- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 20, 2005

Area residents face a slippery commute today as forecasters predicted the region could get as much as 3 inches of snow overnight.

Snow was expected to begin early last night.

Forecasters predicted the snow to mix with sleet overnight then turn to freezing rain this morning.

Plunging temperatures could turn the rain to snow and leave behind 1 to 3 inches in the Washington metropolitan area, said Calvin Meadows, a meteorological technician for the National Weather Service.

The snow and sleet won’t affect area schools because most are closed for Washington’s Birthday. The federal government also is closed today.

Road crews in Maryland, Virginia and the District remained on alert throughout the night.

D.C. officials said they would send out about 150 trucks by 7 p.m. yesterday to salt the streets and monitor road conditions.

Maryland transportation officials said they had 250 trucks ready, and officials in Virginia said they were prepared for the storm.

Some of Fairfax County’s 145 trucks hit the roads at 6 p.m. yesterday.

“If something happens, they will get on it right away,” said Beverly Hunt, a traffic supervisor in Fairfax County.

Whatever accumulation the region receives by this morning, it won’t stick around for long. Temperatures could reach 50 degrees later today.

Inclement weather won’t dampen spirits in Old Town Alexandria, where city officials will host the annual George Washington Birthday Parade.

Rain or shine, the parade is expected to begin at 1 p.m. Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will be the grand marshal.

“Although there have been reports of inclement weather, the parade will continue as scheduled,” a recorded message said yesterday afternoon.

Delaware also was expected to get as much as 6 inches of snow before warm air from the south turns the precipitation into sleet and then rain.

Despite the holiday, Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman Darrel Cole said the state’s 400 snow plow operators are poised to come in to work.

“We’re going to be monitoring it,” Mr. Cole said. “If we know it’s coming, we’re going to go out and do some presalting and pretreating.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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