For some in the D.C. region, Thursday morning’s rush hour began before Wednesday night’s commute ended.
An inch or so of snow fell across the D.C. region on Wednesday evening, leaving many of the region’s roads untreated and slippery, leading to delays that WTOP listeners reported as running up to eight hours. Many roads were not pre-treated, and have been occluded by cars that have crashed or been abandoned by drivers who were stuck during the evening.
Jack Taylor, in the says that delays to the Wilson Bridge on the Outer Loop of the Beltway begin at Van Dorn Street; on the Inner Loop, at Branch Avenue.
In Maryland, the worst section is the Outer Loop near Route 210, on the hill heading toward St. Barnabas Road. If cars are getting by, Taylor says, “they’re getting by on ice.”
Crews are treating the roads, Taylor says, but the worst danger is people “over-driving the conditions.” Cars are crashing all over the region, and Taylor urges extraordinary caution.
Nick Iannelli says the major roads in Silver Spring and the rest of Montgomery County are getting a little better, but that there’s still ice under the snow in many spots. “Your tires start spinning; you fishtail, and it’s very difficult to stop.” He adds that tow trucks are beginning to remove abandoned cars. Dennis Foley says that roads are “a little bit slushy” in Old Town Alexandria, with conditions a little better on the main roads, such as the Beltway and the George Washington Parkway. Roads have been salted.
Fairfax County Public Schools announced on Wednesday night that classes would open two hours late on Thursday, but early Thursday morning they decided to close. They’re not the only school system to change their mind after seeing the condition of the roads Thursday morning.
Jeff Platenberg, the county’s assistant superintendent for facilities and transportation, says that they made that determination early Thursday after checking the roads themselves. “We had spotters out on the road as well,” Platenberg said, and they found that “Some of the side roads were really just impassable, and [there were] some treacherous conditions.”
When they sent the notice of the two-hour delay, Platenberg says, the department advised families that that could change by morning.
Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts says that the sun will come out Thursday, and which temperatures around 35, some of the ice on the roads will melt. Not a moment too soon: The snowstorm forecast for Friday afternoon looks to dump more than a foot of snow on the area, with blizzard conditions starting around 4 or 5 p.m.