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Looking Ahead to Homebound Commute

Drivers should be a lot better off this afternoon than they were this morning, when the snow was falling so heavily. Road crews that were working hard to stay even with the snowfall have now been able to improve conditions on main roads and venture into neighborhoods. Light traffic should help.

The biggest problems are likely to be blowing snow and patches of ice. (See Capital Weather Gang's update.)

Here's some advice from the transportation departments about the homeward slog.

The District
Snow crews will remain on duty through the night and into Tuesday to deal with the icing that could result from very low temperatures and continued wind gusts.

While there is no Snow Emergency in effect to ban parking along some corridors, the regular rush hour "no parking" restrictions will be in effect. Vehicles parked illegally on major roadways can be ticketed and towed

If you clear the sidewalks today, you'll help prevent icing problems tomorrow. Don't shovel the snow into the street, where it hinders travel and parking. Your car may pick up some of the blowing snow on the way home. Clear that off after you park, so it doesn't turn into ice overnight.

Northern Virginia
Drivers should expect wet, slushy conditions on the travel lanes of interstates and other high volume roads, and snow-covered roads in subdivisions and on other low volume roads, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. VDOT says all travel lanes and shoulders on Interstates 66, 95, 395 and 495 will be clear for the afternoon rush hour.

Snowplows in the subdivisions are aiming to make at least one pass on all streets in time for the morning rush. Subdivision streets will not be completely clear of snow and ice but will be passable, VDOT says, and hills, curves and other trouble spots will be sanded.

VDOT's plan also calls for clearing all commuter lots in time for the Tuesday morning rush.

Within about two hours of the second part of the storm ending at 10 a.m., the main roads in Maryland were down to bare pavement, said David Buck, spokesman for the State Highway Administration. The major highways -- Interstates 495, 270, and 70, and Routes 210 and 4 -- "are in excellent condition," Buck said, and most of the secondary roads maintained by SHA, such as Georgia Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue and Branch Avenue, are also in good shape.

Snow crews will remain on duty during the afternoon and evening and into tomorrow morning to treat any slick spots, he said. "We are concerned that with the wind, there will be blowing snow back onto some roads, which may cause some slick conditions."

By Robert Thomson  |  March 2, 2009; 2:54 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Weather  
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