Many area public schools plan to open late Wednesday as treacherous driving conditions could continue.
With temperatures below freezing, roads were slick Wednesday morning. All public schools in Alexandria, Fairfax County, Prince William, Arlington, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Culpeper counties will open on a two-hour delay to allow crews more time to treat roads. Fauquier County Public Schools and Loudoun County Schools decided to cancel class on Wednesday.
Several school systems across the area issued delays or closed as snow fell across the area early Tuesday morning. But schools in D.C. and most of Northern Virginia opened on time, upsetting some parents and students, especially in Fairfax County. Through much of the morning, #CloseFCPS was a trending topic worldwide on Twitter.
“I think I should be able to stay home because it’s not safe for all the buses to be driving because somebody could get hurt in an incident,” said student Chandler Whitted.
School officials in Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun counties later issued apologies for staying open.
"We apologize for the difficulties the weather caused this morning...The decision was made with the best information we had very early this morning. Needless to say, the conditions were far worse than anticipated," a statement from Fairfax County Public Schools read.
While schools officials in Fairfax County said they were aware some people were calling for school to be canceled, they felt "students are safest at school when parents have not had a chance to make alternate plans."
Officials in Arlington and Loudoun counties echoed the sentiment.
Students and staff in Loudoun and Fairfax counties who could not make it in Tuesday were granted excused absences. Staff who did make it to work in Fairfax County were granted a day of administrative leave to use later in the schoolyear.
Arlington excused students who didn't show Tuesday but a decision on staff hasn't been made.
Metrobus service may be affected Wednesday.
Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer described the system as an over-performer.
“It was a clipper system, which are normally moisture starved,” he said. “This one had some moisture, but that was enhanced once it hit our region. Cold temperatures also helped to provide more snowfall. When temperatures are well below freezing, as they were this morning, you can get more snow from a smaller amount of liquid.”
Buses across the area were late picking up students or had trouble traversing their routes.
Drivers also experienced a treacherous commute Tuesday morning.
Police were called to hundreds of accidents across the region. In Anne Arundel County, authorities responded to 142 accident, many of them fender benders. Most were minor, but one involved an SUV that ran into a tree in Pasadena around 7 a.m.
Police say the car was carrying two students driving to Northeast High School and that both were taken to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. A 17-year-old girl was in critical condition, and a 17-year-old boy had non-life-threatening injuries.
Federal agencies were open Tuesday, but employees have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.
The snow continued to fall in the metro area through midday, with accumulations of three to four inches.
However, in the mountains, some snow showers may continue into the evening, with a few inches possible there.
D.C.'s First Snow of the Year
The colder-than-average weather will stick with us for the rest of the week. The weather will become much colder and very windy Wednesday; highs will only be near 30 degrees. Temperatures will be even colder Thursday, with highs only in the 20s.
Temperatures will gradually warm as the weekend approaches.