Numerous cars left abandoned overnight on the Baltimore Beltway and along other major roads today proved to be a major legacy of yesterday's snowstorm.
Any cars still there today stood a good chance of being towed away, said State Police, who wouldn't even begin to estimate the number of cars left alongside -- and sometimes on -- the roads.
Police said the Beltway between Loch Raven Boulevard and Falls Road was full of cars left overnight on the shoulders and near exit ramps on both sides when their owners were unable to proceed.
"They're all over the place," said a trooper.
Tow trucks had a field day yesterday and last night removing stalled or abandoned vehicles from area highways during the storm.
Even during the storm, vehicles had to be towed away or pushed to the shoulders to give snow plows and salt spreaders plenty of room to operate so that today's rush-hour traffic into the city could move a little more smoothly, said a State Police communications officer.
Unable to navigate the traffic-choked and snow-covered interstates, many motorists simply left their cars, locked the doors and made it home by shank's mare.
Some returned later to find their cars had been towed away.
Police said the cars were towed only if they impeded traffic or prevented the plows from pushing snow onto the shoulders.
Before towing an abandoned vehicle, the State Police first try to contact the motorist who left it.
"We try to cooperate with the public as much as possible," a state trooper said.
The trooper said the barracks has a list of towing companies licensed by Baltimore County and if the State Highway Administration requests that cars be towed, the officers call the companies in rotating order.
City police had their own hands full when northbound traffic on the Jones Falls Expressway was slowed to a crawl for several hours during the storm by motorists whose cars did not have the proper tires for navigating in snow and couldn't make it up the exit ramps at Falls Road or Northern Parkway.
Several of those cars had to be towed away, police said, to make room for the plows.
"They were backed up and parked at crazy angles down past the Cold Spring Lane overpass," said a city police officer.
Traffic along westbound Northern Parkway between Sinai Hospital and the JFX came to a stop during the storm when vehicles couldn't navigate the grade.
Eventually, some of the cars were shoved aside or driven off when the plows and salt trucks got through and cleared a path.
Abandoned cars today lined both sides of the Belvedere hill portion of Northern Parkway between Falls Road and Roland Avenue, always a trouble spot during snow storms. The road was shut completely for several hours last night.
In Baltimore County, some 200 cars were stalled by the weather on slick and curvy Jarrettsville Pike between Dulaney Valley Road and Merryman's Lane between 9:45 and 11 p.m.
Nearly a dozen were towed away, thus making it possible for road crews and their heavy equipment to clear the snow.
On Greenspring Avenue north of Greenspring Valley Road, a Mass Transit Administration bus stalled at the bottom of a snow-covered curve on a steep hill. Several cars also were left along the road there. Road flares were put out at the top of the hill to warn motorists.
Anne Arundel County police said driving conditions improved as the evening wore on and most motorists arrived home with their cars.
Only a few vehicles were towed away, police there said.