Frigid temperatures for rest of January will allow Washington region’s snow to linger

January 22

Washington made a pact with the devil named snow Wednesday, scraping it from roads, walkways and cars while begrudgingly accepting that it’s going to be around for a while.

With temperatures registering in single digits at dawn and struggling to get beyond that, the snow that fell Tuesday wasn’t likely to go anywhere soon. The sun seemed to rise with an apologetic shrug, aware that its meager contribution might get the thermometer a tick above freezing on Saturday and Sunday. But little true break in the chill is predicted until the end of the month.

This snow will turn gray with age before it goes away.

“We remain extremely cold through Friday, with a few chances of flurries and snow showers Thursday into the weekend,” said Dan Stillman of The Post’s Capital Weather Gang. “More significant melting has to wait until Saturday, when temperatures finally get back into the 30s. Florida, anyone?”

The cliches of the day were “digging out” and “getting back to normal,” with a little “bone-chilling” in the mix.

The Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow says the snow falling on the Washington area will continue to increase in intensity this afternoon, followed by a drop in temperatures. (Pamela Kirkland/The Washington Post)

“I don’t know if it’s worthy of a couple days off of work,” said Laurel Anderson, 39, who moved to the District from the Midwest 12 years ago.

She called the winter storm a “little bit over-hyped” as she shoveled the front steps of her home near the U Street corridor.

“This is not that big of a deal, but I won’t complain about two days off after a three-day weekend,” said Anderson, who works at a charter school that usually closes when D.C. public schools do. She took the cold in stride, saying, “I’m layered and I’m exercising.”

Most of the region’s schools were closed Wednesday, filling the hillsides with sledders. Universities that had shut down began to reopen. Transportation departments in the District and its two neighboring states reported that main roadways were mostly clear and traffic was flowing.

“We continue to ask motorists to drive with extreme caution as crews continue addressing ramps and secondary roads,” said Melinda B. Peters, who heads Maryland’s State Highway Administration.

“Even if it looks plowed, it can still be slippery in spots,” said Jennifer McCord of the Virginia Department of Transportation. Some secondary roads were snow-packed, she said.

Mike Santangelo, 48, stopped at a Rockville gas station and eyed nearby Rockville Pike. He was glad to see that the plows had been through and travel was smooth.

“I thought it was more ridiculous last night,” he said.

Having spent most of her life on the West Coast, Katie Wright, 22, said she considered the snow a remarkable sight by any measure. Wright moved in August from Portland, Ore., to the District, but is originally from the San Francisco Bay area.

“People keep telling me this is really unusual,” Wright said as she worked to clear the sidewalk Wednesday morning in front of BakeHouse, her workplace at 1407 T St. NW. “You know, in California, we don’t get snow, so this is shocking to me.”

Wright appeared less worried about the bitter cold than she did about the task at hand — shoveling snow for the first time.

“I’m kind of doubting my abilities right now,” she said as she reviewed the half-covered sidewalk in front of the bakery. “I don’t know if I’m doing it right.”

For Mo Jackson, 45, the emerging sun tempered the bitter cold as he applied ice-melting compound Wednesday morning to the sidewalk near National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Cir. NW. Still, he acknowledged that it had been two weeks since the District last saw single-digit temperatures.

“For me,” the building engineer said with a laugh, “it’s cold.”

But as he surveyed the area, Jackson added, “It’s not too bad, since we got a sunny day and the wind is not kicking up like I expected.”

DeNeen Brown, Donna St. George, Victoria St. Martin and Katherine Shaver contributed to this report.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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