The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the District of Columbia that will remain active for the next 8 hours. Residents are being asked by the city to please remain inside until the roads can be cleared. Heavy snow is falling and roads cannot be cleared if residents are on the roads.
There will be nearly a foot of snow by this afternoon. There is heavy ice under the snow. The temperature is 15 degrees. These are all ingredients for a massive snow problem if there is not coordination and cooperation from city residents and government leaders. Mayor Vincent Gray is asking all residents to please stay off the roads so that city workers can do their jobs of clearing the roads and streets. Stay inside.
With winds up to 30 miles per hour and blowing snow, it is not wise to be outside unless it is an emergency. The National Weather Service said this is heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain. It means severe winter weather conditions are expected. “Significant amounts of ice and snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous and potentially cause power outages. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the National Weather Service said.
Even residents with big Sport Utility Vehicles can get stuck in the snow and create a situation where snow plows cannot gain access to the road. The Winter Storm Warning will remain in effect until 6 p.m. this evening. With both the District of Columbia government and the Federal government closed for the snow, the removal of the commuter traffic should allow snow plows to clear the roads; however, if residents are still trying to venture out into the snow it will make it difficult for the snow plows to navigate around vehicles.
The National Weather Service is providing these snow storm tips to residents:
· Timing: snow, heavy at times this morning. Snow will taper off from north to south this afternoon.
· Temperatures: teens to lower 20s.
· Winds: north 10 to 20 mph with up to 30 mph.
· Impacts: hazardous travel due to snow and blowing snow today.
· Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
· Sand to improve traction.
· Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
· Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
· Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
· Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack - a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
· Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
· Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
· Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
The National Weather Service defines a winter weather event as: 1) snow, ice, or sleet meeting or exceeding locally defined 12 and/or 24 hour warning criteria; or 2) a combination of snow, ice, or sleet and blowing snow with at least one of the precipitation elements meeting or exceeding locally defined 12 and/or 24 hour warning criteria.
District of Columbia residents helped the city by remaining off the roads during the first and second snow event of the year, This is the third snow event and there is heavy ice under the snow. Giving snow plows a fighting chance to remove the massive levels of snow will require that vehicles remain off the roads.