On Monday, a heavy snowstorm blew through the capital, closing schools and government offices and grounding President Obama’s helicopter.
For the District of Columbia, northern Virginia, and central Maryland, snowfalls of up to 10 inches (25cm) was expected.
The National Weather Service issued an advisory for the area regarding a winter storm. Wind gusts of up 35 mph (56 km/h), according to forecasts, were possible. The hazardous conditions made travel difficult.
“It was foggy and cold yesterday and then 6 inches snow this morning, not even 12 hour later. Shawn Devroude (52), a federal worker, said that it was something he had never seen before. He braved the blizzard-like conditions in Washington to play with MoJo, his border collie, at the Naval Memorial.
Washington was forced to close many of its museums due to heavy snowfall. Four Smithsonian museums were already closed in December due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo announced Monday that it would be closing for the day.
Muriel Bowser, D-C Mayor, declared a snow emergency. She advised residents to stay at home.
She said, “Keep off the roads and let our crews work.”
After spending about a week in Delaware and returning to Washington on Monday, President Joe Biden made a slow but steady return. However, he could have left Sunday to avoid the worst weather.
Biden’s helicopter was stuck in the snow so he motorcaded from Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland to the White House. It was a slow, tedious trek that took almost an entire hour. Although the White House Press briefing was cancelled by Biden, other public events were still being held.
According to FlightAware.com, more than half of Washington’s flights were delayed or cancelled Monday morning. 25% of flights from New York’s three major airports were also delayed or cancelled.
Andrea Klein (23), a Georgetown University graduate student, welcomed the snow after two weeks spent in quarantine following the positive test for COVID-19 by one of her roommates.
While taking photos of the National Mall, she said that things have been feeling a bit stressful lately. It was nice to be able to walk around in snow with friends.
According to the Weather Prediction Centre, 2 inches (5 cm) of snow could fall per hour in certain areas. Thunder snow was also possible.
Many COVID-19 testing sites and vaccination sites were closed in D.C., Virginia and Maryland because of the weather. Multiple school districts in the area said that they would be closing, delayed or having virtual learning Monday.
Karla Rivas, originally from Miami, but now residing in Baltimore, experienced her first ever winter storm.
She said, “I love it.” “It’s great to have seasons.” The National Weather Service issued a warning about a winter storm for Delaware and most of the Eastern Shore and southern New Jersey. Snow accumulations are expected to be 6-12 inches (15-30 cm)
Schools and government offices were closed in central and southern Delaware, while state courts were shut down across the state.
Other parts of the country also experienced a snowy start for the new year.
Oregon and Western Washington saw a mixture of rain and snow. Heavy snow, gusty wind, drifts, and crashes closed down mountain passes, and some highways in the state.
Even Florida woke to snow, with temperatures dropping in the Panhandle following a typical Sunday beach weather.
Virginia’s state police responded in force to more than 500 traffic accidents. One of these included a crash involving six tractor trailers. According to the state Department of Transportation Interstate 95 southbound was closed in Stafford after the crash. Snow fell at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour.
A steeple was swept from the top of Cooper River Baptist Church in North Charleston by the storm. The church’s fibreglass steeple was visible in the roadway when firefighters responded to a call for help regarding a downed line. There were no injuries.
The storm also damaged the docks, and flooding closed many streets in Morehead City, a coastal North Carolina town. WITN-TV reported some homes were surrounded with water.
In north Alabama, snow accumulations reached up to 6 inches (15cm) and authorities reported that many roads were blocked due to icy spots or wrecks.
(This story is not edited by Devdiscourse staff.