Storm Team4: Blizzard Not Done Yet, More Snow Ahead | NBC4 Washington
Storm Team4 Severe Weather Coverage

Storm Team4 Severe Weather Coverage

Storm Team4: Blizzard Not Done Yet, More Snow Ahead

Snow could fall at a rate of up to 2 inches per hour Saturday evening

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said heavy snow will move into the area late Saturday afternoon. (Published Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016)

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is no longer being updated. Please go here for the latest updates.


    Intense snow and wind is expected to continue through Saturday evening as the storm brings more moisture to the area. As a result, runways at D.C.'s Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport are expected to remain closed through Sunday.

    Areas to the north and west of Washington could see an additional seven to 10 inches, while the D.C. metro area may get another four to six inches. All this is on top of what has already fallen since Friday afternoon.

    Seven locations near Washington have unofficially passed the 30 inches of snow mark, as of 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service's running totals. And 36 places recorded at least two feet of snow.

    A trained weather spotter reported 33 inches in Berkeley County, West Virginia. A National Weather Service employee in Frederick, Maryland, and trained spotters in Loudoun County, Virginia, and Jefferson County, West Virginia, all recorded 31 inches of snow.

    Stay with Storm Team4 throughout the day on our News4 app or the weather section of nbcwashington.com to stay informed about the dangerous conditions for people in the area. One person has already died, and his death is being attributed to the weather.

    A Fort Washington resident died Saturday while shoveling snow, Prince George's County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said.

    Brady said the death happened moments after the department published a warning about the dangers of shoveling snow on Twitter

    No other storm-related deaths have been reported in the region at this time. 

    Residents are still encouraged to stay off the streets as the second half of the storm moves through the area. Up to 16 inches of snow have fallen in Washington already, and another 10 inches are possible. Storm Team4 say the heavy snow will continue to fall through 9 p.m. Saturday.

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a press briefing Saturday morning that people should not be driving or walking in the streets, adding, "Please stay home.''

    Bowser said the visibility is poor and people walking in the streets are not easily seen.

    Police Chief Cathy Lanier says even people with four-wheel drive vehicles are getting stuck.

    The heavy snow and strong winds are also affecting travel at area airports. Over 200 flights departing from Baltimore Washington International Airport have been canceled, according to flightaware.com. Washington Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport are reporting 194 and 188 canceled flights, respectively. 

    In total, airlines have now cancelled 8,323 flights for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to FlightAware.com.

    Nearly 1,600 people in Montgomery County, Maryland, are without power, according to Pepco. No other major power outages have been reported in the the D.C. area as of noon Saturday. But with wind gusts of over 40 mph possible, that could change. 

    The storm began quietly, with the first flakes arriving around noon in Manassas and Gainesville, Virginia. By 7 p.m., some areas had already gotten upwards of 5 inches, and it's only going to pick up from there.

    A blizzard warning for the D.C. area is in effect. Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary's counties, where a high wind warning is in effect, could be slammed by gusts of 65 mph.

    Storm Team4 said projected snowfall totals could make this the highest snowfall in D.C. history. Some parts of D.C., Maryland and Virginia could even get as much as 3 feet of snow, which would exceed the deadly 1922 Knickerbocker blizzard, during which 28 inches fell and the weight of the snow collapsed an Adams Morgan movie theater, killing 98 people inside.

    As the storm approached, officials strongly cautioned residents to be home by 3 p.m. and prepared with 72 hours of supplies -- and to stay indoors and off the roads.

    The heavy snow and winds may tear down power lines, force road closures and topple trees. Officials warned D.C. residents who use Pepco that they could face outages that last for days.

    Residents around the region shared images of bare grocery store shelves and gas stations that have run out of fuel during a mad dash to prepare before the storm.

    The National Guard deployed 100 personnel in 30 Humvees to transport essential employees throughout the city. D.C.'s emergency command center went live at 6 am. Friday and will stay live through the aftermath of the storm, likely early next week.

    The blizzard warning won't expire for our area until Sunday at 6 a.m. However, even after the snow stops falling, it will likely take awhile for the region to dig out.

    Public Transportation Shut Down

    Metro announced that its entire system will close for the weekend, with Metrorail service ending at 11 p.m. Friday. Metrobus service shut down at 5 p.m. Friday, and MetroAccess service ended at 6 p.m.

    One woman scrambled to beat the end of Metrobus service, afraid she wouldn't make it from Rockville to Wheaton.

    "I'm just hoping and praying I can make it," she said before ultimately catching the last Metrobus to Silver Spring.

    But another rider, Ben, wasn't so lucky. He works as a care provider at a Rockville nursing home. His shift will end after Metrorail ends at 11 p.m., which means he may have to spend the night at work -- and maybe more than one night.

    "Yeah, I'm prepared," he said.

    County bus services are also closed. Arlington County's ART bus ended service at 1:30 p.m. Friday and will stay closed through the weekend. In Prince George's County, TheBus service has been suspended. Montgomery County's Ride On bus service ended at 7 p.m. Friday and will stay closed through the weekend.

    States of Emergency Declared

    D.C., Maryland and Virginia leaders have all declared states of emergency, and a snow emergency is also in effect in the District. A snow emergency allows transportation workers to clear snow emergency routes curb to curb. Violators face a $250 ticket, a $100 tow and a $25-per-day fee until they pick up their vehicles. By Friday afternoon, the District had already issued more than 2,700 tickets and towed 187 vehicles.

    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for the commonwealth Thursday morning. The declaration authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in response to the storm. 

    McAuliffe said residents should be prepared for travel disruptions and possible power outages. 

    "All Virginians should take the threat of this storm seriously and take necessary precautions now," McAuliffe said Thursday.

    Maryland's state of emergency began at 7 a.m. Friday. The Maryland National Guard will be on standby, Gov. Larry Hogan said. A snow emergency for the entire state began at noon Friday.  

    A "general emergency" has been declared for Montgomery County, where county facilities will be closed until midnight Sunday. Arlington County facilities also closed at noon and will remain closed Saturday.

    To help firefighters, you should clear snow about 3 feet around your nearest fire hydrant.

    Historic Amounts of Snowfall Possible
    Storm Team4 is expecting 20 to 30 inches of snow during this storm -- and that range would put this storm firmly in the top five biggest snowfalls of all time for the region, possibly making it all the way to first place.

    Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said he's confident in the 20- to 30-inch forecast, but said he wouldn't be surprised if some spots got a whopping 3 feet.

    For reference, the December 2009 and February 2010 snowstorms, popularly called "Snowpocalypse" and "Snowmageddon," clocked in at 16.4 inches and 17.8 inches, respectively.

    If we get 24 inches of snow, this storm would be the second-biggest snowstorm of all time, coming in only after 1922's devastating Knickerbocker Blizzard. If we get "just" 18 inches of snow, this storm would unseat the infamous February 2010 snowstorm from its 4th-place spot. 

    In other words, it's highly likely that this snowstorm will be one we'll be talking about for a long time.

    Help for Those Needing Shelter
    Be on the lookout for homeless people, who could get hypothermia during this cold spell. If you see someone in the D.C. area who needs shelter or warmer clothing, call the following numbers: 

    • The District: 202-399-7093 or 311 if calling within the city
    • Arlington County: 703-228-1010 (24 hours)
    • Fairfax County: 703-691-2131 (police non-emergency line)
    • Montgomery County: 311 if calling within the county
    • Prince George's County: 888-731-0999 

     


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