A freezing, early-morning rain created havoc on the roads in Queens Sunday, forcing the closure of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel for a short while and a string of fender-crunching accidents from one end of the borough to the other.
A spectacular pile-up on the Cross Island Expressway ramp to the Long Island Expressway involved at least 15 cars in the narrow, walled roadway and halted traffic for hours.
A seven-car smack-up on Metropolitan Avenue at the entrance to the Jackie Robinson Expressway in Forest Hills involved a city bus — one of the nearly 60 accidents involving buses around the city, according to news reports.
No injuries were reported in the Forest Hills accident and, according to police, most of the damaged cars were able to limp away from the scene of broken glass and splintered plastic under their own power.
Initial reports from Breaking News Network recorded more than half a dozen multi-car accidents in Queens between 7 a.m. and noon Sunday, though no series injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, scores of calls asking for help with pedestrian slip-and-fall injuries flooded EMS, city officials said. Those brave enough to venture outside heard a steady background of ambulance sirens throughout the morning.
The treacherous weather seemed to have caught officials by surprise. Temperatures were predicted to be above freezing Sunday morning. But when the rain began to fall, it froze quickly as it hit the cold ground, creating black ice that was not immediately visible on roads and sidewalks.
Officials insisted several hundred salt trucks had been out since Saturday night, but they did not seem to have reached enough roads to prevent the wide scale of accidents.