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)
It’s only been a few weeks since D.C. last declared a snow emergency, but it’s still a relatively rare occurrence.
Here’s a refresher course on what to expect when the District’s snow emergency goes into effect at 7 a.m. today, courtesy of the Post’s Lori Aratani: In the District, parking will be restricted along snow emergency routes beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. If your car is parked along one of these routes, you’ll face a $250 fine, plus a $100 towing fee and a $25 impound fee. Note: This fee will double after 48 hours and increase by $25 every 24 hours thereafter. So bottom line: Move your car.
And if your car does get towed, you can go here for help finding it.
Here’s a look at where to avoid parking while the snow emergency is in effect:
If you’re taking a cab, the fare will also be higher during the snow emergency.
Just confirmed: $15 taxi snow surcharge goes into effect at 7 a.m., will remain in effect until further notice.— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) March 2, 2014
Most D.C.-area schools and government offices had made the call to close today long before the first flakes began to fall.
Federal offices in the Washington area are closed, though emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies. Every major school system in the region and many local colleges are also closed.
Travel is going to be tough today: Metro has suspended bus service in anticipation of treacherous weather, and airport officials, expecting widespread flight cancellations, are warning passengers to check with their airlines before leaving their homes.
Here is our full list of closures.
Rain has given way to snow and temperatures have fallen into the 20s across the much of the region, according to the latest from the Capital Weather Gang. All there is to do now is wait for the inches to start piling up.
Here’s a live feed of the Capitol, where the weather has forced Congress to take a snow day:
More than 2,000 flights nationwide already have been cancelled today, including hundreds into and out of Washington-area airports.
Airlines began canceling flights and waiving ticket change fees last night in anticipation of the storm. This morning’s cancellations include nearly 500 flights scheduled to leave Reagan National, Dulles and Baltimore-Washington International, according to the website FlightAware, plus another 400 flights scheduled to arrive at those airports.
Reagan National is the hardest hit so far, but authorities at all three airports are warning passengers to check with their airlines before bothering to leave home.
Snow removal in progress and ongoing. Plz contact your Airline for specific flight info, as many flts during the morning hrs may be affected— BWI Marshall Airport (@BWI_Airport) March 3, 2014
Early risers are taking to Twitter to report on the state of the roads and sidewalks as snow begins to accumulate in and around Washington:
Sidewalks are sheets of ice pellets,then rain, then wind, now snow is falling. It’s like the movie Frozen on Cap Hill. @capitalweather— joannehatfield (@HattieinDC) March 3, 2014
An inch of snow covers Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. pic.twitter.com/TRJLgIngLz— T. Rees Shapiro (@TReesShapiro) March 3, 2014
With the exception of Metrorail, most public transportation is not running this morning as Washington hunkers down for the worst of the storm. Officials in many jurisdictions say they may begin running buses in the afternoon, depending on road conditions.
In his latest forecast for the Capital Weather Gang, Jason Samenow assures us that this as-yet-unnamed storm is not going to be a bust:
Snow is falling steadily across the region and road crews are standing ready with plows, trucks and plenty of salt, Dana Hedgpeth reports.
About 4,000 snow plows and salt trucks headed out across Northern Virginia Sunday night, and Maryland has assigned more than 2,000 employees to take care of its roads. The District — where a snow emergency took effect at 7 a.m. — is ready to deploy about 200 plows.
Schools are closed. The federal government is closed. Local governments are closed. But plenty of bars and restaurants (and one Smithsonian museum) are open! The folks at Going Out Guide have put together this roundup of snow-day specials for all those lucky enough to have the day off.
There’s a bit of an outer-space theme so far: the lone museum operating today is the National Air and Space Museum, and Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights is showing the original Star Wars trilogy starting at 12:30 pm.
Due to pending snow, the National Zoo and all Smithsonian museums in Washington except Air&Space will be CLOSED tomorrow, March 3. Be safe!— AmericanIndianMuseum (@SmithsonianNMAI) March 3, 2014
For all you hardy bike commuters out there, Capital Bikeshare is up and running — at least for now.
@christinemccann The system is up and running at this time. We’re continuing to monitor weather conditions.— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) March 3, 2014
There are some Washingtonians who can’t get enough of the snow.
This winter makes me think I may enjoy living in the twin cities. Love the snow.— Elissa Silverman (@tweetelissa) March 3, 2014
And then there are the rest of us: sick of winter storm warnings, ready for cherry blossoms. The Post’s T. Rees Shapiro reports from Fauquier County:
Hazel Miller drove from her home on Duke St. in Alexandria to take her elderly mother to Bingo night in Winchester. On Monday morning, she was shoveling the driveway of her mother’s home outside Marshall, Va. Miller said she’s tired of the weather.
“I hate it,” Miller said, pushing the wispy snow with her orange shovel.
Miller awoke at 6 a.m., and went right downstairs to get shoveling. Her mother’s home sits right next to a major road into the town and all morning snowplows had been pouring snow onto the driveway, undoing her shovel-work.
“Got to keep it down over there,” she said pointing toward the lip of the drive, where small drifts were forming near the side of the road.
“It seems like there’s more ice in it than last time,” Miller said of the snow. Thankfully, she said, “it doesn’t seem that cold out here. But it’s still coming down.”