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Posted at 5:06 AM ET, 01/18/2011

An icy morning commute

By Washington Post Editors

A messy mix of rain, ice and snow have glazed roads around the area with a slippery coating that will make the morning commute treacherous.

Lon Anderson, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, surveyed the conditions in his neighborhood this morning and told NBC 4 that it was as if "Somebody let the Zamboni machine on my street."

"Cars and ice just aren't made to go together," he said. Anderson advised that motorists delay the drive until crews around the region can properly treat the roads.

"Those wet and icy roads can lead to extremely dangerous driving conditions with slippery roads, decreased visibility and increased crash risks," Anderson said in a statement. "For that reason, we want to be sure motorists drive at reduced speeds, increase following distances and are able to see and be seen. Best of all, once it starts, don't drive if you don't have to."

However, if you have to be out, Anderson advised that nonclumping kitty litter can be useful in gaining traction.

"That's very helpful if you get stuck," he said.

May governments and schools were delaying the start of the day, in an attempt to push the commute later in the morning when conditions will be more favorable. Federal workers, D.C. schools and government, Alexandria schools, Calvert schools and Prince George's schools were among the entities delaying the day by two hours.

Some school systems chose to close altogether. They include Anne Arundel, Charles, Montgomery County, Howard County, Fairfax County, Faquier County, Loudoun County and Prince WIlliam County schools.

Schools officials also warned that transportation would be affected.

Metrorail was reporting normal conditions, but the possibility exists that icy roads will delay Metrobus and other transit services that rely on roads. The Fairfax Connector, Ride On, TheBus and Arlington Transit may all experience problems due to icy roads.

Virginia Railway Express and MARC train service all expected to operate normal service.

If you need to report an area that needs treating, here is some information on where to report the problem. Keep in mind that in most jurisdictions, property owners are responsible for clearing adjacent sidewalks.

  • Alexandria snow removal information: Visit the snow report Web site or call the snow emergency hot line at 703.746.4488.
  • Arlington County's snow removal information is here. In the past, officials have said the hilly terrain in sections A, C, and D means it takes longer to clear those areas.
  • The Viriginia Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal in Fairfax County and most other areas.
  • You can also visit Virginia 511 for the latest information Virginia road conditions.
  • Track snow plows in the District here. The District Department of Information checks tweets sent to DDOTDC. You can also call the Mayor's Call Center at 311 or complete a form on the Web site.
  • Check Montgomery County snow removal here. Check to make sure the county is responsible for you street, and not one of the local jurisdictions or the state of Maryland, which plows numbered state routes. Here is a link with more information on who clears snow. You can report the problem to Montgomery County using this link or by calling 240-777-6000.
  • Prince George's County snow information is here.
  • State of Maryland snow information

By Washington Post Editors  | January 18, 2011; 5:06 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Driving, MARC, Metro, Metrobus, Virginia Railway Express  
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