Federal government, schools delayed as area cleans up after snow storm

WASHINGTON — Most major roads in the D.C. area are in good shape leading to relatively easy Thursday morning commute as the area cleans up from one of the biggest snow storms in years.

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Federal agencies in the D.C. area are open under two hours delayed arrival. The federal government joined several school districts in the area that are also opening late, although some remain closed on Thursday.

“With the government delayed, schools closed, you get less volume,” said WTOP Traffic Reporter Jack Taylor.

Taylor said the most important thing drivers can do is make sure their car is completely cleared off before they hit the roads.

Some school systems have changed their status for Thursday. Prince George’s County Public Schools announced they will be closed on Thursday. Most major school systems are either delayed or closed for a second straight day.

Federal employees in the D.C. area have the option of unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework as a result f the two hour delay.

Even though major roads are in fairly good shape, some secondary and neighborhood roads could be slick.

Some transit systems are still affected by the hangover from the storm. Metrorail will open with regular weekday service, while Metrobus will begin on a light snow plan with snow detours in effect on a route-by-route basis. The Virginia Railway Express will operate on an “S” schedule. MARC commuter trains will operate on the “R” schedule.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a snow emergency until 7 a.m. Thursday.

Motorists may not park vehicles along corridors designated as snow emergency routes, which are posted with red and white “Snow Emergency Route” signs. To find a towed vehicle, call 202-727-5000.

Closings and Delays

D.C. is the only major area school system set to open on time Thursday.

In Virginia, Fairfax, Loudoun, Fauquier and Prince William County public schools, announced they will be closed on Thursday.

In Maryland, schools in Prince George’s, Carroll and Frederick are closed on Thursday. Several systems have announced delayed openings as well.

A complete roundup of up-to-date information on school delays and closings is on WTOP’s Closings and Delays page.


Here is the forecast for the next few days:

  • Thursday: Icy spots in the morning with clearing skies. It will be breezy and cold with highs in the low-to mid 40s, but wind chills near 30 through the afternoon.
  • Friday: Sunny, cold and quite breezy. Wind chills will be in the low 30s all afternoon with highs between 38 and 44.
  • Saturday: Increasing clouds and cold with slight chance of late evening showers. Some wet snow is possible on Saturday night with highs between 40 and 46.

Bell said a weak storm system will approach from the Ohio Valley over the weekend, but it should mainly affect the southern areas of the D.C. area.

“As it looks now, this storm will pass by late Saturday night bringing a slight chance of some very light rain or perhaps, a little wet snow,” said Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell. “This will not be a high-impact event.”

The average high temperature for this time of year in D.C. is 58, but Bell said we won’t be near that during the weekend as temperatures remain quite cold, with highs in the mid 40s.

There should be a bit of relief by the middle of next week. Bell said temperatures could reach the low to mid 60s on Wednesday and Thursday.

The D.C. area hasn’t seen a day when temperatures got above 60 degrees in March, which Bell said has only happened once before, in 1958. This month is on track to be the coldest March in 25 years.


Reported snowfall totals as of Wednesday night included:

Rockville, Maryland: 5.9 inches
Columbia, Maryland: 7.2 inches
University Park, Maryland: 6.5 inches
Reagan National Airport: 4.1 inches
Chantilly, Virginia: 5.2 inches
Lovettsville, Virginia: 7.0 inches
National Zoo, D.C.: 4.1 inches
Herndon, Virginia: 5.3-6.0 inches
Thurmont, Maryland: 16.5 inches

(Keep up with the National Weather Service’s snowfall totals here.)

Travel and Transportation

Metro announced Wednesday night that full bus service would resume Thursday, with the exception of any specific required snow detours. Rail and MetroAccess service are also running as normal.

Amtrak has announced that service reductions will continue Thursday:

  • Acela Express Service D.C. — New York City — Boston: 2159 will not operate between New York and Boston.
  • Acela Express Service D.C. — New York City — Boston: 2190, 2150, 2100, 2154, 2104, 2158, 2160, 2164, 2166, 2168, 2126, 2128, 2103, 2107, 2109, 2151, 2153, 2155, 2117, 2121, 2163, 2165, 2167, 2171 has been canceled.
  • Northeast Regional Service D.C. — New York City — Boston: 171 and 93 will not operate between Boston and New York City. 95 will not operate between Boston and D.C. 190, 170, 180, 130, 172, 151, 111, 183, 185, 137, 173, 179 has been canceled.
  • Boston — Newport News, Virginia: 86, 174, 176

Read more about transit conditions.

VRE said Wednesday evening that they will operate on an S schedule Thursday.

MARC trains will operate on the “R” schedule.


Check WTOP’s traffic page for updates on weather-related accidents and road closures.

Power outages

A few thousand customers around the area had reported losing power Wednesday. Monitor any continuing outages in the map below.

If you’ve lost power, you can reach your provider at one of the links or numbers below:

Comcast has offered to help residents in the D.C. area stay connected by opening more than 3,500 Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spots at select outdoor and business locations. This free service is available to anyone — including non-Xfinity internet customers — through Monday, March 26.

Listen Live:

Listen live on WTOP.com, on the WTOP app or by tuning in to 103.5 FM.


WTOP’s  Jack Pointer, Chantalle Edmunds and Nahal Amouzadeh contributed to this report.

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