D.C. area residents and officials who went to bed Monday night anticipating a blanket of snow by morning woke up to find that the meteorological menace lurking in the Atlantic was really a weather wimp.
As a storm headed this way from the Midwest weakened, another storm formed in the Atlantic off the Virginia Capes and forecasters believed it might leave one or more inches of snow on the area by yesterday morning.
Transportation officials mobilized their troops Monday, ready to battle the snow by spreading salt and sand on icy roads and bulldozing any accumulation that hampered traffic.
The Atlantic storm, however, turned out to be too weak to come inland with much force. The D.C. area received a bare covering of white and one or two inches were reported in northern Maryland and into Delaware, said Scott Prosise, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
D.C. Department of Public Works officials had declared a partial mobilization of snow removal crews, stationing 32 of 87 snow removal trucks around the city.
"It was after the morning rush hour today that we brought our trucks in from the street," George Schoene, a traffic engineer for the department, said yesterday. "I don't think we spread anything anywhere. We didn't do anything."
Despite a midnight reading of 22 degrees at National Airport yesterday and 20-mile-per-hour winds from the northwest sending the chill factor to minus 7 degrees, area police reported no incidents involving icy roads. Electric utilities said their customers experienced no downed lines or power outages.
Today's forecast calls for a high temperature in the low 30s under partly sunny skies, with winds from the west at 10 miles an hour. In downtown Washington tonight, the temperature is expected to fall to the low teens.
Tomorrow and Friday, the high temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s. Rain, but no snow, is forecast for New Year's Day.