- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2000

Road crews across the region worked feverishly yesterday to clean the snow Tuesday's storm dumped on the streets focusing on neighborhoods while taking advantage of the final hours before federal and local governments and schools reopen and commuters once again hit the roads.
"Our goal is to wrap this up by the end of the day and have skeleton crews working overnight," said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Joan Morris yesterday afternoon as about 900 trucks plowed and dumped salt and sand on neighborhood streets.
"The weather has been a huge help in drying out the roads," she said.
District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams said a snow emergency will remain in effect through rush hour this morning. Roads crews in the District worked through the night to plow residential streets, which they hope will be all clear by tonight.
D.C. officials lauded their snow-removal efforts yesterday, saying less than 24 hours after the snow finally ended, emergency routes and secondary streets in the city were virtually clear.
Mr. Williams said the city had 240 trucks on the streets, plowing neighborhoods yesterday. The city spent plenty on overtime, although he could not say how much.
"It's expensive, but it's what people expect and deserve," he said. In the past, the city budgeted $6 million for snow removal for an entire season.
By late afternoon yesterday, some D.C. streets still looked impassable, but most of the city's main arteries were swept clean of snow. Residents dug out cars walled in by plowed snow. Storekeepers shoveled sidewalks near their businesses and children swept outside churches.
There were no serious accidents in Maryland or Virginia, although there were many single-vehicle crashes and fender benders, mostly caused by drivers going too fast on the messy roads.
"This amount of snow takes a long time to go away. It doesn't melt overnight, so be prepared for these types of conditions all week," said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.
In Prince George's County, Md., public works personnel and contract crews had plowed emergency routes by early yesterday, but many side roads remained untreated by midafternoon.
Montgomery County, Md., Highway Services crews had cleared all major county roads yesterday, and the crews were working into the night to remove snow on neighborhood streets.
Maryland State Highway Administration officials said primary roads were cleared by yesterday morning.
Most governments and schools will reopen today, many with some delays.
"In terms of our city government, we're going to be open for business [today]. Our schools should be open," Mr. Williams said. "It will probably be a little messy, but that's the nature of the business."
Alexandria and Falls Church, Va., and Fairfax (Va.), Arlington (Va.), and Montgomery (Md.) county schools will open two hours late. Fairfax County officials said classes also will be held Monday, which had been a scheduled day off. In Montgomery, there will be no morning kindergarten.
Prince George's County schools are closed today and tomorrow for previously scheduled staff development days. Custodial and maintenance staff should report to work on time, while all other employees have a one-hour delay.
Other school officials were meeting late yesterday to determine when to open.
Residents who had been cooped up in their homes welcomed the sunshine yesterday as they began shoveling mountains of snow from their driveways many resembling moats after snowplows passed overnight.
About 20 neighborhood residents of V Street and North Capitol Street in the District slung snowballs, constructed snowmen and cleaned the sidewalks and streets Tuesday and yesterday.
"The city doesn't help us, so it's become a community thing," said Steven Samuel, who lives on V Street. "The city came through one or two times, but they concentrate on the main streets. We clean the street, the alley and the sidewalks. And we play in between."
Snow blowers sold at a record clip in hardware stores and made good neighbors out of those who bought them.
Dennis Pritchett, an engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, was a blessing in his Fairfax County neighborhood, where he cleared several driveways Tuesday night and was working on his sixth neighbor's driveway yesterday afternoon.
"It's his new little toy. He figured he probably won't be able to use it often, so he's out there again," Janice Pritchett, his wife, said yesterday.
If forecasters are correct, Mr. Pritchett may be pulling out his snow blower again Sunday, when more snow is expected.
Meteorologists predict it will be very cold today and mostly clear tomorrow with highs around 32. Saturday's temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s.
Sunday, there will be increasing cloudiness, with a chance of new snow and the temperature remaining in the low 30s.
"We're in a pattern now where every few days or once a week, you can expect some type of frozen precipitation. That will continue into March," said Jim Travers, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
Tuesday's storm was a typical nor'easter that was intensified by unusually high temperatures at sea just off Virginia, meteorologists said.
Forecasters said about 9.3 inches of snow fell Tuesday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and 10.3 inches fell at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The snowfall set a new record for Jan. 25 in the Baltimore area with 14.9 inches of snow at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. It broke the record of 5.9 inches in 1905.
The region's airports were trying to juggle passengers whose flights were canceled Tuesday.
Reagan National Airport reopened yesterday but had many still trying to find flights yesterday afternoon after spending the night there.
BWI reopened at 5:30 a.m. yesterday, but 32 of 48 flights scheduled in the early morning were canceled, said spokesman John White.
"We hope to make some progress as the day goes on," Mr. White said. "Obviously we want to get up to full strength as soon as possible."

Leslie Koren, Jabeen Bhatti and Ronald J. Hansen contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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