Snow-pocalypse

Snowfall tapers late Saturday

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ALEXANDRIA - DECEMBER 19: Drivers try to navigate through heavy snow December 19, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia. Heavy snowfall has blanketed portions of the east coast with the Washington, DC area expecting up to two feet of snow. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    If you're still digging your car out of the driveway or street, you're not alone. A record 16.4 inches of snow hit the Washington, D.C. Metro area Saturday. That beats the previous record of 11.5 inches set in 1932 for largest December snowfall.

    There is still a lot of cleaning and clearing up that needs to be done in the District and the surrounding suburbs to dig the region out from the storm that began late Friday evening and finally tapered off by 11 p.m. Saturday.  

    For those who are shoveling, NBC4 meteorologist Chuck Bell suggested pushing the snow. "Don't dig," he said. "Shoveling snow is a strenuous exercise... take it slow, lift with your knees not your back."

    Expect a winter storm hangover of flurries Sunday morning -- and if you're braving the local roads, get ready to steer very carefully, especially on smaller streets where the snow has been packed down and is harder to drive through.

    If you're one of the faithful, you don't have to worry about going to church Sunday, with several area churches having halted services because of the weather. The Archdiocese of Washington even officially excused local parishioners from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass. You can watch it on TV at 10:30 a.m. on the CW50 instead. 

    The storm has pushed back the Baltimore Ravens home game against the Chicago Bears from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Luckily for the Washington Redskins, they don't play until Monday night, giving workers more time to dig out FedEx Field. Officials said they expect to remove 25 million pounds of snow from the field -- a team record for pregame snow removal, NBC4's Hakem Dermish reported. More than 2,000 workers will be brought in to clear the snow.

    The team prepared for the storm by sending staffers to Buffalo to get an idea of how the Bills handle their snowstorms. The team also contacted other organizations more familiar with snow -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots -- for storm advice.

    Fans attending Monday night's game are encouraged to head to the stadium in the late afternoon because of the weather.

    A high of 29 degrees accompanied the storm, as did significant wind gusts causing blowing and drifting snow. The sun should peek out Sunday afternoon, but expect a high around freezing.

    The snow is likely to stick around for Christmas, as highs aren't likely to get much higher than freezing throughout the week, and there is a lot of the white stuff to melt. It could be a mostly sunny week, but another front might dump some wintry mix on the area on Christmas Day. It doesn't look like it will be snow, but possibly some freezing rain and/or wintry mix.

    The storm was part of a huge system moving up the East Coast and affecting travel from Florida to New England. So any and all holiday travel -- as well as any holiday shopping -- on the East Coast has been problematic for many this weekend.

    By late afternoon Saturday, many shopping centers, Tysons Corner, Fair Oaks Mall and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, had closed their doors because of the snow.

    The storm may have put the kebosh on consumer spending, but it was a welcome respite for others, who took the day to play or sled in the snow.

    The last major blizzard that hit D.C. was the Blizzard of 1996, which happened in January and "paralyzed the East Coast." It covered the Washington with 17.3 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

    If you take pictures of the snow, feel free to share them with News4 viewers and NBCWashington.com visitors by e-mailing them to isee@nbcwashington.com.

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