Snow Still Likely to Slow Morning Commute
7 a.m. update:
The snowfall so far is lighter than we had anticipated, but still enough to significantly slow the morning commute for many drivers and it's likely to keep on falling for a few more hours. Greatest impact on commuters routes will be east of I-95. Drivers from Southern Maryland and Anne Arundel will find the snow gets lighter as they approach the Capital Beltway. Check our Traffic page for incident reports and camera views.
Those cameras show that the interstates are in pretty good shape, though we're not looking at black pavement. Other main roads, such as Route 29 in both Maryland and Virginia, have heavier amounts of snow and slush on them. Visibility is poor.
Virginia State Police said highways were very slow, according to staff writer Michael Birnbaum. There were lots of fender-benders on the Beltway, I-66, the Dulles Toll Road and I-95.
Staff writer Matt Zapotosky reports that at 5:30 a.m., Bobby Cooper, manager of the highway department in St. Mary's County, said his road crews were dealing with 10 to 12 inches of snow in many areas, and it was still falling "pretty heavily."
"We've been chipping away at it, but kind of fighting a losing battle right now," he said.
Even the county's main thoroughfares, Routes 5 and 235, were "pretty nasty," though passable, Cooper said.
Be sure to knock all the snow off your car roof before driving away. The toughest part of the drive may be getting out of your own neighborhood. The plows are concentrating on the main routes, and they've been doing a pretty good job on the main roads, considering that the storm is still developing.
Use caution changing lanes, since you might cross through a slushy area that may be freezing in these very cold temperatures. The gusty winds may blow snow back onto the roads after the plows have passed. See the Capital Weather Gang for the forecast.
The federal government is allowing workers to report late and most suburban public schools are closed and D.C. schools will open two hours late, so there should be fewer cars on the road for the commute.
Metrorail opened on schedule at 5 a.m. So far, there has not been enough snow to affect service at the above ground stations, but it will be very cold and windy. Metrobus operations are another matter. Service on particular lines will depend on the travel conditions along the route. (This also holds true for the suburban bus systems.) There could be schedule interruptions and detours. Metro announces service delays on this page. Bad morning to be waiting at a bus stop. Dress warmly and in clothing that will make you more visible to drivers.
Washington's suburban transit lines are operating this morning, but with some delays.
All MARC trains between Baltimore and Washington are scheduled to run. MARC trains 503, 509 and 513 will not run, but Amtrak will supply train service between Perryville and Baltimore aboarad Amtrak trains 67, 151 and 181. They will make all stops from Perryville to Baltimore. Amtrak train 67 from Philadelphia is operating 30 minutes late from Perryville to Baltimore, the MTA says.
Maryland Transit Administration commuter buses are operating this morning, but many trips are being consolidated and very few lots have been plowed, the MTA says. This is especially true in Southern Maryland.
VRE announced it intends to run a full schedule this morning. But there was a power at the yard for the Fredericksburg Line that VRE officials are monitoring. Several early trains have been delayed. Train 302, scheduled to leave Fredericksburg at 5:45 a.m., will be 10 to 15 minutes late, VRE says. Train 304, scheduled out of Fredericksburg at 6:10 a.m., was running 10 to 15 minutes late following train 302. Train 304 was expected to arrive in Fredericksburg at 6:35, 25 minutes late. Train 306 was likely to be 15 to 20 minutes late following train 304.
The Montgomery County bus service will operate all routes today, but delays are likely. For up-to-date Ride On information, call 240-777-7433, or use this link.
The Fairfax County bus system has no service alerts posted, but as with all the bus systems, delays are likely. Look for the county's service alerts and weather guide on this page.
The forecast says the temperature will be below freezing all day and the winds will be gusty. The District government is reminding people to clear their sidewalks and help out their elderly neighbors on the shoveling. Don't shovel the snow into the streets, where it will interfere with traffic and parking.
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