- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2015

D.C.-area residents dug out from under the blanket of snow dropped by the season’s first significant winter storm but will soon face bitterly cold temperatures and blustery winds.

An arctic front is expected to make its way through the D.C. region Wednesday afternoon, bringing with it snow squalls that could reduce visibility and leave behind an extra inch or two of snow, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Hofmann.

Temperatures are unlikely to make it above freezing for the next several days, hovering in the single digits Wednesday and Thursday nights. The wind chill could make it feel even colder at night — between minus 5 and minus 15 degrees.

Five inches of snow shut down the nation’s capital Tuesday but D.C. officials were hopeful crews would make enough progress clearing roadways so shuttered schools and federal government could reopen Wednesday.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said snow plows were expected to have reached every city street by 9 p.m. Tuesday.

“Right now we are working to clear the roads to ensure that D.C. schools can open and that D.C. government can open tomorrow and that regular transit service can continue,” Ms. Bowser said.

SEE ALSO: D.C. police enforce post-9/11 sledding ban on Capitol Hill grounds

In the District, officials reported that 132 cars parked on major thoroughfares were ticketed and towed so that plows and salt trucks could treat the roadways.

Public officials encouraged residents throughout the day to limit travel outside the home both for their own safety and so that snow crews could continue clearing roadways.

Virginia State Police reported responding statewide to 1,035 vehicle crashes and another 1,023 disabled vehicles from 4 p.m. Monday through noon Tuesday.

Some who did venture outside Tuesday headed to parks for snowball fights or hilly terrain for sledding.

A few sledders picked the wrong slopes however. U.S. Capitol Police officers had to break the news to kids and parents that sledding is prohibited on United States Capitol grounds, according to The Wall Street Journal.

D.C. residents who were told to pack up their sleds said the cops delivered the news in a kind manner.

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“They felt bad about it so they encouraged people to try to reach their member of Congress, because a member of Congress can issue a waiver and then you’re free to sled,” Jessica Zippin, a professional dog walker, told The Journal.

But while some went out to enjoy the snow day, officials were wary of the impending cold front and warned residents to take precautions for harsh temperatures in the coming days.

“The snow storm has ended, but winter has not,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, warning residents to bring blankets and other supplies in vehicles in case they run into trouble on the roads.

In the District, Ms. Bowser encouraged residents to shovel their sidewalks and to help elderly neighbors who might have difficulty doing the same.

Along H Street in Northeast, Damian Robinson was doing just that Tuesday morning.

“I usually just walk around the neighborhoods with my shovel once it stops snowing. If there is anyone outside, I offer to shovel their sidewalks,” Mr. Robinson said. “It’s an easy way to make a few extra bucks and some days I’m lucky and get a lot of cash.”

The D.C. Council passed a law last year that would allow the city to issue fines to property owners for failure to remove snow from their sidewalks. The law will not take effect until next winter though.

Those still looking for a shovel after Tuesday’s storm might have a hard time finding one.

“Those shovels are going to be gone by the end of the day,” said PK’s Hardware employee Annie Kim, of the five shovels remaining in her store Tuesday morning. “We try to be prepared for snow, and we usually are, but snow means race for shovels.”

Hannah Crites contributed to this report.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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