(Washington, DC) Mayor Adrian M. Fenty along with District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein and Department of Public Works Director William O. Howland, Jr. are asking people to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. Snow started falling in the District around 8pm last night with nearly ten inches now on the ground. The National Weather Service is forecasting an additional 12-15 inches for the District with heaviest snow falls between 7am and 6pm on Saturday. The Mayor declared a snow emergency in the District of Columbia which went into effect at 7am Saturday morning.
“This storm system has only just begun and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg,” said Mayor Fenty. “By the end of this the District could see over two feet of snow and it is imperative people stay off the roadways so our crews can get their work done.”
The District’s Snow Team (Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works) launched a full deployment of snow removal equipment and personnel to treat and clear all of the city’s major and residential streets. District snow crews are expected to be clearing city streets well into Monday. Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for most of Sunday and into Monday which means overnight refreezing will occur.
“District snow crews have been treating roadways since Thursday,” said DDOT Director Klein. “We made shift changes this morning and crews are back on the roadways, but this is a significant amount of snow, more than the District has seen in years, and it is really important our crews have access to the streets.”
District officials are also asking residents to do some interim removal and treatments on sidewalks and steps and stairways.
“This snow is coming in very fast, over an inch an hour is expected during the day today,” said DPW Director Howland. “Residents should take time during the day to start removing snow and treating sidewalks so they are not left with an overwhelming amount at the end of the storm and please remember to help your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled.”
Residents are reminded to spread salt or kitty litter on their sidewalks, walkways and steps during the snow. This should make it easier to shovel the snow after the storm ends.
Regional reports overnight of abandoned vehicles has brought concern to the area. The District also wants to remind people that if they must be in their cars they should make sure they are prepared with enough gas in the gas tank, high levels of windshield washer fluid, and a safety kit in the car including blankets, water, and cell phone chargers, Drivers should try and move their broken down vehicle to the side of the road and put their emergency flashers on. The storm is moving fast and near blizzard conditions are making it difficult to see other vehicles as site lines are limited.
DPW and DDOT remind visitors and residents to:
- Not drive unless it is absolutely necessary.
- If people must be in their vehicles remember that driving on ice is significantly different than driving on snow.
- Use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles.
- Remember even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well in ice and additional safety measure should be followed.
- Be aware of road conditions, particularly black ice which can be deceptive in its appearance giving the driver a false sense of security on the road.
- Watch for slippery bridge decks, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.
- Remember to keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles and please use caution when attempting to pass a snowplow. Give the drivers plenty of room to safely do their jobs.
- Clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle's windows and lights - even the hood and roof - before driving.
- Help your elderly or disabled neighbors remove snow from steps and sidewalks.
- Clear catch basins and fire hydrants.
- Please do not put snow in the street. Put all cleared snow, from parked cars and sidewalks, in the "tree box," front yard, or between the curb and sidewalk.
- Remember to clear vehicles of all snow and ice including the tops before traveling on roadways.
For more information about the District snow plan, visit ddot.dc.gov/snow