Ice, snow bring statewide problems

Woman killed in accident

leaking roofs, canceled flights among complaints

February 01, 2000|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

A high of 37 degrees yesterday turned a week's worth of snow, sleet and freezing rain into slush, leaks and storm water, making homeowners and businesses work to keep things dry.

While warmer weather promised a weeklong melt across Maryland, the snow and ice that remained yesterday was blamed in the death of a Harford County woman.

Gertrude Royston, 76, of Baldwin Mill Road in Forest Hill was hit by a truck about 3: 25 p.m. while getting mail from a box in front of her home, said Sgt. William Willis of the state police Bel Air barracks.

Willis said said piled-up snow narrowed the northbound lane in front of Royston's home. Pedestrian error contributed to the accident, he said.

In Hampstead, roofer Wayne Watkins -- like roofers across the state -- had more than a dozen customers complaining in vain yesterday of leaking roofs and dangling gutters.

"I don't have anybody working because everybody's digging out," said Watkins, noting that unplowed driveways and the danger of trying to climb ladders on icy lawns only added to the problem. "Tomorrow we'll go out and start pulling off gutters and chopping ice off the edges of roofs."

"With the drought over the summer, no one had gutter work because there was no rain," said Mount Airy contractor Kirk Phifer. "We expect to have a lot of work coming."

At Cross Keys Tennis Club off Falls Road in North Baltimore, manager Barry Grube fashioned 3-by-8-foot wood and plastic deflectors to keep water from leaking onto tennis courts inside the building.

"It started to drip and drip and drip" Thursday, said Grube, who with his staff made about 20 of the deflectors to route dripping water into buckets around the perimeter of the courts.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport's two main runways were closed between 10 a.m. and 11: 30 a.m. yesterday for ice and snow removal.

A BWI spokeswoman estimated more than 20 cancellations and delays out of 700 flights and expected all to be running as scheduled today.

Hospitals treated dozens of people for weather-related injuries since Sunday, nearly all brought on by slips and falls and cardiac problems.

"This snow is relatively heavy, so we're seeing a lot of back injuries and chest pain," said Kevin Murnane, a spokesman for North Arundel Hospital in Glen Burnie, where 36 people had been treated by yesterday afternoon.

"All that water will freeze again, and we'll see a lot of injuries again," Murnane said.

Yesterday's high was 37 degrees at 3: 30 p.m. The low was 23 degrees at 7 a.m.

The forecast for the week is "thankfully tranquil and uneventful," said James L. Wiesmueller, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sterling, Va.

Lows last night were in the low to mid-20s. By the weekend, Wiesmueller said, a dry flow of warmer air from the west could push highs near 50 degrees.

Some teachers in Howard County embraced the days off for snow at first, but by yesterday were eager to return to class.

"I feel like we're never there," said Doris Zingman, a reading specialist at Atholton Elementary School in Columbia.

Sun staff writers Richard Irwin, Jennifer McMenamin, Marcia Myers, Mike Farabaugh, Eric Siegel, Jamie Smith Hopkins and contributing writer Kimberly Marselas contributed to this article.

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