An average close to seven inches of snow (6.9″) fell on District streets Monday. That’s the most on one day in about three years, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
The snow closed down government buildings, shut down streets and took down entire trees. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) declared a snow emergency for Monday, later extending it by twelve hours to permit crews to continue work as the storm continued into the afternoon.
School re-opening was delayed to Thursday after pick-up of COVID rapid tests at school buildings was pushed from Monday to Tuesday due to weather. But some students were nonetheless denied a snow day as a few private and public charter schools started their first day virtually Monday as part of COVID-19 protocols.
It’s not clear if that’s going to be part of the “new normal” –at a press conference late Monday morning, Bowser said she wasn’t sure whether future snow days at DC Public Schools might go virtual, deferring decisions to Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, who was not at the conference.
Department of Public Works (DPW) crews were out by midnight Sunday, salting routes in advance of the storm. Into Tuesday morning, Bowser encouraged residents to stay off the roads to allow crews to clean residential streets Tuesday. Vehicles are being towed from snow emergency routes.
In addition to snow removal, city crews dealt with branches and trees felled by the weight of unusually wet and heavy snow. An entire tree collapsed a fence in a residential yard on North Carolina Avenue, near Eastern Market; a block away, crews clearing fallen branches in front of William H. Rumsey Aquatic Center (635 North Carolina Ave. SE) at around noon said more than 150 trees were already down throughout the District.
Shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) reported that they had dealt with more than 600 tree-related requests, resolving and closing 322 (53%) of them. Another 112 requests were inspected, with work scheduled. That left 174 (29%) requests to be looked at, with more coming in.
“As we continue to provide essential services across the city, we encourage all residents to report all downed tree/broken branches concerns to DC311,” a DDOT spokesperson wrote.
Our team has been working very hard to address 400+ downed tree/ broken branches requests since the start of the snow storm. As we continue to provide essential services across the city, we encourage all residents to report all downed tree/broken branches concerns to @311DCgov. pic.twitter.com/EsFQdTtyo8
— DDOT DC (@DDOTDC) January 4, 2022
The storm stranded drivers on the I-95 for hours, and knocked out power in Virginia and Maryland.
As the snow stopped Monday afternoon and the sun came out, so did many Hill residents. Many immediately began clearing snow from their walkways and cars. Others worked to clear fallen branches and trees from their yards.
Still others headed for Capitol hills for some sledding. The Capitol Grounds were closed for much of Monday due to dangerous trees, reopening at sunset; but families found other Hills, making use of the slope in front of the Library of Congress, filling in stairs at Lincoln Park and sliding from the building into the field at Eastern High School.
“It’s really magical, isn’t it?” one woman said, stopping to take a photo on East Capitol Street as the sun came out.
The Hill really is.