to be bad, so I didn't convince them to still come down," Obney said. "They made the right choice. I wouldn't come camping."

Over at the Breton Bay Golf and Country Club in Leonardtown, golfers had been anticipating the start of their annual, single-elimination tournament involving 64 teams from various clubs across the state. But snow blanketed the greens, said Roger Welch, an assistant golf professional at the club.

"We're the defending champions, so it's a big deal to the club," Welch said. "Everybody was ready to go."

One event, however, did go ahead as planned.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade was held in Southeast Washington yesterday. Organizers last year shifted the parade from January to April in hopes of warmer weather. They still didn't get it, but parade participants and onlookers didn't seem to mind.

"Even though it started snowing a little bit, the parade is much better in April than it would have been in January," said D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who had promoted the date change.

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