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Snowstorm brings D.C. area to a halt

- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2014

The nation's capital awoke to a blanket of snow that closed schools, offices the federal government and its local counterparts and resulted in at least one death as of Thursday morning.

And more snow was on the way.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Klein said another 1-4 inches of snow was expected into the evening.

"It's not going to be as widespread," he said. High temperatures for the day were expected to be near 34 degrees.

Between 6-11 inches fell across the District Wednesday night into Thursday, with Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland reporting as much as 18 inches.

Transportation was hazardous across the region, with several vehicle accidents reported.

The most serious accident involved a Virginia Department of Transportation contract driver who had gotten out of his vehicle when he was struck by a VDOT dump truck and killed.

Virginia State Police said the accident occurred at about 5:55 a.m. at Belmont Ridge Road and Chesterton Street in Ashburn.

Police said the driver pulled over to the right shoulder and was standing near the spreader in the rear of the vehicle when he was struck.

The man, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital where he died.

Virginia State Police said they responded to 78 traffic crashes and 172 disabled vehicles from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Nearly 995 traffic crashes were reported statewide.

In Maryland, a tractor trailer overturned and leaked fuel at Interstate 295 and the Capital Beltway Thursday morning, blocking all lanes of the Inner Loop in Oxon Hill.

Every major school system announced closures, most of the making the calls on Wednesday evening.

All runways were closed Thursday morning at Washington Dulles International Airport and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and widespread delays were reported at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport where the airport was open but flights were grounded.

Amtrak service was canceled from the District to Wilmington, Del.

Pepco and Dominion Virginia Power reported virtually no outages across the District and the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray who on Wednesday declared the city's first snow emergency since 2010, said he expected the emergency would be lifted by 2 p.m.

Mr. Gray said most of the main roads were cleared by noon and that between 600-700 vehicles were ticketed for parking in snow emergency lanes — a violation that can run up to $250. The mayor said about 200 vehicles were towed. Towing comes with a $100 fee and a $20-per-day storage charge.

States of emergency were also declared in Virginia and Maryland.

"Overall, we have come through this pretty well so far," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a morning briefing.

Metrobus service was canceled but was expected to resume on a limited basis at 2 p.m. Trains were running through the night to keep rails free of snow.

The storm made its way from the South, where ice combined with wind gusts up to 30 mph snapped tree limbs and power lines. More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in Georgia, while South Carolina had about 245,000 outages that were expected to last for days.

More than 3,200 airline flights were canceled, and deaths blamed on the storm — weather-related traffic accidents and hypothermia — reached 11 by Wednesday night.

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