As snowstorms go, yesterday's was a wimp -- dropping an inch or so on a city braced for a blizzard, and causing traffic jams and fender benders, but few serious problems.
Weather forecasters had warned of up to five inches of snow for the metro area, but the weather pattern shifted late Sunday, and the little snow that fell seemed to melt as soon as it hit the road.
"If the air flows would have remained Sunday night, we really would have gotten it -- just like predicted," said Bob Oszaja of the National Weather Service. "If the pattern was to repeat itself, everyone would call it the same way. No excuses."
Today's weather, according to the weather service, is expected to stay cold, with highs between 20 and 25 degrees. Tomorrow will bring somewhat warmer temperatures, according to forecasts, with a high of 30 to 33 degrees.
The effect of yesterday's mini-storm was diminished because most area schools were shut for teacher workshops, officials said. Still, the snow slowed commuter traffic, especially for those driving on Rte. I-295 during the morning rush hour when a produce truck overturned at the 11th Street bridge.
That accident tied up inbound traffic for nearly four hours, D.C. police said. Driver Donald Jones, 31, of Broadnax, Va., was cited for traveling at an unreasonable speed, police said. He was taken to D.C. General Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released.
In Fairfax County, Daniel Ruegg, 13, of Annandale was hit by a car as he was sledding outside his home on Braeburn Drive, county police said. Police said the driver of the car left the scene. The boy was admitted to Fairfax Hospital with neck and back injuries and was in fair condition last night, authorities said.
The county's fire and rescue department also reported nearly 40 calls for ice- and snow-related injuries, mostly people who slipped on the slick snow and twisted knees and elbows, said spokeswoman Pam Weiger.
Road crews in Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's sanded, salted and plowed roads, but officials said no major effort was required to keep the highways cleared. "It just hasn't really been much of a problem," said Lynda South, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation.
The local chapter of the American Automobile Association reported more calls about frozen car locks than about dead batteries or towing, said spokesman Doug Neilson. "If you've got frozen car locks, then you're among the masses," he said. Calls were running twice the normal rate at 1 p.m. -- or about 1,250.
Normally, Washington receives an annual snowfall of about 18 inches, and gets almost nine inches by February. So far this season, two inches have fallen on the metropolitan area.
Forecasters initially called for up to five inches of snow in the area. But the strengthening of a low pressure system off North Carolina and the collapse of one off New Jersey caused the bulk of the storm to miss Washington, weather officials said.
Elsewhere, a vicious mix of wind, rain, sleet and snow soaked New England, flooding low-lying areas and dumping an estimated 15 inches of snow on Burlington, Vt.
Frigid arctic air also swept through the midwest on its southern trek to Kentucky, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. Atlanta reported a wind chill of 26 below zero Monday morning, and wind chills of 20 below were reported in Mississippi.
Florida's citrus growers could receive the most serious blow as the year's first severe weather threatened to plunge temperatures to freezing in vulnerable fruit groves