Cleanup to take days; Sunday Metro service limited
11:45 p.m. -- Canal Road shut Authorities shut down Canal Road between Foxhall Road and Arizona Avenue during the overnight hours and early Sunday morning so crews could remove two large trees blocking the roadway.
10 p.m. -- UPDATE: Crews are beginning to get a handle on roads. The Maryland State Highway Administration announced that southbound I-95 at I-95 has reopened, but highway officials are encouraging people to stay inside.
9 p.m. Loudoun County cancels classes The storm warnings have been lifted, but as many folks know, the fun is just beginning. Loudoun County officials have announced schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday. And you've seen our previous post about Metro's early shut-down tonight (11 p.m. instead of 3 a.m.). There will also be no Metro bus service or above ground train service. It's as if officialdom is trying to tell us something -- like STAY INSIDE.
For those who like numbers, we are now No. 3 for the top winter totals on record and No. 4 in the amount of snow dumped during one storm. We're only about an inch away from No. 2 on the total snow in a season list, so look for us to move up pretty quickly.
And guess what? The Capital Weather Gang says we may get another storm on Tuesday thought it's unlikely to be the monster that this one was.
8 p.m. -- storm warnings lifted Most snowfall has exited the region, as the heavy bands of snow move to the northeast. Blizzard and winter storm warnings have been lifted. (Scroll down for the amazing accumulation totals.)
But the pain remains. The Metro rail system announced it is shutting down all service tonight at 11 p.m. instead of the regularly scheduled 3 a.m. tomorrow. There will be no bus service or above-ground rail service tomorrow. Montgomery County suspended Ride-on bus service for tomorrow. And oh, btw, it might snow again Tuesday.
As of 9 p.m. outage numbers were in the 162,080 range. Meanwhile It may be mid-week before residential streets in northern Virginia are plowed clear, and that timetable could be disrupted if there is another snowfall on Tuesday. "Monday is not going to be a get-to-work day," said Joan Morris of the Virginia Department of Transportation. "It's going to be the better part of next week before we finish with the subdivisions. I can see it being Wednesday or Thursday." If the forecast of more snowfall on Tuesday holds true, plowing of Virginia subdivisions from the big storm could take longer. "If we get more on Tuesday, all the equipment gets pulled out of the subdivisions back into the major highways," Morris said."Today we're doing nothing but pounding away at the interstates until the snow stops," she said. "With the snow still falling it's just going to continue to be a problem."
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett Leggett estimated that plowing operations on primary roads will not be completed until Sunday at midnight. One priority is to clear roads so that work crews can repair power lines and restore electricity to thousands of families that lost it, he said.
"I want to urge residents to continue to stay off the roads,if at all possible, to allow these hard-working people to do their job unimpeded," Leggett said in a statement. Snow removal in neighborhoods will begin after primary roads are cleared - and will be labor intensive because there is nowhere to push plowed snow, he said.
Also read what Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley told reporter Ashley Halsey, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said he expected conditions to worsen throughout the day during what "we anticpate will be the biggest snow in Maryland history." Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said that more than 750 city workers and contractors will work through the weekend to try to get the city open by rush hour Monday morning. "This is certainly as much snow as anyone us have seen in our lifetime," he said.
Slow improvement on the outage front; We are now at 186,893 without power, down from a peak of about 217,000 in late morning. Dominion reports 60,932 outages in northern Va., (7.4 percent of all customers). Pepco: 101,157 (including 7,733 in D.C., 80,798 in Montgomery; 12,678 in Prince George's. Roughly 13.1 percent of all Pepco customers are out. BG&E reports 24,804 out (2.3 percent of all customers), which includes 8.151 in Anne Arundel County and 3,055 out in Howard County. Roughly 59,000 customers were out earlier in the storm but have been restored.
Pepco: Outages, 1-877-737-2662; Downed lines, 202-872-3432
Allegheny Power 1-800-255-3443
Downed limbs and trees:
Prince George's: 301-499-8600.
7:46 p.m. -- Have you seen this dog?
The search for Casey began as soon as Susan Philips and her husband realized the 5 year old Chow-Aussie sheperd dog mix was missing, around 9 pm on Friday night. Casey had followed the couple outside their home in the Rosemary Hills section of Silver Spring when they went out to shovel. A neighbor let Casey in for a few minutes to say hello to her dog. Casey returned after a few minutes. But when Phillips looked up a little while later, the only trace of Casey was a set of tracks that lead into a wooded area off Lyttonsville Rd. Even though the snowfall was heavy and the winds had picked up enough to knock power off around the neighborhood, Phillips set out with a flashlight in search of Casey. The tracks indicated Casey most likey had run off to chase a deer. They had hiked in those woods before. At one point, it looked as if the tracks turned around. Phillips followed them twice, but there was no sign of Casey. When Phillips returned home she saw a set of paw prints on her porch and sat and waited, hoping Casey would turn the corner any minute. But the prints turned out to belong to a neighbor's dog. Phillips went out one more time, staying out past midnight until falling tree limbs forced her to turn back. "The last time I went I could still see her tracks," Phillips said. "Me and everybody who knows her is convinced if she could, she would be back here." Casey was wearing a pink collar when she disappeared with tags that carry all of her owner's contact information. She also has a microchip. If someone had taken her in, Phillips wondered why no one had called. On Saturday, two more search parties went out without success. -- Annys Shin
UPDATED 9:55 p.m. 7:25 p.m. The stunning results:
The snow totals are in from the National Weather Service and it appears that the Montgomery Village area of Montgomery County was the big winner with 30 inches of snow as of 3 p.m. (early we gave the prize to Colesville, but we suspect that may have been a bad measure). In Virginia, Leesburg had more than 34 inches of the white stuff by this evening at 6 p.m. Every area in the region was in double digits, with many comfortably over 20 inches. North Bethesda had 27 inches, while Alexandria checked in with 28.9 inches. In Fairfax, Chantilly got 28 inches as of 6 p.m. D.C. totals seemed paltry by comparison: By 6 p.m. this evening there was 17.8 inches at Reagan National, while D.C. recorded a mere 18.2 inches -- though one weather station put the total at 25 inches at American University. A full list.
7:09 p.m. -- Just ... wow
The roof the St. Johns School in Hollywood, Md., collapsed under the weight of snow, buckling a back wall and destroying more than a half dozen classrooms, said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman of the Archdioces of Washington. Alarms went off at the building about 4 p.m. as the father was about to hear confessions at church next door, Gibbs said. The damage occurred to an addition built in 1953, which fell on six classrooms, the computer lab, the library and offices, Gibbs said. -- Picture credit: Parishioner Wes Gleason
5:00 p.m. -- Just let yourself go
The first ever Mt. Pleasant Row House Adult Luge Classic began with a morning conversation lying flat in a warm bed. Facing the weight of the clean-up task before them, a green-leaning realtor named Amy Levin and her partner, non-profit worker Paige Veliz-Gilbert, decided to zig while much of Washington zagged. "The snow was insurmountable at this point," Levin said. "Instead of shoveling away, lets just add on."
So they padded their front yard with additional powder to build a toboggan run from the front door of their energy efficient grey brick home, down two flights of stairs and into a left-leaning frozen berm protecting a tan mini-van parked in the street out front. Among the neighbors and passers-by who stopped by for mulled wine and face-plants was an intelligence worker, a marketing guy, and four lawyers, who tried to keep the liability jokes to a minimum. When a couple of kids came by to give it a go, the adults stood sentry, hoping to protect them from the steel handrail beside the hidden stairs. "I think that kids are welcome here," Levin said. "At their own risk." -- Michael Laris
4:11 p.m. -- New crisis: No power, no Super Bowl?
Bill Ketelhut was not fretting about the 2 feet of snow outside his Potomac house, or the lack of heat and electricity inside of it. His mind was on The Game. A proud native of Louisiana, he had waited his whole life to see his home team in the Super Bowl. Now his television is dead. "There's no question I'm going to see the game," he said. If need be, he decided, he would strap the family dog to a sled and mush his way to power. "It's been 43 years of turnovers and miscues and mishaps," he said. A fan so true would not be denied. Saturday found him coming up with a backup plan: If need be, he and his family would trudge two and a half miles to his in-laws' house in Bethesda. There the lights were still on. -- Donna St. George
3:41 p.m. -- Rare monument closings
The U.S. Park Police announced that it closed the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial due to high winds and snow to prevent injuries and focus its efforts on rescuing people stranded in the blizzard. While weather-related closures of some monuments are not unusual -- the Washington Monument is often closed due to strong winds and lighting, for example -- officials could not recall another widespread closure like this one. “I can’t remember another instance when we shut down, and I have been on the job for over 20 years,” said Sgt. David Schlosser, public information officer for the United States Park Police.
Apart from discouraging high-adventure tourists, the decision to close the historic monuments was intended to allow the Park Police as well as the National Park Service Rangers and maintenance personnel to focus on immediate crises caused by the blizzard such as fallen trees and marooned motorists. -- Ann Scott Tyson
3:21 p.m. -- Neighbors rescue snow plow
Residents of the 600 block of Woodside Parkway in Silver Spring were jolted from the quiet shortly after 10:30 a.m. by the grinding sound of spinning car wheels. Only it was not a car in distress. It was a Montgomery County snow plow. Jim Ehrman could not believe, for starters, that a plow had arrived on his street in the middle of the storm. But just as he marveled at the miracle, the 15-ton John Deere model 644G front loader was rocking back and forth in the middle of the block, having collected too much snow in its front bucket. Ehrman and his neighbors rushed outside to help. Andrew Burnett brought the driver a thermos of black coffee and a shovel. Ehrman dug in his shovel by the ploow's giant back wheels. Burnett and Gary Cameron, on his third round of sidewalk duty with the block's communal snow-blower, attacked the mound at the front wheels.
Twenty minutes and the plow was free. "He did it!" Burnett yelled.
Nelson Monterroso had been moving snow from the operator's cab since 3 a.m. This was not his first mishap of the morning, he said: On just about every residential street he had plowed, he'd encountered parked cars that made his job that much harder. "I bumped into some of them, and I'm sorry about that, but what could I do?" Monterroso said. It had been a long night, but he was happy for the work. "I'm working, I get overtime, my family is fed," the immigrant from Guatemala said. The neighbors retreated to their houses before the next round of shoveling. "I've never seen a snow plow get stuck," Ehrman, a retired foreign service officer, said. "But each time it's snowed this year, the plows were here long before I expected them." -- Lisa Rein
2:45 p.m. -- Believe it or not ...
...some places with essentials are actually open! If you can get to them safely. Here's an unofficial list, and you can help up make it more complete by emailing email@example.com.
1:41 p.m. -- An only-in-DC snowball fight
Only in Washington do you schedule a snowball fight -- and distribute a big legal disclaimer along with it. By 1 p.m. today, more than 5,000 people had signed up for the Official Dupont Circle Snowball Fight group on Facebook. An outdoor bar had been set up outside the Dupont Hotel, and Mayor Adrian Fenty even stopped by to say hello and shake hands. Police were expected to be on hand to keep things calm. The fight is even supposed to be live streamed here:
http://ustream.tv/channel/chadwickdc. A live stream of photos is also planned on Flickr.
The organizers, thirtysomethings Ami Greener and MIchael Lipin, first tried to put together a snowball fight on Facebook during the December snowstorm, but only about a half-dozen friends showed up. This time they tried much harder, getting advice from friends about how to use Twitter and to get the word out.
"I tweeted it with hashtags like Snowmaggedon, Snowpocalypse, that kind of thing," Greener said. "This was my first tweet. I might start using it now!" Added Lipin: "It went viral. I've never seen anything like this. We had 33 members on Thursday morning, and it's growing by hundreds an hour right now." Like the best Washington lawyers, Lipin posted a mild caution on Facebook: "You are coming to Dupont Circle Park on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010, to play snowballs voluntarily. The people spreading the word about the happening are not preparing any special equipment or conditions and may not be held responsible for your decisions and/or actions." Greener and Lipin will part ways during combat, with Lipin expecting to fight with Dupont South and Greener with Dupont North. In the meantime, they're hanging out in front of Starbucks, hoping turnout will match the interest online. -- Amy Gardner
12:26 p.m. -- Tunneling her way out
Over near Sibley Hospital in the District, Cintia Guimaraes couldn’t open up her front or back doors at her Watson Place N.W. home because the snow was piled so high. With her husband out of town, her son recovering from shoulder surgery and her daughter at college, Guimaraes, an economist, decided she had to take action herself. Worried that the house would get flooded when the snow starts to melt, she opened the garage door and tunneled her way out. “Everytime I walked I would sink up to my hip,” she said. After about an hour, she had cleared enough and went inside to warm up. Asked if she felt good about herself, she laughed and responded, “I feel terrific. And it was good exercise.” -- Valerie Strauss
11:44 a.m. -- But who digs out the diggers?
Even officials in charge of clearing District streets are not immune from the perils of plowing. At 8 this morning, Jim Sebastian left his 12-hour emergency shift coordinating heavy-plow operations to find, naturally, that his Volvo wagon was snowed under. Working with his hands and a broom he cleared the top, hood, windows and enough of the sides to get the door open. It was only when he tried to put the key in the door that he realized he had dug out somebody else's car. He finally found the right mound of snow in the city parking lot on W Street S.E., cleared that one, only to realize it was hopelessly trapped by plow wash. "The irony is that I worked all night with snow plows and I had been plowed in," said Sebastian, whose normal job is as the bicycle program coordinator for the District's Department of Transportation. "It's still there." -- Steve Hendrix
11:08 a.m. -- The president weighs in
From the AP and pool reports: President Barack Obama joins in calling the storm "Snowmageddon." Despite a fender bender on the way, his motorcade made it to the Capital Hilton so he could speak at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting on Saturday. In his opening remarks, Obama thanked activists for being willing to brave the blizzard. The streets around the hotel were blocked by snow and police ahead of Obama's arrival. Other officials who stumbled into the hotel were caked in snow and ice. Obama said he saw a sign that said "Californians for Obama" - and he joked that "you guys aren't used to this."
11:01 a.m. -- You decide
10:35 a.m. -- Trying to exhume Metro rail cars
Several hundred Metro employees and contractors armed with shovels, bobcats and heavy plows labored to clear away piles of snow from station entrances and above-ground tracks on Saturday. Workers also descended upon rail yards to begin excavating buried cars, as only some could be stored in tunnels. But with the blizzard re-burying tracks almost as fast as they could be cleared, it was a Sisyphean effort for the most part, and Metro officials on Saturday morning could offer no prediction as to when above-ground rail service would resume after being halted Friday night.
“It is doubtful there will be any above ground service tomorrow,” said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel. “We won’t know until late tonight.” Metrobus and MetroAccess service will remain suspended all day on Saturday, he said.
Taubenkibel, who lives near Van Ness Metrorail Station, said he was planning to brave the snow to head into the office after putting his 18-month-old son down for a nap. But he was unsure how difficult it would be to make his way to the station. “I’m in the lobby of my building right now and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. -- Ann Scott Tyson
9:50 a.m. -- Bethesda streets lose power
In neighborhoods near Walt Whitman High School on Whittier Boulevard, many residents are reporting on the neighborhood listserv that they have lost power, including Comcast and Verizon phone, Internet and television service. I measured with a ruler; so far on my street (Whitman Drive, Bethesda) we have 10 inches of snow and counting. Trees are bending in the weight of the snow. One family on our street is out optimistically shoveling their driveway. Not sure where they think they will be able to go. -- Miranda S. Spivack
9:30 a.m. -- Hangar roof at Dulles collapses
A hangar roof collapsed this morning under the weight of heavy snow at the Dulles Jet Center, where private planes are housed. Five people were inside, airport officials said. Four escaped on their own, one was rescued by firefighters. Four aircraft were in the building. -- Carol Morello.
9:00 a.m. -- Some amazing numbers
The reported snow totals are rapidly moving into astonishing territory: 30.3 inches in Elkridge (Howard County); 25 inches in Leesburg; 24 in Marshall (Fauquier), 21 in Germantown. Just to name a few, with many hours of snow to come.
8:45 a.m. -- Postal Service surrenders
From Ed O'Keefe, Federal Eye blogger: The Postal Service creed may be "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Except today. The U.S. Postal Service has suspended service across the Washington region on Saturday, surrendering to one of the largest snowfalls in the region's history. "No delivery, no retail, no collections due to the storm and for the safety of our customers and employees," said Postal spokeswoman Deborah Yackley.
8:33 -- The Smithsonian is closed.
That almost never happens.
8:08 a.m.-- Hospital declares snow emergency
The Washington Hospital Center shortly after 7 a.m. declared a "snow emergency," which means workers can't go home. Hundreds of nurses and staff could not report for duty because of the weather and there is a staff shortage. -- Hamil Harris
7:55 a.m. -- We're not nearly done
Our Capital Weather Gang team is predicting 5-8 more inches of accumulation today, with peak totals for the metro area close to 30 inches when we're all done late this evening. (We also have a little contest going: They predict 23 inches at Reagan National Airport. Can you beat them?) Any driving remains treacherous. Don't do it. The heavy snow is also toppling trees, limbs and power lines.
1:21 a.m. -- Ramp from outer loop to Rte. 50 closed
Maryland State police reported that the ramp from the outer loop of the Beltway to east bound Route 50 was shut down after a tractor-trailer was stuck in slick conditions about 1:15 a.m.
1:19 a.m. -- SB GW parkway closed
The southbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway was shut down after a tractor-trailer jack-knifed at the ramp for Turkey Run about 12:30 a.m., U.S. park police said. The driver was not injured, but officials shut down traffic from I-495.
11:55 -- Hazardous falling tree limbs
Trees and limbs are falling and causing major problems in Northern Virginia and the District. VDOT reports several trees blocking roadways in the Springfield area, while falling limbs have brought down powerlines in Arlington, officials said. In the District, multiple trees crashed down on parked cars in the area of the 1600 block of Riggs Place in Northwest. Firefighters had to respond to two apartment buildings in Southeast, one in the 3500 block of B Street and another nearby at 126 35th Street, where trees uprooted or snapped in half and fell on the structures, said Pete Piringer, a fire department spokesman. No injuries were reported, and as of midnight authorities were assessing whether the trees caused in structural damage to the buildings.
10:45 -- Beltway ramp shut down, and more
Stalled tractor trailers shut down the ramp leading from the Capital Beltway’s outer loop to westbound Route 50, Maryland state police said. Meanwhile, a car ran into a plowing truck on Edmonston Road in the Hyattsville/College Park area. It was unclear whether anyone was injured. Virginia state police reported that through 10 p.m. troopers were sent to the scene of 1,076 crashes and 766 disabled vehicles.
9:55 p.m. -- Va. police report two fatalities
A father and son were hit by a tractor-trailer in Wythe County, Va., when they stopped to help a stranded motorist. Officials pleaded with people to stay off the roads until conditions improve.
9:25 p.m. -- Catholics can skip Sunday Mass
From the AP: The Archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore say unsafe travel conditions because of the weekend's snowstorm can legitimately exempt Catholics from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass. Officials encourage Catholics to watch the Sunday TV Mass.
9:00 p.m. -- Sports scheduling havoc
Many things cancelled, but Caps-Penguins still on for noon Sunday.
8:45 p.m. -- Subdivisions getting tougher to navigate
With at least three inches already on the ground, traffic on repeatedly plowed Rockville Pike between the Grosvenor and White Flint Metro stations was very light and cars were moving comfortably at 30 mph against a sideways snowfall. The snow is thick and heavy and clumping between barely visible lanes. By the time drivers hit their subdivisions they found much more difficult going on unplowed, slippery streets. Hills were becoming far more difficult to negotiate and fishtailing on curves was common.
8:00 p.m..-- 3rd Street tunnel shut down
Authorities shut down the 3rd Street Tunnel about 7:30 p.m. after a contract salt truck slid into concrete entrance to the tunnel near New York Avenue in Northwest. The truck was travelling with the dumpbed raised, which struck the roof of the tunnel. Tiles were knocked down from the roof and several utility wires may have been damaged. Authorities were inspecting the tunnel for structural damage, said Pete Piringer, a D.C. fire department spokesman. No injuries were reported but officials closed the road while they removed loads of salt and debris from the accident.
7:55 p.m. -- Train service Sunday?
Metro spokesmen say they may not have above-ground service restored Sunday, but are shooting to restore service by Monday morning. Bus service is likely to be limited on Sunday.
Washington Post staff
| February 6, 2010; 10:00 PM ET
Categories: DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weather
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