Near-freezing temperatures yesterday kept the remnants of Thursday night's snowstorm in slushy piles and puddles that often made driving, or even walking, hazardous.
While road crews throughout the region claimed victories in clearing the main traffic arteries and interstate highways, side streets and secondary roads still wore the snow, topped by sleet and freezing rain, that accumulated overnight in amounts ranging from 2 1/2 inches in Oxon Hill to 6 1/2 inches in Herndon.
National Airport reported 3 inches of snow; Dulles International got 4.7 inches; and Baltimore-Washington International Airport measured 5 inches of snow, according to Melody Hall, of the National Weather Service.
"The main problems are slush on the side streets and standing water, especially in construction areas such as the Whitehurst Freeway and the Ellington Bridge," said Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Public Works. "In those places, there's just no place for the water to go."
Lehon Hamilton, maintenance manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation in Loudoun County, reported more serious problems. "The back roads are covered with snow and will likely be covered until it warms up," he said.
Those warming temperatures, accompanied later in the day by gentle rains, are expected to move into the area today, and National Weather Service forecasters say that anything lingering on the ground after that will vanish tomorrow when the highs climb to near 60 degrees.
Highs today are expected to reach the upper forties, after overnight lows near freezing. Skies are forecast to remain cloudy.
But yesterday morning, most Washington area residents awoke to an ice-encrusted world, created by freezing rain that fell after the snow and sleet. Trees and shrubbery glistened, icicles hung from power lines and rooftops, sidewalks were sheets of ice.
Bad road conditions and this week's holiday slowdown kept many commuters at home and yesterday morning's inbound rush-hour traffic was slowed to little more than a sluggish trickle.
Connie King, a Pentagon employee, left her home in Prince William County at 4:30 a.m. to be certain her son and daughter would make a 7:30 a.m. flight from National Airport. By 5:20 a.m., she was at the airport. "I made such good time that National wasn't open," King said.
Police across the area said there were scores of minor collisions, but no serious accidents or injuries were reported. Special problem areas were at Interstate 66 and Route 234, where there was a cluster of accidents, and Route 15 near Lucketts in Loudoun County, which was closed until about 10 a.m. because of a truck accident late Thursday.
The biggest commuter problem was along East-West Highway in Montgomery County, where a large tree toppled by the weight of ice blocked the roadway and brought down nearby power lines. Traffic was detoured between Connecticut Avenue and Beach Drive until noon.
Snow was generally deeper west and north of downtown Washington, but electrical power outages attributed to downed tree limbs and power lines were spread throughout the area. At the height of the storm, about 16,000 customers were without electricity: 3,000 in Northern Virginia and 13,000 in Maryland and the District.
Power to all but a few hundred scattered customers was restored by midday yesterday.
Metro spokeswoman Mary Buckley said all bus service was back to normal by 11:30 a.m., and there were no problems on rail lines.
The snow emergency, which went into effect in the District at 3 p.m. Thursday, was lifted at 9 a.m. yesterday, but in the meantime, 2,182 cars had $100 tickets left on their windshields for parking on emergency roads, and 272 of those were towed.
One power problem in the District that wasn't directly blamed on the snow, sleet or rain was a 4 1/2 hour outage at the U.S. Postal Service office at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE. "The building is being renovated and the power problems are related to that," said Gwen Harvey, Postal Service spokeswoman. "Everyone will get their deliveries," she said.
Staff writers Veronica T. Jennings and Robert O'Harrow Jr. contributed to this report.