The federal government will be closed Monday, as will the District government.
Several D.C.-area universities will also be closed. D.C. Public Schools will be closed as well, but the system will serve lunch to children at ten locations.
AU Alert: American University will be closed on Monday, January 25, 2016 due to inclement weather. Details to follow.— American University (@AmericanU) January 24, 2016
Georgetown Main Campus, Medical Center and SCS are CLOSED w/ Instructional Continuity on Monday, January 25, 2016 https://t.co/zmjDTEAbT0— Georgetown Univ. (@Georgetown) January 24, 2016
#CUA will be closed tomorrow Monday Jan. 25. Stay warm and safe everyone.— The Catholic University of America (@CatholicUniv) January 24, 2016
CLOSING UPDATE: The University of Maryland, College Park will be closed Mon, Jan 25th & Tues, Jan 26th. Classes will begin Wed, Jan 27.— Univ. of Maryland (@UofMaryland) January 24, 2016
Toward sunset on the first day of full-fledged snow cleanup, Mayor Muriel Bowser reported that D.C. is “making progress” but still has “a lot more to do.” The District government will be closed Monday, the mayor announced, in addition to public schools. Bowser also said that the city had heard of its first snowstorm-related death: that of an 82-year-old man who had a heart attack while shoveling.
Trash will not be picked up Monday or Tuesday, Bowser added. While most arterial (or major) roads have been partially cleared at this point, many secondary and residential roads remain buried under snow. D.C. will provide school breakfasts and lunches to eligible students Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. across 10 to-be-announced locations.
Because temperatures will drop tonight and in the following nights to around 20 degrees, roads could become slick and dangerous, so residents should continue to stay off them, Bowser added. Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel said service would start to return on a “rolling” basis this week.
No word yet on whether the federal government will likewise be closed on Monday. —Andrew Giambrone
Metro says it will operate extremely limited rail and bus service Monday. It will not collect fares.
The rail system, which will only operate underground, will open at 7 a.m.
-Orange Line: Ballston to Eastern Market only
-Red Line: Medical Center to Union Station only
-Green Line: Fort Totten to Anacostia only
At the start of service, trains will run every 20-25 minutes. Service levels may be upgraded as conditions allow. The system will remain open until midnight. Fares will not be charged on Metrorail on Monday, January 25.
Just 22 bus routes will operate from noon to 5 p.m.
-District of Columbia: 32, 33, 36, 53, 70, 90, A6, A8, P12, S4, U8, X2
-Maryland: C4, D12, K6, Q2, V4, Y2, Z8
-Virginia: 16A, 16E, 28A
Charter schools which follow the DCPS schedule will be closed, too. For a full list of charter closures—not all follow DCPS—look at this list compiled by the D.C. Public Charter School Board.
The sun is shining and the snow is over, but the cleanup has just begun.
D.C. Public Schools will be closed on Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Sunday morning, although other government agencies could open depending on today’s cleanup.
The District’s “response phase” is anticipated to take “at least 24 to 36 hours,” D.C.’s HSEMA Director Chris Geldart said, and the “recovery phase” will likely take “even longer than that.” Bowser said D.C. expects to get “more than 400 pieces of equipment” today (through contractors and other partners)—including dump trucks, bobcats, and plows—which will “more than triple” what it currently has. She reminded residents not to park along snow emergency routes (“We will aggressively ticket you and tow your vehicle”) and asked business owners to shovel sidewalks.
“We are very much focused on our business corridors,” Bowser explained. “So businesses, you are subject to the law, and you need to shovel in front of your businesses.” Previously, officials have said they don’t expect to cite residents for not shoveling their sidewalks for this snowstorm.
Forecasts predict that temperatures will drop to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday night, Geldart said, which will complicate efforts to keep roads from icing over—salt is ineffective at that threshold. No fatalities in D.C. have been reported so far due to the storm itself, he added.
“We feel pressure every time to get this right because this is our job,” Geldart said. “This is what we do. We want the city open as much as everybody else does.”
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said the cleanup is in fact a “public safety issue.” That means MPD will be a “little more aggressive” about asking people not to walk down the middle of the streets, she said, and that D.C. will ticket and tow vehicles stuck in snow lanes.
D.C.’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department Chief Gregory Dean acknowledged that ambulances are still “having a little difficulty getting into neighborhoods.” FEMS is getting “a number of calls where we’re putting people in queue” for a while due to hard-to-access routes.
As for public-transportation service tomorrow, Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel said the agency would announce details later Sunday afternoon. “We know the region is counting on us,” he said. The system remains closed Sunday.
A Pepco representative said that the District had “only had a few outages” during the snowstorm. —Andrew Giambrone
Runways at Reagan National and Dulles International airports will remain closed Sunday.
More than halfway through the blizzard that’s already dumped around 20 inches of snow on D.C. and effectively trapped virtually all its residents indoors, officials said on Saturday afternoon that the District would begin to scope the event’s impact and the “post-storm response” later tonight.
“We’re going to need to do a good assessment on it,” D.C.’s HSEMA Director Chris Geldart said. “It’s a hard assessment for us to do [right now], to say how long it will take to clear the roads. [There] are different snow-total amounts in different parts of the city, [and] it’s difficult with the way the wind is blowing,” in excess of 30 to 40 mph. Plowing will continue overnight.
D.C.’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Chief Gregory Dean urged residents to “recognize that we only have a limited number of ambulances to transport” patients: “If you have a lower-acuity situation, we would ask for you to wait,” so FEMS can transport people in more-serious conditions. Geldart added that D.C. has kept up “very good response times” during the storm.
Still, it remains unclear whether the District will be able to return to normal by Monday. Dan Stessel, a spokesperson for Metro, said the agency would announce tomorrow how soon it would likely resume operations after the storm. Metro has cleared snow from about 130 miles of aboveground tracks, Stessel said, and has stored about 350 railcars in underground tunnels so far.
Asked about school closures, Mayor Muriel Bowser replied that she’s “hopeful we’ll be able to make a decision” anywhere from late afternoon to early evening on Sunday, after the District has assessed the impact of the blizzard. The snow emergency remains active, she reminded residents.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier asked residents to be “as considerate as possible of their neighbors” because the District typically sees “little tensions between people flare up” in regards to coveted parking spots in short supply.
“It’s going to be a big cleanup day tomorrow,” Geldart said. “We all want the city to be back open and I think we’re going to work hard toward that.”
According to the HSEMA director, the District’s upper northwest section has likely gotten the most snow so far, based on current information. —Andrew Giambrone
Mayor Muriel Bowser said Saturday morning that there are still too many people on the streets as the snowstorm intensifies and drivers attempt to handle the growing accumulations.
“Our message—and we need the public to listen—is to stay home and to stay off of the streets,” she said, citing poor visibility. “That includes people who are attempting to drive, but it also includes people who are walking. Our plows and emergency vehicles cannot do their jobs with you on the streets.”
Bowser added that last night, 911 operators answered about 300 calls, for which “everyone received a response.” She told reporters that she could not speak to specific response times, but that “we feel that all of the calls we got were closed out successfully… I would say nothing notable to report now.”
No fatalities or major power outages have been reported as of this time, Bowser said.
Chris Geldart, D.C.’s HSEMA director, echoed the mayor’s call for residents to avoid the roads.
“We are very much still in the emergent phase,” Geldart said of the storm. “We’re still in the timeframe when really bad things can happen.”
The director repeated earlier remarks that D.C. will be dealing with snow “throughout the week.” Asked whether the city would be functioning normally come Monday, Geldart replied, “That’s the big question for everybody right now, right? That’s the big question for us as well.”
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said MPD received a “variety of calls” until about 2 a.m. and many officers had to help people dig out their vehicles. The calls started to come in again at about 6:30 a.m., she added. “There are lots of people coming out on the roads with two-wheel drive vehicles—now even four-wheel drive vehicles are getting stuck,” Lanier explained. MPD has deployed a fleet of 26 Humvees to assist with responses, but none had to connect with calls for service yet. “I think for this second part of the storm” they will have to be used, Lanier said.
As for a nine-year-old boy reported missing during the storm, Lanier confirmed that he’d been found. He “went to a friend’s home—he took a nap,” she said; the boy is now with his family. —Andrew Giambrone
Tian Tian is living for this weather.
@TravelerAddicts national guard was called into help but still waiting. Have a good 15in. of snow piled around us by now. Almost 12 hours— Nicole Kathryn (@nfoulkrod) January 23, 2016
Still in same spot on road from 11-12 hours ago. Please continue to pray for us. We are safe, heat is on, plenty of fuel, food h20 and joy— Corrie Christiaansen
(@Corrie137) January 23, 2016
Here’s a map of warming centers for people experiencing homelessness (red) and residents without power (yellow).
This winter, the District’s heroes are of all stripes: Here’s a list of bars and restaurants, by neighborhood, who are planning to remain open today despite the blizzard. If you’ve got updates or additions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. —Emily Q. Hazzard
With actual storm conditions to measure, it appears that D.C. won’t get the worst end of the weather models, but it will still be bad. Overnight projections from the National Weather Service shifted the estimates of the heaviest snowfall slightly west, putting much of the district in the 18-to-24-inch range instead of 24-to-30. Snow is expected to fall at a rate of up to an inch per hour through early evening with steady winds more than 20 mph and gusts of up to 45 mph. The area remains under a blizzard warning and residents are urged to remain indoors. —Steve Cavendish
The National Weather Service’s latest models show that D.C. is in the 24-30 inch range for snowfall accumulation, with as much as four inches on the ground by 7 p.m. The city remains under an active blizzard warning. The strongest winds, with gusts of up to 65 miles per hour, are expected near the Chesapeake Bay. As winds increase and the temperature drops, the city should expect overnight wind chills in the single digits on Saturday night..
Metrobus service is now suspended; buses made their final departures from their points of origin at 5 p.m. Metrorail is set to stay in service until 11 p.m., but the system is facing issues already.
Orange Line: Trains single tracking btwn Cheverly & New Carrollton due to a disabled train outside Landover. Delays in both directions.— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 22, 2016
Circulator service is also suspended, while Bikeshare will suspend service at 7 p.m.
The streetcar is still testing on H Street NE, although not for much longer.
Streetcar in snow. pic.twitter.com/0dUmtoUPu1— Sarah Anne Hughes (@sarahanne_news) January 22, 2016
As of about 4 p.m., Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Hugh Carew said police had not received any reports of “major crash” incidents, likely because people are avoiding the roads. Crashes may have occurred and gone unreported.
“As of 12:15 p.m.,” according to a news release, “the Department of Public Works had issued 2,091 tickets for snow emergency violations and towed 85 vehicles.” The emergency went into effect at 9:30 a.m. and will remain in place until officials remove it. —Andrew Giambrone
Metro has begun storing hundreds of railcars inside tunnels to protect them from the elements. Reminder: Metrorail service suspends at 11 p.m. —Andrew Giambrone
UPDATE: Snow has taken out the Washington Monument webcam.
You have an hour-and-a-half until the buses stop running.
— Metrobus Info (@Metrobusinfo) January 22, 2016
3:15 p.m. Winter is here.
3 p.m. If you’re stranded inside for the weekend, having running water is always a plus. As of 1 p.m., D.C. Water and Sewer Authority had responded to about six calls for busted pipes today, a definite spike, according to spokesperson John Lisle. Lisle noted that most of the calls came from Northwest, though there is no single quadrant that he can predict will be most problematic, since a pipe burst is usually a combination of several faulty circumstances. Since the temperature is expected to hover just around 30 degrees this weekend, Lisle said the threat of bursting pipes is lower, but they still have essential personnel on duty and plenty of precautions set up in preparation for the storm. “We’re ready,” Lisle said. Generally, D.C. Water will respond to between 400 and 500 calls a year, most of which happen in January and February. The biggest threat Lisle anticipates this weekend is losing power and whiteouts that would prevent workers from tending to pipes since they would not be able to see. If your pipes do freeze up and you don’t want to wait for someone to trek out to you, a hairdryer can always be used to warm them up. “One year my washing machine pipes froze up and I just used a hairdryer for a few minutes to get them working again,” Lisle said. D.C. Water is also asking residents to aid with removing snow around fire hydrants so they can be cleared for emergencies. A list of safety recommendations for your pipes during the blizzard can be found on their website. —Allison Kowalski
2:50 p.m. Here it comes.
A local federal worker’s version of the popular scene from Downfall—the 2004 movie about Hitler—went viral yesterday. “I didn’t even realize how big a deal it had become until I saw one of my friends sharing it on Facebook, and she had no idea I had made it,” Andrew Huber says. Full story here. —Allison Kowalski
1:50 p.m. Games off. https://twitter.com/WashWizards/status/690605938588385280
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) January 22, 2016
1:40 p.m. Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s office plans to give an update on blizzard preparations at 5 p.m. —Andrew Giambrone
At the #foggybottom Whole Foods, the line starts downstairs, wraps around 2 walls, and goes up an escalator. #dcblizzard #Blizzard2016 A photo posted by Washington City Paper (@washingtoncitypaper) on
12:50 p.m. By most accounts, it’s too early to start abandoning your homes and fleeing for warm buildings with room service, but when you start making those plans, here’s a list of hotels with rooms still available. Some are offering discounts. We’ll be updating this list throughout the blizzard. —Emily Q. Hazzard and Quinn Myers
12:30 p.m. Here is a list of the D.C. restaurants and bars that will be closed because of the blizzard. —Jessica Sidman
12:15 p.m. BREAKING: SERVICE BY STREETCAR—WHICH HAS YET TO CARRY A PAYING PASSENGER—WILL BE SUSPENDED BY THE WEATHER.
Also, circulator busses stop at 5 p.m.
Bao Bao was out in the snow, chewing on a few leaves yesterday. The zoo is keeping a gallery of winter photos on Flickr here. Photo courtesy Smithsonian via Creative Commons 2.o license
11:45 a.m. Power outages across D.C. won’t be uncommon during the 36-hour blizzard that’s about to hit the region, according to officials. “We cannot anticipate how many trees or wires will go down,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser at a press conference Friday morning. “[The] sustained winds and wet snow will mean we will see trees go down and power customers affected.” The mayor added that the District has coordinated with utilities-company Pepco on contracting “outside resources” to assist with responses to damaged infrastructure that Pepco itself is embedded within D.C.’s emergency-operations center that will manage the storm. —Andrew Giambrone Read the full story here.
10:50 a.m. D.C.’s Costco had a line about 100 people deep half an hour before opening, so it opened the doors early. Checkout lines are now almost the length of the store. —Steve Cavendish
Checkout line at Costco in Northeast DC stretches to back of store. No spots in parking lot. A photo posted by Steve Cavendish (@scavendish) on
10:35 a.m. Tonight’s Washington Capitals game against the Anaheim Ducks has been moved up a full two hours in anticipation of the storm. The puck, originally scheduled to drop at 7 p.m., will now drop at 5 p.m., well after the snow is scheduled to begin falling. Naturally, this has caused plenty of outrage on Twitter.
Despite the fact that both the Wizards and Capitals have games scheduled at Verizon Center this weekend (the Wiz take on the Utah Jazz Saturday at 6:30; the Caps play the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday at 12:30), no announcements have been made about whether those games will be played or if the opponents will even be able to get to town. —-Caroline Jones
10:25 a.m. At a press conference this morning, District officials offered a stern warning to residents to stay off the streets from 3 p.m. today until at least Sunday.
“This storm will be deadly,” D.C. HSEMA Director Chris Geldart said.
“This is a bad storm,” he told reporters. “Folks need to understand this is a life-threatening type of storm.”
Geldart emphasized the potential danger from high winds, noting that this storm will be different than 2010’s Snowmageddon.
“This is not an inch of snow that happens during some part of the day,” he said. “This is not an eight-inch storm that has happened in the past. We’re talking about in excess of two feet of snow, heavy snow. Potential for power outages, roof collapses—those are the types of things we need to be able to respond to for the residents of out there.”
DOs: “Make sure you’re prepared for 72 hours for food and water in your home. Make sure you have a battery-operated radio, flashlight, some mean to keep yourself comfort if you have an outage of power.”
DON’Ts: “Please do not use candles if your power goes out. [They] can cause a fire danger. Use flashlights if possible. Please keep space heaters away from flammable materials. If you’re running generator, make sure it’s outside, not enclosed [where] there can be carbon monoxide.”
More information can be found here. —-Andrew Giambrone and Sarah Anne Hughes
9:55 a.m. Here’s an Instagram user’s view of the line at a local Target:
#blizzard2016 @target complete panic!!! Everyone is stocking up! The checkout line wraps around the entire store!!! But the store is #organized #stocked #DMV #DC #VA #MD A photo posted by Tie The Knot DC (@tietheknotdc) on
From another Instagram user: The roads look empty around D.C. after federal workers are told to telework.
The calm before the storm! Concerned about going to work today
#retaillife #dcblizzard A photo posted by @melissa_cruzie on
9:45 a.m. Museums, galleries, theaters, and other arts venues are canceling weekend events. Check out a list of cancellations here.
9:30 a.m. The District’s snow emergency has officially begun, which means you need to remove your vehicle from emergency snow routes. Otherwise, be prepared to pay a $250 fine plus towing and impound fees. Do what’s right by your neighbors and the city!
9:14 a.m. Major D.C. universities have closed already or will close by noon today:
You have about three hours to still send a package through the U.S. Postal Service, according to a news release.
This is what happens when everyone stays home:
Google Traffic map at 8:55 a.m.
If you have to report snow-related problems or emergencies during and after the storm, here are the key numbers you’ll need:
- If your water stops or you know of a water-main break—D.C. Water: 202-612-3400
- If you see a resident experiencing homelessness in D.C.—shelter hotline: 800-535-7252, 311, or email@example.com
- If your power goes out or you see a downed wire—Pepco: 877-737-2662
- If your heat stops working or you smell gas: Washington Gas: 703-750-1400 / 800-752-7520
- If your car is towed—Towing Control Dispatch Center: 202-541-6083
- If your trash hasn’t been picked up before the storm or you have snow-related complaints—311
- If your roof collapses due to heavy snow fall or you end up in a serious car crash—911 —Andrew Giambrone
UberEats is expanding its coverage beyond downtown today. See a map here.
The Office of Personnel Management says the federal government will close today at noon. D.C. Public Schools are closed, as are all public charter schools. Trader Joe’s is out of a lot of shit. The blizzard is coming.
Transportation is going to be tricky. D.C.’s snow emergency begins at 9:30 a.m., meaning there are strict parking restrictions throughout the city. To accommodate drivers in Columbia Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods, DC USA will allow the use of its garage for $1 a day. Metro parking garages at the Anacostia, Minnesota Avenue, and Rhode Island Avenue stations will also be available for overnight parking at no cost this weekend.
After the snow emergency goes into effect, cab drivers will be allowed to tack on an additional $15 fee, according to the D.C. Taxicab Commission: “The objective is to induce some taxis to remain in service and be available to meet the transportation needs of the public.” Metro will suspend new bus service at 5 p.m. and rail service at 11 p.m. The entire system will remain closed until at least Monday. The D.C. Circulator will likewise end service at 5 p.m. and cancel weekend service.
According to the Capital Weather Gang, the storm is set to begin between noon and 2 p.m. Good luck. —Sarah Anne Hughes
Photo by Darrow Montgomery