Heavy snow hits D.C. area, closes schools and cuts power to about 500,000

By Zarrin Ahmed
The U.S. Capitol is seen through snow-covered trees as a winter storm hits the Mid-Atlantic region covering Washington, D.C., on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A winter storm produced heavy snowfall in the Washington, D.C., area on Monday, prompting a severe weather warning and closures of schools and government offices.

The snow began to fall early Monday and forecasters said they expected as many as 10 inches in some areas of northern Virginia, central Maryland and Washington, D.C.


Local and federal government offices and schools in the area were closed due to the heavy round of winter weather. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning in effect until at least 4 p.m.

More than 9 inches were reported in Holly Corner, Va., and Waldorf, Md., by early Monday afternoon.

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Hundreds of thousands of customers were without power by 12:30 p.m., due to the storm, according to Most, about 400,000, are in northern Virginia.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a snow emergency at midnight Sunday, which closed government offices and put more than 100 plows on the road to prepare for the severe weather.

Bowser said the snow emergency will last until at least 7 p.m.

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The District of Columbia Public Schools said students and staff wouldn't be able to return to classes until at least Thursday.


Late Sunday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management urged emergency and remote-ready employees to be aware of the storm and its impact on closures.

Non-essential travel has been strongly discouraged and bus service will be available only on major roadways, officials said.

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Numerous crashes were reported on roads in the Washington area -- including more than 80 in Virginia alone, authorities said.

Airports that cover the D.C. area are also on alert due to the storm and could also close if the snowfall becomes too dangerous for air travel. Three airports serve the Washington area -- Reagan National, Dulles and Baltimore/Washington International Airport.

More than 200 flights were canceled by early Monday afternoon at Reagan National and Baltimore/Washington International, according to FlightAware.

Ground stop orders were given at both airports so crews could clear snow off the runways.

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