Enough snow fell last night in the Washington region to cover fields and lawns, car tops and tree boxes with a blanket that seemed deep enough to whiten Christmas.
At the same time, enough ice pellets, sleet and freezing drizzle also came down to coat streets and sidewalks with a treacherous glaze. Dozens of traffic accidents were reported, and one person was killed and another critically injured on Norbeck Road in Wheaton in a multi-car crash, Montgomery County authorities said.
The snow and ice was "a little harder than" forecast, said Bill Rice, a spokesman for the D.C. highway department, which sent a dozen trucks to melt ice on roads and bridges. In Montgomery, 41 trucks were spreading salt and sand or plowing snow, a state highway department communications operator said.
By 10:30 p.m., 1.4 inches of snow was reported in Columbia, 1.25 inches in Hyattsville and an inch in Reston.
"It was supposed to turn over to rain, and it never did," one communications operator said.
The precipitation, brought by a storm that swept across much of the nation, tapered off late last night, but forecasters said more could come today.
With moisture scheduled to pass through in one direction and cold air streaming in from someplace else, meteorologists said the result could again be snow, depending.