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Five reasons you shouldn't move today in the snow storm

Take your travel cues from these developments, as of 10 a.m.: Several jurisdictions have temporarily suspended plowing. Pepco has temporarily suspended its outdoor repairs. Several big performances scheduled for Wednesday night have been canceled.

Montgomery suspends plowing
Montgomery County has suspended plowing operations because of the hazardous weather conditions, reports staff writer Michael Ruane.

County spokeswoman Esther Bowring said county highway officials "have suspended [plowing] operations for a little bit, until it's safe...they're starting to get whiteout conditions throughout Montgomery County. It's just not safe to operate."

The county has had as many as 900 pieces of equipment working to clear roads. Bowring said work would resume "as soon as it's safer...It's going to be a judgement call."

She added that the county was preparing an advisory warning people to stay off the roads. "It's pretty dangerous out there now."

[11 a.m. update] The Maryland State Highway Administration, which is responsible for plowing Interstates and main roads, has suspended plowing in Montgomery and Prince George's counties temporarily. Plow drivers are pulling over until conditions improve.

The District
D.C. snow plows were pulled off the streets temporarily "due to safety reasons," said Gabe Klein, director of the District Department of Transportation.

[10:35 a.m. update] Klein said city officials will assess every 20 minutes whether its safe to put city plow crews back on the streets. "We don't want to hit somebody," Klein said. As conditions improve, the crews will be redeploying.

At about 9 a.m. Wednesday, Pepco pulled back its crews working to repair downed power lines and other electric equipment, saying conditions were unsafe for them to continue working.

Repair crews were told to "take shelter inside their trucks until the storm abates and conditions are deemed safe for them to work," said Robert Dobkin, a Pepco spokesman. He said it was unclear when conditions would improve enough for crews to return to work, reports staff writer Matt Zapotosky.

As of about 9:50 a.m., Pepco had more than 3,500 customers without power, including 2205 in Montgomery County, 1356 in Prince George's County and 182 in the District.

Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Joan Morris said Virginia plow operators have not been recalled but would pull off the road if conditions became unsafe.

"When it's whiteout conditions, they might go to the side of the road," she said. "We don't pull them off the road They might stop and wait it out."

[10:55 a.m. update] The city of Alexandria reports that it temporarily suspended snow plow operations for safety reasons.

The Disney on Ice shows scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Verizon Center have been canceled, because of the blizzard. Ford's Theatre has canceled its performances for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. Thursday.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 10, 2010; 10:18 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm, tips for travelers  
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If anyone is an emergency worker or in walking distance, all the Panera Breads in Northern Virginia are open coffee, lattes, hot chocolate to warm you up!

Posted by: jfortoul | February 10, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

That's ridiculous. Let the Panera employees go home and be with their family.

Posted by: tristesse27 | February 10, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The Maryland SHA apparently stopped plowing all non-interstate routes last night and is letting the municipalities fend for themselves.

Some Maryland municipalities are requesting support from the National Guard, which was authorized by Governor O'Malley...

Posted by: stuckman | February 10, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Tristesse, I agree. By the time Panera's workers were called in, there was already strong wind, blowing snow, and freezing rain and mist in much of the area. Maybe their decision makers weren't getting the brunt of it, but they should have been released as soon as it was obvious that conditions were going to get dangerous.

Posted by: carlaclaws | February 10, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

to hell with employee safety, as long as you can make a quick buck, right Panera?

Posted by: skaterman2297 | February 10, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Never mind Panera, you should go over to Tom Sietsema's chat and read about all the restaurants that are staying open and dragging their poor employees in during a blizzard (and somehow, that's a GOOD thing).

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 10, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Dr Gridlock:
please explain why states/local govts focus on interstates first when the most important roads are between hospitals/firehouses and residences/businesses? this seems backwards to me to worry whether Walmart trucks can careen off interstates and cause more trouble instead of worrying about emergency access.

Posted by: ACNonPro | February 10, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

FYI, other Paneras may be staying open but the one I work for just decided to close, so don't rely on this. Furthermore, considering how slow business was this morning (and has been all week I might add), "making a quick buck" is pretty much the opposite of what's happening at Panera - "losing a quick buck" due to the cost of paying employees when there's no business coming in would be more accurate.

Posted by: MsMish24 | February 10, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of jerks and morons out there to give the restaurants customers today when they should be keeping the roads clear for the plows & emergency services. I was reading Tom's chat and someone was complaining that restaurants keep it cold so the kitchen staff don't suffocate in the heat. Get over yourselves! You ever heard of a coat or a sweater, or is it too much trouble to ask you to go through all the effort of putting it on? Its amazing how little regard many of the well-off (and since the restaurants they were discussing are high-priced I feel confident in saying that) have for the "little people". I personally will no longer be patronizing any establishment that I find out dragged their employees into this mess today, whether it was on pain of losing their job or not. Either way it is totally irresponsible! Many of them don't have their own transportation, so they either had to walk through this blizzard who knows how far, or they had to endanger yet another person's live by getting a ride to work. It is shameful and disheartening that this is taking place en masse during such a dangerous storm.

Posted by: icemachine79 | February 10, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Since we are on the topic of stores that are still open, the Giant in Greenbelt is open for business. They put some employees up in a nearby hotel overnight last night and will again tonight in order to keep the store running. I hear some Starbucks do this too so don't be too worried about the workers. Most of these workers are hourly and don't get paid if they don't go to work. A week without pay is something most hourly workers can't deal with.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | February 10, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Normally I'm all for businesses staying open during a snowstorm. But not today. Today's weather is extremely dangerous for workers and customers to be out there.

Now if a business wants to provide its employees a place to sleep (hotel or in the store), thats a little different, and its up to the employee to make tough choices...get paid or stay home.

Posted by: thetan | February 10, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

We don't get paid if we don't go to work.

Plus I work at a sports bar with my games on...don't cry for me.

I feel bad for those who get paid hourly, and have the place closed and can't earn a check this week...

So sit in your houses all self righteous, and think of people in other situations than yourselves, maybe one day you'll gain some perspective.

Posted by: cworkman1 | February 10, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Some of us "jerks and morons" are running the hospitals and utilities you take for granted.

Posted by: Peejay | February 11, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

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