Last Friday marked the first day that Washington DC witnessed one of the worst winter storms ever in years. Emergency crews scurried up and down the streets of the capital and the surrounding area struggling to keep the roads clear of the wet and heavy snow that toppled the trees, blocked cars, and left many without electricity.
Emergency crew worker for Key Landing Apartments in Maryland said, “We’re trying to do as much as we can, but it’s tough trying to keep up with the pace of the snow that’s falling.”
According to residents in the DMV area, the snow has made it very difficult for many to get around their cities.
“I’m going in to work a few hours, to put something together for the next few days, because I probably won’t make it in to work the next few days because of all the snow,” said Mindy Thomas.
Even though the snow has paralyzed most of the area, many people prepared for what was to come. Many families stocked up on food and water, and many more made sure that they were equipped with shovels to dig themselves out of piled up inches of snow. Others weren’t as fortunate to have done so.
Allison Scannel, a resident of VA, went to purchase a shovel Thursday night, but to her surprise, there were only small shovels remaining. The next day, she realized she was in need of a bigger one. Her SUV was covered with fresh white snow while the front of her car suffered from the snow dumped by others trying to clear their own vehicles.
“I called Wal-Mart in the area to check and see if they had any shovels and they told me that they we all out of shovels and salt. I had to borrow one from the neighbors,” said Virginia resident Ali Scannel.
Washington, Maryland and Virginia all declared snow emergencies Friday morning.
In Washington DC, some power lines were down, and bus services as well as underground train services were suspended. In Maryland, public transportation shut down Saturday including Baltimore’s Metro, Greyhound buses were halted, and Amtrak even cancelled some of their Northeast bound passenger trains.
“I don’t have a car, so I use public transportation to get around. Luckily, my place of work is closed today, but there’s no telling when the buses will be running again. Hopefully I won’t have to return to work until they actually do start running again,” said Baltimore resident Walter Hart.
With no means of transportation available, many schools and government offices were forced to close. Snow crews worked around the clock attempting to keep the roads clear. Many stores and restaurants that normally open early and stay open late were forced to do the opposite.
According to Star.com, people were not only stuck in their homes, they were also stuck in airports as well. Several airlines canceled flights Friday. A Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman said the airports were likely to be shuttered all day Saturday.
Mayor Adrian Fenty said record snowfall for DC was 28 inches in 1922. The capital is not accustomed to large amounts of snow. The average annual snowfall for Washington is 15 inches, but recently this winter has been far from average; not to mention the major storm that hit just before Christmas and left 20 inches of snow in some areas.
U.S. authorities believe that the storm is the reason for several accidents that have occurred, including the accident in Virginia’s Wythe County. According to police, a father and a son were stopped on a shoulder to help other injured passengers of a disabled vehicle. Minutes later, a tractor-trailer struck their van while trying to avoid hitting the disabled car. Both father and son died. The accident was only one of the many crashes reported due to the snow.
A record of two and a half feet or more of snow was predicted for the Washington area, while parts of Maryland and Virginia endured more than 20 inches. According to the National Weather Service, snowfalls of this magnitude are rare for this area.
Forecasters said the storm was one of the biggest for the U.S. capital in modern history.