Coming up: Act 3.

By tonight, the Washington area is likely to be hit by its third light snowfall of the season, with an additional one to three inches expected, said National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Poole.

Far less snow nearly brought the metropolitan area to its knees Tuesday night, snarling traffic and making some commutes hours long.

But Prince William County seemed to recover well. Schools were closed Thursday and opened two hours late yesterday, giving snowplows and salt trucks a chance to treat the roads. The commute yesterday was uneventful.

Bertha Johnson, who works in Crystal City, usually has a 45-minute commute to her home in Woodbridge. Tuesday night was different.

"It took me 2 1/2 hours to get home, so I said, 'Forget it. I'm not trying this again,' " said Johnson, 40, who stayed home from work Thursday.

She stopped her snow shoveling to engage in a little snowball warfare with her grandson and some other children in her Woodbridge neighborhood.

"I was supposed to be shoveling snow, but they started throwing snow at me so I decided to join in," said Johnson, 40, dodging a soft wad. "This is great. We just moved back here from San Diego, so for us it's beautiful."

One of Johnson's young neighbors, 14-year-old Chris Gaskins, said he got up Thursday morning, took a shower and dressed for school before he found out that classes had been canceled for the day. When he found out he didn't have to go to his classes at Woodbridge Senior High School, "I took everything off and went back to sleep."

He wasn't down for long, though. Chris, a ninth-grader, emerged from his home around 9 a.m. to hang out with his friends. "I want more of this," he said.

Tony Green, 43, didn't have the day off, but he decided to stay home Thursday anyway. "I'm not going to slide into anybody, and I'm not going to let anyone slide into me," said Green, who was tossing snowballs back and forth with his children, DariAnne, 8, and Darius, 10, in front of their Dale City house.

They didn't make it out until a little later in the afternoon. "We were too busy eating and watching television," said Darius, a fifth-grader at King Elementary School.

DariAnne, a third-grader at King, admitted that she was a little bit disappointed when she heard on the news that school was canceled.

"I liked it a little bit, and I didn't like it a little bit," she said. She liked it "because she got to play in the snow," but "I wanted to go to school, too," she said.

In Dale City, Mike Beamer, 29, spent his day off sculpting a likeness of the Teletubby character Po as a treat for his 18-month-old daughter.

"I always make things out of snow. It's beautiful," said Beamer, who was adding a finishing touch of red spray paint to the four-foot high creation.

"This is the only thing to do on a day off with snow," he said.