Lauryn Ricketts

Storm Team4: Refreeze Creates Slick Conditions

Government offices closed Monday

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Federal, D.C., Maryland and Virginia government offices will be closed Monday as officials encourage residents to stay off the roads and allow the blizzard cleanup effort to continue.

The Office of Personnel Management announced federal offices in the D.C. area will be closed Monday, but emergency and telework employees required to work must follow their agency's policies.

“We want to have tomorrow to continue to keep cars off the road so that we can clear those major arterials and also clear the places where many people who come to our downtown would normally park,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

This storm will easily rank among the region's five worst, and the cleanup is likely to take days, Storm Team4 said. Temperatures across the area plummeted overnight, creating icy conditions on many of the region's roads.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said crews will continue to open up roadways. He said all interstates were open, and secondary streets were being hit very hard to get them open as soon as possible.

He said 13,000 pieces of equipment and 39,000 workers have been clearing roads, pushing snow away from travel lanes. However, he stressed eventually, the snow would have to be picked up and moved.

McAuliffe said the costs of cleaning up the snowstorm would run $2-$3 million per hour, easily making it the most expensive snow event in the state's history.

"Please stay of the roads," the governor said. "Give us the time to do what we need to do."

He said there were more than 1,200 vehicle accidents and five fatalities attributed to the storm.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also ordered all state government offices closed Monday, but emergency and essential personnel should report as scheduled.

Bowser also announced public schools in the District of Columbia will be closed on Monday. The school system is responsible for almost 49,000 students.

Governments are doing what they can to help. Hogan closed interstates 270 and 70 on Saturday so that plows could clear the roads. They reopened shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday, but officials urge drivers to stay off the roads, if possible.

Hogan said at a news conference late Sunday morning that even though the storm has passed and the sun is shining, roads remain "extremely treacherous."

He says all mass and public transit remain offline and said he would decide later Sunday whether state employees will need to report to their jobs on Monday.

Hogan says Maryland has fared well so far, with no traffic fatalities in the storm and fewer than 300 customers still without electricity from a high of 10,000 during the height of the storm.

Virginia and D.C. officials also asked people not to walk in the roads so crews can more easily get the streets cleared. All areas expected major roads to be made passable Sunday, but they said work on side streets and smaller roads could take a couple of days.

Vehicles parked or abandoned on any snow emergency route, or considered to be road hazards, will be removed at the owner's expense. Cars that are in the lane of traffic on any road, and deemed a hazard or a barrier to snow removal, may also be towed.

Metro extended free overnight parking at its garages until Tuesday. Parking gates will remain open through 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and parking fees will go back in effect after that.

Emergency personnel are reassured that there were relatively few power outages. As of early Monday, there were no major outages in northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

But the storm wrought other damage. It's possible that heavy snow led to the collapse of a roof at an apartment building in Manassas, Virginia.

In Frederick County, Maryland, some places saw an astonishing 38 inches of snow, the National Weather Service reported. Jones Springs, West Virginia, had 39 inches.

But places closer to the metro area saw feet of snow as well: More than 36 inches of snow fell in north Potomac, Maryland. More than 29 inches fell in Centreville in vehicles County, Virginia 

And more than 22 inches of snow fell at the National Zoo in northwest D.C. 

In Virginia, state police received calls for 1,374 crashes and 1,883 disabled vehicles between midnight Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday across the commonwealth.

Three people with ties to the area died shoveling snow. A Fort Washington, Maryland, resident died Saturday, Prince George's County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said. The death happened moments after the department published a warning about the dangers ofshoveling snow on Twitter

An 82-year-old man died of an apparent heart attack in D.C. Sunday, police said. 

And a U.S. Capitol Police officer suffered a heart attack at his home in Delaware Saturday.

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

In Stafford County, a baby boy was born at home. A 911 dispatcher talked the father-to-be through the delivery over the phone after the family's' midwife wasn't able to get to their home through the snow. 

The blizzard closed runways at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport through Sunday, but one runway at each airport is expected to open Monday.

More than 200 flights departing from Baltimore Washington International Airport have been canceled, according to Washington Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport are reporting 194 and 188 canceled flights, respectively. 

In total, airlines have now cancelled more than 10,000 flights for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to

A Massive, Historic Blizzard

The storm began quietly, with the first flakes arriving around noon Friday in Manassas and Gainesville, Virginia.

Storm Team4 said projected snowfall totals could put this storm firmly in the top five biggest snowfalls of all time for the region.The biggest snowfall on record is 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.

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.

Public Transportation Shut Down

The entire Metro system was closed 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. Limited service will be restored Monday.

County bus services also closed. Arlington County's ART bus service and Montgomery County's Ride On system will stay closed through the weekend. In Prince George's County, TheBus service has been suspended. 

States of Emergency Declared

D.C., Maryland and Virginia leaders all declared states of emergency, and a snow emergency is also in effect in the district, allowing 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, D.C. had already issued more than 2,700 tickets and towed 187 vehicles.

A state of emergency declaration authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in response to the storm. 

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

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 

[NATL] Blizzard Pushes Snow, Wind Through East Coast

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