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Icy conditions create travel nightmare in D.C., Baltimore regions

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.

Southbound I-95 has reopened at the site of the deadly gas tanker crash in Baltimore that caused a 55-car accident. Northbound I-95 remains closed thanks to the massive wreckage of cars and trucks.

The Virginia State Police are confirming that 23 vehicles, including two-tractor trailers, were involved in a 5:12 a.m. crash on the Beltway that sent four people to the hospital. One man walked away from his disabled vehicle during that crash and was killed near the northbound shoulder of the highway about a mile north of the accident, according to police.

UPDATE: 12:00 p.m.

The Beltway in Virginia have reopened and the diversion through the Beltway Express lanes has ended after a fatal accident in Gallows Road early this morning stopped traffic.

Because of the deadly crash in Baltimore early this morning, I-95 remains closed at Caton Avenue in both directions. Fifty-five cars were involved in the northbound crash, and 40 still have yet to be removed from the roadway. Southbound, debris is blocking the roadway.  The Baltimore Fire Department has confirmed that the two people killed in the crash were the driver of the gas tanker that overturned and the driver of another vehicle, who was hit by debris.

UPDATE: 11:10 a.m.

Two runways at Dulles International Airport have now reopened.

The left lane of the Beltway at Gallows Road where a fatal crash occurred this morning has reopened, Fairfax police said, and so has I-66 at Route 50. But roads remain slick and traffic backed up.

UPDATE: 10:50 a.m.

Metrobus service has been restored:

However, delays of 30 to 60 minutes throughout the system are expected. The National Zoo will open at noon today. Alexandria’s City Council meeting has been postponed to 1:30 p.m. All Prince George’s County School events scheduled for today have been cancelled. An “Ugly Holiday Sweater” 5K run set to take place in D.C. today has also been cancelled.

UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service has updated its storm advisory for the area. While warmer air is moving in, the winter weather advisory remains in effect until noon.

D.C. police are recommending residents stay indoors for now:

UPDATE: 10:10 a.m.

Metrobus, which was set to open at 10:30 a.m., will remain closed indefinitely. Safety officials around the area say temperatures are not rising as quickly as expected, leaving roads still dangerous. While Metrorail is running, a track problem outside Stadium Armory means no service between Eastern Market and Cheverly on the Orange Line, Eastern Market and Addison Road on the Silver Line, and Eastern Market and Addison Road on the Blue Line.

But Dulles Airport, previously completely closed, has opened one runway:

Reagan Airport stayed open all morning despite the storm but is warning fliers of delays as planes need to de-ice before taking off.

UPDATE: 9:40 a.m. While the bad weather has cleared, accidents from early this morning and icy roads mean travel in much of the D.C. and Baltimore regions remain at a standstill. The Maryland Transportation Authority is confirming one death on Interstate 95 due to a crash that occurred at 5:22 a.m. between a tractor-trailer and another vehicle near the Bayview neighborhood of Baltimore about twenty minutes earlier. Southbound I-95 traffic is being diverted onto nearby roads, but drivers on northbound lanes are simply stuck on the road due to a multivehicle accident at Caton Avenue, according to MTA spokesman Tamory Winfield. A tanker truck appeared to go over the side of the highway and catch fire. Two people were killed, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department, 12 people were transported to nearby hospitals, and at least 50 cars were involved in the ensuing pile-up. In Virginia, authorities are estimating that the main lines of the Capital Beltway will not open for another hour after a crash involving at least one death.

UPDATE: 9:15 a.m. Virginia State Police are investigating 31 traffic crashes across the Northern Virginia region. On Interstate 495 near Exit 49 in Fairfax County, state police are investigating a fatality after a multivehicle crash that occurred at 5:12 a.m.. Although the northbound lanes were set to reopen soon and tolls on the 495’s Express Lanes have been lifted to ease traffic, motorists are advised to use an alternate route to avoid congestion and delays. Events around the region were delayed or postponed because of road conditions.  An EMT class at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the University of Maryland was canceled. Sesame Street Live’s “Elmo Makes Music” show, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at Eagle Bank Arena, was rescheduled for Sunday.

UPDATE: 8:45 a.m. Metro has suspended bus operations due to icy conditions. Metrorail continues to run.

UPDATE: 8:40 a.m. Icy conditions not only made roadways treacherous but deadly Saturday morning, with multivehicle accidents reported in Washington and Baltimore. At least two people were reportedly killed and 11 injured in a multicar pileup on Interstate 95 south of Baltimore, according to WJZ-13. At least 40 vehicles and a tanker truck were involved in the accident, and all lanes in both direction are closed. WBAL posted a video of the fiery crash:

[GRAPHIC] This is video of a fuel tanker sliding over the rail on I-95 this AM and EXPLODING shortly after. (via Marvellous Amasiacu) #WBAL — Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenezWBAL) December 17, 2016

Traffic is being detoured onto I-295 and I-395, the Maryland Transportation Authority said.

UPDATE: 8:08 a.m.

Flight operations at Dulles International Airport haves been suspended due to ice on the runways.

The Northern Virginia airport says accumulation of freezing rain has made surrounding roads impassable and advise travelers to check with their airlines to see if their flights have been canceled or delayed.

Flights are taking off and landing at Reagan National Airport, but many roadways leading to the Arlington airfield are reported as treacherous.

Flight operations also continue at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, but some flights have been canceled or delayed, the airport says.

Transportation officials pleaded with drivers to delay trips until at least 9 a.m. Saturday as precipitation turned frozen pavement into treacherous ice-covered roadways.

All lanes of the inner loop of the Capitol Beltway at Gallows Road were closed due to a multivehicle accident, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The icy conditions even made travel for emergency vehicles treacherous. A fire engine, responding to an accident call on Interstate 66, slid off Route 50, according to Fairfax County police.

A multiple vehicle accident was reported near the I-66 and Route 50 intersection, with multiple lanes closed.

Multiple lanes were also closed on I-395 at King Street due to another accident.

And westbound Dulles Toll Road was closed due to an accident at Centreville Road.

In Maryland, I-95 outside of Baltimore has been turned into a parking lot in both directions due to a multiple accidents.

The wintry weather that moved in overnight was forecast earlier in the week. Temperatures are expected to rise through the morning.

The National Weather Service has extended its winter weather advisory until noon.