By Bill Kirk
---- — A snowstorm hit the region as forecast this morning, dropping a couple inches of snow by the time the morning commute started, leading to accidents too numerous to count.
Accidents and spinouts began hitting the region around 5 a.m., and haven't let up since.
Local and state police and fire departments are under siege from 911-callers, including school bus drivers, who are getting stuck "anywhere there's an incline," as one Andover police officer said over the scanner.
The number of accidents is so high that even Coady's towing in Methuen was running out of tow trucks.
"We've got stuff everywhere," said Frank Coady. "The problem is people are driving too fast. It all came at once."
In Andover, a police cruiser crashed near Salem Street while responding to a 911 call from a motorist.
"We have multiple, multiple cars off roads," said Andover Police Lt. Guy. "It's out of control right now."
He said people were sliding off the roads everywhere, but that there were no serious injuries reported.
"It's mostly minor motor-vehicle damage," he said.
One of the first accidents reported in Andover was in front of the IRS on Lowell Street/133 when a transit bus and a car collided. There were no injuries reported. Around 7 a.m. a spinout was reported on South Main Street, but after that, calls for crashes came in fast and furious.
Lt. Guy said the Department of Public Works had a "full complement" of sanders and plows out but that they just couldn't keep pace with the conditions.
In Haverhill, two cars reportedly slammed into utility poles at different locations. In one case, at Corliss Hill Road, the pole landed on top of the car. In the other case, wires were down, blocking the roadway. A car was reported in a ditch on the Ward Hill Connector near the ramp to 495.
Spinouts were reported at 639 Kenoza Road, Guinty Boulevard, and Maplewood Terrace and Mill Street.
Also in Haverhill, a school bus with children passengers collided with a car on Broadway at Monument Street, but there were no injuries.
Route 114 was slick from Middleton into North Andover. At Debush Avenue in Middleton, a Coca-Cola delivery truck got stuck, blocking the road for a short period of time before it could get moving again.
The eastbound side of the road was being diverted up Essex Street to Debush Avenue and back to Route 114. The westbound side was moving, but very slowly, according to Middleton police dispatch.
At one point in Andover, a woman called police to say her car was stuck off Reservation Road, but she wasn't sure where. Police went to find her, but then a cruiser had trouble getting up a hill near Whispering Pines Road.
An announcement went out for police to call in slick roads, prompting a response from one officer who said: "Anything with an incline" is a problem.
The State Police barracks in Andover said earlier in the morning cars were off the road along I-93 northbound, but that I-495 wasn't that bad.
State Police barracks in Newbury, which covers the upper end of 495, reported that there were spinouts all over I-95, but that 495 wasn't as bad.
In North Andover at one point, there were four to six cars stuck sideways on a hill on Great Pond Road.
Sgt. Salois of the North Andover police said, "The roads are miserable."
The storm was forecast to drop up to six inches in the region and isn't expected to let up until later today.
Updates will be posted on eagletribune.com throughout the day and full coverage of the storm will appear in tomorrow's editions of The Eagle-Tribune.