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Fenty: D.C. will call in extra snow plowing equipment

Describing Wednesday's blizzard as "outrageous," D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said the city will be calling in extra equipment to start digging out snowbound residents. 

At a mid-morning update, Fenty said the District will likely have its all-time snowiest winter this season, and he urged residents to be patients as crews began trying to remove the snow.

"No one ever has seen this much snow in Washington D.C.," said Fenty, noting there have been four snowstorms in 10 days.

Fenty said he will request that the federal government reimburse the city for some of its cleanup costs. Council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) sent out a statement this morning calling on Fenty to also ask that President Obama declare a federal emergency.

"This would enable the US Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency to supplement local response efforts," said Thomas, adding much of Northeast Washington is currently immobilized. "Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment, resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of an emergency."

Over the weekend, as the city started digging out of 2 feet of snow, Fenty was optimistic that life could quickly get back to normal. But after this latest storm, Fenty acknowledged the recovery process will stretch into the weekend.

Fenty said businesses in the city should prepare to reopen in stages, depending on how soon the snow stops.

"We want to be able to work through the night to get as many business up as possible," Fenty said.

Gabe Klein, director of the Department of Transportation, said the consecutive snowfalls have been "absolutely historic."

"In a dense urban environment, we have to deal with this differently," Klein said.

Klein and Fenty said the city has more than 200 snow plows currently operating in the city. But it will be bringing in additional contractors with heavy equipment, as well smaller, more mobile equipment to begin removing snow from clogged side streets.

The city had to temporarily pull all of its plows off the streets due to white conditions. They have since been redeployed, but officials are assessing conditions every 20 minutes.

Although officials are concerned about possible power outages in parts of the city, Fenty noted most power lines in the center-city are buried underground.

-- Tim Craig

By Anne Bartlett  |  February 10, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  City Life , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig  
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Next: D.C. council members call for National Guard clean-up help


Did Harry Thomas finally make it back from the Super Bowl or did he have the audacity to phone in advice from sunny Miami??

Posted by: Art17 | February 10, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Describing Wednesday's blizzard as "outrageous", the Mayor..."

It's outrageous that this child-like mayor cannot make a mature and wise decision to shut the District Government down. When everything is at a crawl or complete standstill, why must the DC workforce wait until late evening or early morning for the "little city mayor's" decision?

I'm sure the smart workers will remain home because they value their safety and in some cases take care of their children since the schools are closed.

Thank you again parents for taking a stand on the crazy decision that was made by the Chancellor and Mayor to delay the opening of schools this past Monday.

Now, if you are an employee of the District, make those phone calls to the local networks, post your comments on the listserv, etc. Stop his criminal and pompous acts against DC residents,workers and children.

Has anyone seen a plow on their street?

Posted by: shank2sb | February 10, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

He should have done this BEFORE the second blizzard hit! What an effective manager!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I am a D.C. government worker. I used annual leave on Monday. I went to work on Tuesday because I didn't want to use my annual leave up taking snow days. I usually take the Metro, but my part of it was closed.

So I drove. Going in wasn't so bad. I found a parking space on the street near the Reeves Center that was still snow covered but managable. I waited in vain for an "early dismissal". As the snow began to fall at 4:00, I received permission from my supervisor to leave early.

I couldn't get out of my parking space. I tried digging myself out, but I really didn't know what I was doing. Two young men came and pushed me out of my space. I immediately got stuck again, and they pushed me out again. Traffic was backed up. I was fearful of getting stuck on hills. The roads, even 14th, were rutted with snow. The snow scrapped against the bottom of my small car. People were walking in the streets. It was getting dark. I live in D.C. By the time I got home my hands were shaking, I was so tense.

My story was replicated thousands of times, for thousands of D.C. government employees. It was not worth it.

Posted by: tacard1 | February 11, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Let Councilmember Kwame Brown know

Posted by: KwameFan | February 12, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Our family dug out two postal trucks today on our side street that has not been plowed at ALL. Will it ever?

Posted by: 4learning | February 12, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

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