D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser apologized Thursday for the city's "inadequate response" to an inch of snow and ice that crippled the capital city Wednesday night ahead of a major blizzard expected to arrive Friday.
Wednesday's snowfall ground D.C. traffic to a halt, leaving drivers stranded in hours of traffic and causing some to abandon their vehicles. Even the president's motorcade fell victim to slick conditions, sliding around and bumping curbs on the way to the White House from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
"To the residents of the District of Columbia, we are very sorry for an inadequate response," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a news conference Thursday morning. "We believe that we did not provide adequate resources at a time when it could make a difference in last evening's commute."
Bowser said the first road crews were dispatched around 4 p.m. Wednesday, about an hour before the first flakes began to fall.
According to D.C. Department of Public Works Director Chris Shorter, however, many roads were quickly coated and stayed slippery throughout the evening commute.
"We should have been out earlier with more resources. We have a responsibility, and last night we did not meet those goals. For that, I'm very sorry," Bowser said Thursday.
The mayor assured residents the city will be prepared for a blizzard that could bury D.C. in up to 2 feet of snow Friday through Sunday. She called Wednesday's snow response "a pretty significant problem" and a "key learning" experience.
Bowser declared a state of emergency and said the city is treating the storm as a Homeland Security/Emergency Management event. A snow emergency will also take effect at 9:30 a.m. Friday, allowing the city to move cars parked along snow emergency routes.
Crews have already begun pre-treating roads and are prepared with a fleet of plows, loaders, excavators, dump trucks and 39 tons of salt, Bowser said, adding that city officials are coordinating with FEMA and the National Guard.