Tragedy outdoors, danger on the roads

Photo credit: Kevin Lewis

(WJLA) - For Keith Scott, his nephew Gerrod, and countless other Northern Virginia residents, the race is on to clear a path.

The latest in a string of winter storms dumped several inches of snow in Scott’s neighborhood on Monday. Now, residents are moving fast as temperatures are expected to dip into the single-digits overnight.

What’s flaky and fluffy now will soon be frozen and icy. Crews positioned at area schools are working feverishly so drivers and pedestrians alike can safely navigate to class.

But the process takes time, and while they’re making progress at Herndon High School, just down the road, Herndon Elementary hasn’t been touched.

In our region’s effort to dig out, our first line of defense starts with people like Jeff Penn:

"I'm plowing up this snow, trying to make it easy for people to get around."

He knows taming the storm will be a challenge with the layer of ice underneath the snow.

Meanwhile in Bowie, the storm led to a tragedy in a cul-de-sac near Glenn Dale Road. A woman described by a neighbor as older and in good shape reportedly had a heart attack from shoveling at this home.

Prince George’s County Fire says that she later died.

There is also danger on the roads after a day littered with accidents like this overturned tractor trailer on Route 50, and as night falls, things are becoming scary again.

"Certainly the colder temperatures and the possibility of icy conditions, it's a dangerous combination," says Lora Rakowski, spokesperson for the Maryland State Highway Administration.

At the MDSHA operations center, they are monitoring snow everywhere from the Eastern Shore to the western mountains – and D.C. in between.

The concern now is road surface temperatures becoming so cold that regular road salt won't work.

"Salt is generally effective to about 20 degrees, and into the teens," explains Rakowski.

"The closer I get to get to my neighborhood, the worse the roads are getting," says Bowie resident Monica Williams.

Walking is no picnic either.