Leonard McFall, who pushes his broomalong the cavernous arcade of the Tyson's Corner shopping center, said he could tellfrom the lack of litter that yesterday was different.
"Usually, by 2 p.m. the place is packedwith so many people, you've got to dodgeto get around them," he said. But the usualthrong of Saturday shoppers appeared tohave stayed home yesterday because of icyroads that promised only tortuous driving. A sign outside the huge Fairfax shoppingmall spoke to the fears of those who daredto venture out, "You're important to us. Take Care!"
At Irving's Sports Shop inside the mall,the best selling items were long underwear,boots and ski gloves, as Washington arearesidents reaced to bitter weather thatturned from snow, to sleet, to freezingrain by yesterday morning. The precipitation had covered trees and roads witha thin, glassy coat of ice.
Despite the hazardous road conditions,police reported surprisingly fewaccidents. "It's quiet and skiddy," aFairfax County policeman said, butthe usual response in area police departmentswas that "people must bestaying home."
Arlington police reported a fourhourspate of 14 minor accidents thatbegan at 7:30 a.m. and the VirginiaState Police reported one fatal crashat 6:15 a.m. A car driven by HaroldA. White, 71, of Annandale, apparentlyskidded on a patch of ice while headednorth on Rte. I-495 near Rte. 50 andstruck a concrete barrier, police said. White was pronounced dead at FairfaxHospital.
Two men were killed yesterdayafternoon when their car swerved,possibly because of ice, into an oncomingpickup truck on Steed Roadin southern Prince George's County,police said.
Dead at the scene were the driver,Guenter Horst Genatowski, 46, of6104 Woodlawn La., Clinton, andHans Bernard Treichel, 37, of 150733rd St. NW, police said. The driverof the pickup was treated for minorinjuries, they said.
Virginia Electric & Power Co. officialsreported that errant drivers hadknocked down several utility poles,but that the sheet of ice that beganforming on power lines Friday nighthad caused no major blackouts.
Prince George's County police closeda section of Livingston Road nearOld Fort Road for 24 hours in theearly afternoon when water from afire hydrant that had been struck bya skidding car washed out part ofthe roadway.
In Fairfax City and elsewhere policesaid many hilly side streets were difficultto navigate even with tirechains.
A National Weather Service forecasterat National Airport said snow,which began falling about 2:30 a.m. Friday, totaled 7 of an inch there butreached depths of about 2 inches inparts of Loudoun and Montgomerycounties.
The snow turned to sleet and freezingrain late Friday night, the forecastersaid, after warm air moved infrom the South, trapping cold air nearthe ground and turning rain to icewhen it landed on trees and parkedcars. Temperatures rose yesterdayfrom 29 degrees just after midnightto 40 degrees at 4:10 p.m. and are expectedto climb to over 50 degreesthis morning.
The weather service forecasts partialclearing for today, with a newcold air system moving windy, colderweather in from the Great Lakesregion later in the day.