Winter Storm Hits D.C. Area and Causes Widespread Power Outages


Federal government offices and schools in the Washington, D.C., area were closed on Monday as the region received its first significant snowfall of the season, part of a winter storm that left at least three dead and more than half a million customers without power as it moved up the East Coast.

“A major winter storm is underway,” the National Weather Service said on Monday morning, while warning, “Snow-covered and slippery roads along with heavy snowfall and low visibility will make travel dangerous.”

In Maryland, two women and a man died after their vehicle collided with a snow plow on Monday evening, according to the Montgomery County Police Department. Another man who was also in the vehicle was hospitalized in critical condition after the crash, the police said.

The storm dropped more than 14 inches of snow in parts of Northern Virginia, while Washington recorded more than eight inches, according to the Weather Service. In central Tennessee and northern Alabama, which caught the tail end of the storm, snowfall totals reached nine inches, the Weather Service said.

The storm was moving north on Monday afternoon through Maryland, Northern Delaware and Southern New Jersey, where snowfalls totals ranged from six to 15 inches. The weather system was expected to pull offshore by about 10 p.m., Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in College Park, Md., said.

In North Carolina, the storm brought strong winds and snow to the mountains in the western part of the state, while up to two inches of rain fell in Greensboro, Raleigh and Durham, breaking daily records for rainfall set in 1992.

As of Monday night, more than 340,000 customers in Virginia were without electricity, while outages affected 43,000 customers in North Carolina and more than 42,000 in Maryland, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates data from utilities across the United States.

“The cars are going too fast for conditions, and they’re sliding off the roads, into ditches, into the cement walls, into one another,” said Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. Rain on Sunday prevented crews from properly salting the roads, she said, making highways more dangerous during the snow on Monday.

With the possibility of black ice and slick roadways, the Virginia Department of Transportation told residents on Monday night to avoid travel, and the Maryland Department of Transportation told drivers to delay their commutes on Tuesday morning.

“The refreeze on the road could definitely be dangerous for commuters on Tuesday morning,” Mr. Orrison said.



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