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Live updates: March winter storm hits D.C. area

People walk near the U.S. Capitol in early morning snow in Washington, March 3, 2014. The National Weather Service predicted the storm will bring up to 9 inches (23 cm) of snow to the Washington area. Votes scheduled for Monday in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate were postponed, and District of Columbia Public Schools have canceled classes REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENVIRONMENT)

People walk near the U.S. Capitol in early morning snow. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

An arctic cold front responsible for record-shattering cold in the northern U.S. has hit the D.C. area while a moisture-infused southern storm makes its approach. The result was crashing temperatures, and rain changing to heavy snow. About 4 to 8 inches of snow has fallen across the region through Monday afternoon on top of a slick layer of sleet. The night is expected to bring frigid temperatures.

(For the latest forecasts, visit the Capital Weather Gang)

Wrapping up the liveblog

We are wrapping up the liveblog for the evening. For the latest on the storm and the deep freeze tonight, see the Capital Weather Gang. See our closings list for school districts that have cancelled classes on Tuesday. Dr. Gridlock will have the latest during what is likely to be an icy, icy commute in the morning.

2 Va. school districts close Tuesday

Prince William County and Falls Church City schools have announced they will be closed on Tuesday. So far, they are the first school district in the region to suspend classes for a second day. See our closings list for the latest updates throughout the evening.

Photo: Frozen nation from space

The power of today’s storm was on display in NASA satellite images. One of the shots makes a swathe of the nation from Kansas to New Jersey look like a scene from “The Day After Tomorrow.”  Mark Berman has more on the nationwide impact of the storm here.

Forecast: Everything freezes solid

Thought we were done with winter weather? Think again. The Capital Weather Gang says the bitter season that won’t end has at least one more blow in store for us tonight. Things will turn dangerously cold and the slushy mess on the roads and sidewalks is expected to freeze solid:

Overnight tonight, if skies clear out as expected, it will really allow temperatures to tumble. Lows may drop to near 0 in our colder suburbs to around 10 degrees downtown…Even as winds gradually diminish, wind chills will likely be below zero at times overnight. This extreme cold means any slushy snow will freeze like a rock and untreated roads and sidewalks will turn icy.

It’s so cold Bigfoot has even come out of hiding.

Reagan National reopens runway

From Lori Aratani:

Reagan National Airport has reopened a runway, after hundreds of flights were delayed there and at the region’s other airports during the storm. Both Dulles and BWI also have their runways open, with limited flights taking off.

Mark Berman has details on the nationwide problems caused by the snowfall. Nearly 3,000 flights have been canceled and 7,200 have been delayed across the country today, according to FlightAware. You might want to charge up the iPad.

Unfortunately, it appears the runway opening is coming too late for some travelers, who plan to spend the night at Reagan.

Senate postpones votes after storm

From Ed O’Keefe:

The U.S. Senate has postponed votes originally scheduled for Monday evening until Wednesday morning as snowfall across Washington forces the postponement of legislative business.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday afternoon and will be open so that senators may speak if they want, but there will be no roll call votes, leadership aides said. Instead, votes will begin Wednesday morning on a series of confirmation votes for nominees to district courts and for Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Votes will continue later Wednesday and Thursday on nominees before senators move on to debating the reauthorization of a child care development block grant program.

The House is still scheduled to reconvene and hold its first votes of the week Tuesday evening.

Timelapse video: The storm in a minute

From Melina Mara:

With the storm wrapping up, this is the perfect way to review the action. Melina Mara compressed four hours of snowfall into a single minute. Despite the wintery conditions, a few cars and people could still be seen at the intersection of 18th Street and Florida Ave.

Snow ends across the region

The Capital Weather Gang reports snow has tapered off across the entire region, but that is giving way to a frigid night that could freeze un-plowed roads and cause other problems. Please be safe out there. See snow totals from across the region here and what schools will be closed on Tuesday.

Travelers, dog to spend night at Reagan

Reaganovernight

From Lori Aratani:

Kathleen and Jennifer Kufel of Detroit spent a lovely few days in Washington, D.C. And from the looks of it Monday afternoon, it appeared they might be spending at least another.

The pair had come to D.C. so Jennifer could spend some time at Georgetown University where she’ll be starting graduate school in the nurse midwife program. After some time on campus, they put on comfortable shoes and did the tourist thing. Museums, monuments — in all, 30 miles of walking — with Jennifer’s dog, a Pekingese named Jasmine in tow.

“It was a great weekend,” said Kathleen, who was making her first trip to the nation’s capital.

The trio were slated to depart Monday at 4 p.m. to Detroit via Atlanta. Ever the optimists — and heartened by reports from their airline that their flight was indeed departing — they got to Reagan at 8 a.m. thinking perhaps they could get on an earlier flight. It was not to be.

They huddled and came up with a plan: they booked the first flight out on Southwest Tuesday morning, snagged two rocking chairs in a quiet corner of Terminal A with a view of the runways and set up camp. Jennifer popped open a pink portable play area for Jasmine and they settled in for the duration. Using their suitcases as foot rests,bottled waters within reach, it all looked pretty darn comfortable.

2 Va. school districts close Tues.

Prince William County and Falls Church schools have announced they will be closed on Tuesday. So far, they are the first school district in the region to suspend classes for a second day. See our closings list for the latest updates throughout the evening.

Silver lining? Stink bugs stopped cold.

emerald ash borer

From Darryl Fears:

A lot of people are grumbling about this year’s long, bitter, snowy winter, but there is a silver lining: populations of stink bugs and other invasive species have taken a massive hit. The Post’s Darryl Fears wrote this article before today’s storm, but it’s worth considering now for a bit of brightness amid the winter gloom:

  • The Forest Service reported 80 percent of ash borers died when temperatures dipped below minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Paul, Minn. The bugs devastate ash trees.
  • A Virginia Tech professor found 95 percent of stink bugs — that suburban plague — died in buckets meant to simulate conditions on a zero degree day.
  • Corn-chomping earworms, the notorious gypsy moth and a number of other species were also decimated.

But biologists warn it’s only a temporary reprieve. In other words: they’ll be back.

Bigfoot sighted in D.C.?

If you’re going to have to deal with snow and freezing temperatures in March, you might as well have fun.

Video: Enjoying snow, but hoping for an end

From PostTV:

With the government closed, D.C. residents explored the snow Monday, some hoping it will be the last storm of the season.

Passengers wait for runways to reopen at Reagan National

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in the D.C. area and thousands of flights have been cancelled across the country, giving weary-of-winter passengers yet another chance to practice patience. Lori Aratani sends this dispatch from Reagan National:

At Reagan National, the security queues in Terminals B and C were deserted, but still a fair number of passengers strolled through the terminals, grabbing a cruller at Dunkin’ Donuts or some sushi and miso soup at Matsutake. Call them the optimists.

After holding out hope that flight operations might resume mid-morning, airport officials finally shut down the airport’s runways around 10 a.m. as crews worked to clear the snow. Many passengers with scheduled departures and early hotel checkout headed to the airport anyway, and settled in for a long day of waiting and hoping.

Garth Hodgins and Justine Farrell were among them. The pair, who flew in Friday evening for Hodgins’s cousins’ Saturday wedding, anticipated problems getting back to West Palm Beach. So they rebooked, hoping to get out Sunday evening — a day early, when rain was the only issue. But it was not to be.

“It was delay, delay, delay,” Hodgins said. “And then it was canceled.

So they rebooked and headed to a hotel for the night.

“There’s nothing you can do about it,” he said as he watched crews working to clear the snow from Reagan’s runways. “So I don’t bother getting excited about it.

As for the snow, it doesn’t faze him. He went to the University of Michigan.

“I don’t miss this one bit,” he said. “that’s why I live in Florida.”

He joked that he was now officially declaring a ban on family weddings during winter months. But he did confess his relatives could be in for some flight delays of their own, come September.

He and Farrell are scheduled to be married in Florida — right in the middle of hurricane season.

No word on lifting D.C. snow emergency

epa04074931 Trucks plow snow, ice and rain water on 23rd street with the Lincoln Memorial seen behind, in Washington DC, USA, 13 February 2014. The Washington DC area was pounded by a snowstorm, with accumulation expected to reach twelve inches in some areas, as the storm moved up the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast region of the US.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Trucks plow snow, ice and rain water in downtown Washington. (US. EPA/Michael Reynolds)

The Post’s Mike DeBonis reports:

The District’s snow emergency declaration will remain in effect indefinitely, Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Monday, meaning parking remains prohibited on many major city thoroughfares and taxicabs may continue to levy a special $15 surcharge.

Gray declined to say when the snow emergency might be lifted. “I don’t want to start giving times,” he said at a noon news conference. “We’ll do it when it seems prudent.”

There is also no immediate word on whether city offices and public schools will remain closed Tuesday. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul A. Quander Jr. said the call would made sometime after a regional conference call scheduled for 6 p.m.

While the snow is expected to taper off this afternoon, Quander said, other factors could come into play. “The temperatures are going to be severe,” he said. “The wind chills are going to be near zero or below. … We will act responsibly.”

William O. Howland, the city’s public works director, said some characteristics of the storm may cause it to have a larger impact than previous storms with similar snow totals. The rain that preceded the snow made the usual pre-treatments of brine or beet juice less effective, and the severe temperatures expected later Tuesday will also have an effect.

“The salt we have is really begins to lose its effectiveness after 22 degrees,” he said. “It works; it just doesn’t work as fast.”

Trash and recycling collection has also been canceled for Monday, Howland said. Workers will work overtime shifts later this week to make up, he added, but it could be days before trucks will be able to navigate some alleys.

Limited Ride On bus service to resume at 3 p.m.

Bill Turque reports:

Montgomery County officials just announced that Ride On bus service will resume limited service on some routes today starting at 3 p.m. The last bus trips for the evening will leave from Metrorail stations at 10 p.m.

Core routes that will operate are Routes 1, 5, 8, 15, 16, 17, 23, 30, 34, 43, 46, 47, 55, 56, 59, 61 and 100. Passengers should expect delays, with bus service every 30 to 60 minutes.

Metro buses are not running; service has been suspended for the rest of the day and may resume Tuesday, Metro officials said.

Tomato truck overturns on Rte. 50

Lynh Bui reports:

A tractor-trailer carrying tomatoes overturned on U.S. Route 50 in Maryland, shutting down eastbound lanes of traffic near Lottsford Vista Road in Lanham, according to Maryland public safety officials.

The truck’s saddle tank is leaking diesel and the driver of the tractor trailer was taken to the hospital, but his injuries were not considered serious, fire officials said. Only one and a half lanes are getting by and hazmat worked are still on the scene.

Maryland State Police are also on the scene as crews work to pick the truck up off its side and offlload material, authorities said. Traffic is being directed to the right shoulder during the clean-up. Drivers should expect delays.

Map: Snowfall around the region

Snow has been falling all morning across much of the region, and the map below shows what we have to show for it. The storm stretched into West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but 0utside of the dark pocket flanking I-70 between Mt. Airy and Frederick, most of the D.C. region has seen 4 inches or less of snowfall today.

How to become a yeti

As Washington prepares to dig out of this latest snow storm, there are some folks who need a little extra help and others who have extra energy and goodwill to spare. Snowcrew.org aims to connect those two groups, helping potential do-gooders find neighbors who could use a hand.

People who need help shoveling out can go to snowcrew.org and sign up, as can volunteers — known as “yetis,” in Snowcrew-speak — looking for neighbors in need. The Web site matches pair who live nearby one another and, according to the folks behind the effort, “the net result is a closer, healthier, more resilient community.”

A “volunteer community initiative” that had its roots in 2009 in the snowy streets of Boston, Snowcrew has since expanded its reach south along the Eastern seaboard to Virginia.

Va. police: More than 300 crashes

Virginia State Police have fielded nearly 1,000 calls for assistance since midnight and have responded to 156 disabled vehicles and more than 300 traffic crashes, according to officials.

Most of the accidents have left vehicles damaged but people uninjured, and there have been no weather-related traffic deaths, according to state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The commonwealth’s Richmond division had the most calls for help, with troopers responding to 151 crashes and 22 disabled vehicles. There have been 65 crashes and 41 disabled vehicles in the Fairfax division.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has declared a state of emergency to speed the storm response and clean-up.

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