- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Washington-area residents cautiously tried to return to life as usual, some venturing out on icy sidewalks and slow-running subway trains while others continued to regroup from the record weekend snowfall before Tuesday afternoon, when another storm is expected.

Streets and sidewalks were empty, largely because federal agencies closed, as have most school districts. Thousands of service-industry workers and other employees, however, crowded subway stations after they opened at 7 a.m. — two hours later than usual.

The National Weather Service called the storm “historic” and reported a foot of snow in parts of Ohio and two feet or more in the District, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Parts of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia got closer to three feet.

The agency issued a storm warning for the Washington area for Tuesday and into Wednesday, saying there was potential for another foot of snow. D.C. schools already cancelled classes for Tuesday.

Forecasters expect highs in the low- to mid-30s for the next few days, though Monday’s sunshine was expected to melt some of the snow, weather service meteorologist Bryan Jackson said.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority — the region’s transportation agency — had yet to get the trains to above-ground stations by the afternoon rush hour, following the roughly two feet of snow that fell from Friday morning through late Saturday afternoon.

The agency continued to report into the evening delays on all subway lines and limited bus service. Many main roads remain covered in snow.

The region’s three major airports — Ronald Reagan Washington National, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall and Washington Dulles International — opened by midmorning Monday. However, officials advised passengers to expect delays and cancellations.

Mark Burroughs and his wife, Annie, were on standby at Reagan Airport, trying to return home to Texas. They made it to a weekend snowball fight in Dupont Circle that they called “great fun,” but by Monday, they were ready to go home.

“I saw on the news Thursday night that the snow was coming, so like masochists, we got on an airplane and came here,” Mrs. Burroughs said jokingly.

Just getting to the airport was a challenge for others.

D.C. resident Chris Vaughn managed to rebook a flight to Park City, Utah, that had been canceled Friday, but his shuttle driver called Monday to say the company was canceling all pickups.

One cab company wanted $100 to take him to the airport, and another was charging $50 for a cab ride that would usually cost less than $20.

“I’m done with city, urban snow life,” said Mr. Vaughan, walking through the airport with his ski boots over his shoulder. “I don’t want to be part of any more of that.”

Amtrak’s speedy Acela Express service between Washington and Boston on the Northeast Corridor was fully operational, but its Northeast Regional service still had cancellations.

Service is limited in part because the heavy, wet snow downed trees and power lines, including some on sections of freight tracks in Virginia.

Travelers, including many stuck in the city over the weekend because of canceled flights, began arriving at Union Station as dawn broke, hoping to have better lucking catching a train.

Among them was Manuel Bernardo, 30, of Bethesda, Md., who was on his way to Barcelona, Spain. He bought a pricey train ticket from D.C. to New York after his flight was canceled and was hoping to make it there in time to catch a flight to Madrid.

“Until this morning, I was happy as pie, because I love snow,” he said.

Thousands in the region were still without power as dusk and subfreezing temperatures returned.

Potomac Electric Power Co., which serves the District and surrounding communities, reported 25,900 customers still without power.

Maryland and D.C. officials said main highways are now passable, but snow removal continues on secondary and side streets.

Officials say it will be several days before they know just how much the cleanup will cost. Maryland already had spent $50 million of the $60 million budgeted to keep the snow clear this winter. In the District, officials said they were over their $6.2 million snow budget even before the storm started. And Pennsylvania officials said they already had spent half of their $245 million winter operations budget before the storm hit.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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