It shut down schools and county governments. It made the morning commute a tortuous slip 'n' slide. It kept local police scrambling from one accident to the next.
But a fast-moving snowstorm Thursday and Friday night could not stop a baby boy from coming into the world, albeit awkwardly and with the help of volunteer firefighters in the back of an ambulance sloshing along the sloppy road.
At least six inches of snow caused treacherous driving conditions across Southern Maryland and may have been responsible for as many as 75 accidents Thursday night and Friday, authorities said.
Even emergency vehicles had to take it slowly, and that's what happened when Bryans Road volunteer firefighters received a call about 4:40 a.m. Friday for a mother in labor.
Paul Tackish, a firefighter, said the ambulance could safely go only about 30 mph. When they arrived at the Bryans Road home, it was clear the baby was due soon.
"We had it set in our head -- she's either going to have this baby at the house or in the back of the ambulance," Tackish said.
The baby held off long enough for his mother to get into the ambulance, but not by much. It was not the ideal spot for a birth, Tackish said.
"There were some turns where the driver said, 'Hold on.' We had to go down a big hill and over some railroad tracks. I would say it was scary," Tackish said.
Just as Tackish, 17, a McDonough High School senior, had finished preparing equipment for the birth, the woman had a final contraction and the child was born at 5:20 a.m. with the help of Lt. Kim Thompson, a Bryans Road rescue squad volunteer.
Tackish, who finished his emergency technician classes two months ago, cut the newborn's umbilical cord and cleaned fluids out of his breathing passages before the newborn began crying.
"That's the best thing you can hear; a baby screaming its head off means it's breathing good," Tackish said. "I was like, 'Good, baby, good.' "
About 10 minutes later, the ambulance arrived at Civista Medical Center in La Plata, where mother and child were doing well, said officials, who declined to identify them.
-- Michael Amon