The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

D.C. region continues to recover from Monday’s major snowstorm

Power outages and downed trees remain, and some schools in Virginia will remain closed for the rest of the week

A snow removal and road treatment truck is seen in D.C. after several inches of snow fell in the region Jan. 5. (D.C. Department of Public Works)
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Two days after the largest snowstorm since 2019 walloped the D.C. region, residents are still digging out amid school closures, public transportation delays, power outages, downed trees and icy roads.

The snowstorm has created a nightmare for commuters and travelers this week.

Even after Interstate 95 in Virginia was cleared of historic standstill traffic that left hundreds of commuters, including a U.S. senator, trapped on the highway for more than 24 hours, recovery around the Beltway proceeded slowly — and forecasters warned of additional snow expected Thursday.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in advance of the new snow.

“Having two bouts of snow and icy weather back to back makes it more likely communities will need additional help as they continue to recover from the first round of tree-snapping wet snow and ice that we saw Monday,” Northam (D) said in a news release.

Officials cautioned that some roads, including those in the Fredericksburg area of Virginia where I-95 was shut down Monday and Tuesday, may still be closed at times because of icy conditions.

A few inches of snow possible Thursday night, with slick roads Friday morning

On Wednesday, some schools were still closed or had delayed openings, and the federal government opened three hours late. In Virginia, Stafford and Fredericksburg public schools said they closed classrooms for the rest of the week because of dangerous road conditions and power outages. Arlington County Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools all said they would be closed Thursday.

About 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, about 52,000 Dominion Energy customers were without service in Virginia, according to outage maps, and about 88 Pepco customers were without power in D.C. and Maryland.

Thousands of flights were delayed at the region’s airports, while commuters faced patchy service on trains and buses. Metrobus ran on a limited schedule because of the weather, and VRE — Virginia’s commuter train service — canceled trips for the day because of downed trees and freezing rain overnight. MARC trains also ran on a reduced schedule, officials said.

No major crashes were reported on main commuter roads early Wednesday, but officials said many secondary streets in the region remained unplowed. Maryland state highway officials cautioned commuters that icy conditions remain on surfaces that refroze overnight and advised drivers to delay morning trips.

Downed trees closed both sides of the Clara Barton Parkway in the Glen Echo area of Montgomery County, but the road reopened before noon.

In Virginia, I-95 in the Fredericksburg area reopened Tuesday evening after a 48-mile backup left motorists stranded overnight without food and water as several crashes shut down the highway.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was stranded on the highway for nearly 27 hours, had a firsthand view of infrastructure failure in the state he once governed. The traffic jam, during which marooned commuters raided a bakery truck for sustenance, quickly became a national news story.

“It was cold,” Kaine told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “It was very cold.”

I-95 reopens in Virginia after winter storm forced closure that stranded motorists

Virginia Department of Transportation officials also warned motorists of icy roads and advised people to “stay off the roads this AM if you can … Remember, there’s no strategy to driving on ice!”

In the District, officials said they had about 140 plows out clearing streets in neighborhoods. The city’s snowplow tracker showed that crews had made progress, particularly east of the Anacostia River where on Tuesday it appeared that many roads were awaiting service. The D.C. Department of Public Works said crews salt the roads when temperatures fall below freezing and plow when more than two to three inches of snow accumulate.

Forecasters for The Post’s Capital Weather Gang said there could be some melting of snow by the afternoon as high temperatures are expected to reach the mid-40s. But forecasters are predicting more snow Thursday night from a system coming in from the southwest. Accumulation is expected to be just a few inches, with the snowfall ending early Friday.