Showers bring accidents, not relief

Too brief to affect drought, rain causes serious wrecks

August 25, 2002|By Ariel Sabar and Laura Vozzella | Ariel Sabar and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF

Thunderstorms briefly moistened a parched Maryland yesterday, sending autos spinning across highways but doing little to ease the long drought.

A morning downpour dropped one to two inches across northern Maryland, and afternoon thunderstorms whipped up winds that blew over trees in Charles County.

But what most Marylanders experienced was a hot, humid day leavened by a teasing drizzle. It was the first in more than two weeks, with Baltimore-Washington International Airport registering a trace and the Inner Harbor recording a little over a half-inch.

The spattering of raindrops on windshields may have stirred memories of wetter days, but they did little to nudge the state away from a historic drought that has browned lawns and dried streams.

"To make even a dent in the surface is going to take a long, soaking rain, which we're not going to get" anytime soon, Calvin Meadows, a technician at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., said yesterday evening.

Forecasters say Tuesday night and Wednesday will offer the next shot at rain, as moisture ventures north from the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday's rain probably made its biggest statement on the highways, with slick roads contributing to a number of accidents.

A tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 95 in East Baltimore in the morning, closing a stretch of the highway for about three hours.

The truck, carrying wood cabinets, flipped about 8:30 a.m. on northbound Interstate 95 just south of Interstate 895, said Teri Moss, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority.

No one was hurt. But traffic was detoured onto Moravia Road until the highway reopened about 11:20 a.m.

A minibus carrying a church youth group flipped on Interstate 95 in Prince George's County, sending all 32 passengers and the driver to area hospitals with mostly minor injuries. Two passengers, children ages 8 and 13, had bumps on the head that were being treated as serious injuries, but they did not appear to be life-threatening, said Major Kirk Jackson, of Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services.

The bus was transporting the group from Elizabeth, N.J., to Prince George's County, where the children were scheduled to play soccer and volleyball against a local church team, Jackson said.

The bus overturned onto the shoulder about 8:15 a.m. as it was exiting southbound I-95 onto eastbound Interstate 495 near College Park.

A 41-year-old Randallstown woman died in another rain-related accident on Interstate 695 about 6:55 a.m. Robin Kim Cook and her husband, Randy, were driving north near Reisterstown Road when their 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier apparently hydroplaned during a lane change, state police said. The car spun 90 degrees and struck a northbound pick-up truck, police said.

Randy Cook, 44, was transported to Sinai Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

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