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Cold, snow crack water mains, delay openings

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By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 8, 2010; 10:54 PM

Cold and snow plagued the Washington area on many fronts Friday, delaying school openings, cracking water mains, and, according to news reports, trapping a school bus and preventing a high-profile court appearance.

According to reports to the National Weather Service, snow accumulations around the area ranged from one to two inches. Just before noon Friday, a 20-mile-an-hour wind was blowing from the northwest at Reagan National Airport. The temperature was well below freezing.

At 9 p.m. the wind was still gusting to 17 miles an hour, with a temperature of 24. The latest weather service forecast called for a mostly sunny Saturday with highs in the lower 30s and northwest winds of 10 to 15 miles an hour.

Meanwhile, wintry conditions were blamed for an incident in which a school bus was stranded amid icy roads in the Hollin Hills neighborhood of Fairfax County.

WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported that repeated slipping on Stafford Road halted a vehicle headed to Stratford Landing Elementary School with 13 children and two adults. Another bus picked them up some time afterward, the station said.

In another weather-related matter, Tareq Salahi, who achieved celebrity as an alleged gate-crasher at a White House dinner, told a judge that he could not appear Friday in a court in Frederick County, Va., because he was snowed in, according to WTTG-TV (Channel 5).

After snow fell overnight, only the D.C. public schools and some private schools said they would open on time Friday morning.

Charles County in Maryland and Stafford County in Virginia closed their public schools for the day; other suburban systems and many private schools announced two-hour delays, in some cases canceling morning kindergarten or pre-kindergarten.

Water mains, notoriously vulnerable to wintry weather, demonstrated that vulnerability. The District's Water and Sewer Authority listed eight sites where repairs had been started, or would start since Thursday. These included 15th Street NW near Chapin Street, Connecticut Avenue NW near 38th Street, and Howard Road SE near Bowen Road.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission reported breaks in Montgomery and Prince George's County.

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