- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2014

Already fatigued from a seemingly relentless barrage of winter storms, the D.C. area was pounded yet again Monday by a late-winter snowfall that had some residents wondering if spring will ever arrive.

A blanket of 3-5 inches coated the District on Monday, prompting emergency declarations, class cancellations at school systems already scrambling to make up for snow days and the shutdown of the federal government. It was the fourth time this winter that the government has shut down because of weather — the most such closures since the back-to-back “Snowmaggeddon” storms of February 2010.

The 3.8 inches recorded at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Monday put the winter season’s total snowfall at 23.1 inches, or nearly 9 inches above average winter accumulations, said Bryan Jackson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Right about 15 inches is our normal,” Mr. Jackson said. “But we rarely get the normal amount, it is usually well above or well under.”

Department of Public Works spokeswoman Linda Grant noted that, while the 2013-2014 winter hasn’t produced as much snowfall as the record-breaking 2009-2010 season, the number of storms has been greater. Crews have mobilized 25 times so far this year, compared to 20 times in 2009-2010.

“We’re working harder this year than we did when we had Snowmageddon, the Super Bowl snow, all of those others,” she said.

And while the snow might have stopped, the cold is just beginning.

Temperatures were expected to dip into single digits on Tuesday and stay well below freezing most of the week. If the forecast holds, it would be only the third single-digit day after March 1 in the recorded history of the nation’s capital — and the previous two were in 1872 and 1873, according to the National Weather Service.

D.C. officials on Monday evening were weighing whether or not to open offices and schools Tuesday, but have indefinitely kept in place the city’s snow emergency, which means cars parked on main thoroughfares can be ticketed and towed to make way for snow-removal crews. The emergency declaration went into place at 7 a.m. Monday and by mid-afternoon, Ms. Grant said 360 vehicles had been issued tickets and 180 vehicles had been towed.

“This has been quite a winter when it comes to snow,” said D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Areas north and west of the District saw higher accumulations, including parts of Montgomery County and Frederick County in Maryland where the National Weather Service reported between 5 and 7 inches of snow. Parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties saw up to 8 inches of snow. States of emergency were also declared in Maryland and Virginia.

The last major snow storm on Feb. 12 put the District $2.5 million over its $6.2 million snow-removal budget for the year. Mr. Gray said money would have to be reprogrammed from elsewhere to make up the difference.

“March can be an unpredictable month. We didn’t expect this,” he said. “We’ll do what’s necessary to do an effective job with the snow.”

In other parts of the country, the snowfall accumulations did not meet predictions. Pennsylvania dodged most of the effects of the snowfall to its south as only a few inches fell — and just a trace or even none in some areas.

In New Jersey, nearly 6 inches fell in some areas, with up to 8 inches forecast. That could make it the eighth snowiest winter in the last 120 years.

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