“I will declare a snow emergency effective tomorrow morning at 9:30am”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rob Cannon

From Mayor Bowser:

“I will declare a snow emergency effective tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. Residents will need to move their cars from snow routes before then.”

“Due to the blizzard, @dcpublicschools will be closed tomorrow and DC government will close early.”

“If you or someone you know is homeless or needs shelter, call the shelter hotline at 1-800-535-7252 or 311. Help is available 24/7.”

Update – full press release:

“Today, due to the National Weather Service forecast of an imminent, major winter storm that is approaching the District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a public emergency in the District, effective immediately. As a result, DC Public Schools will be closed on Friday, January 22 and the District Government will close at noon for non-essential and non-emergency personnel.

Additionally, the Mayor has declared a snow emergency that will be in effect beginning tomorrow, January 22, 2016, at 9:30 am. By declaring a snow emergency, the District Snow Team (Department of Public Works and Department of Transportation) will be able to clear snow emergency routes curb to curb. Drivers are advised to remove cars from snow emergency routes starting Thursday night. Otherwise, they will be towed.

For the latest information on the District’s response to the storm, residents should visit Snow.DC.Gov.

In preparation for the snow, the city’s salt domes are filled to capacity with more than 39,000 tons of salt. The Department of Public Works and the DC Department of Transportation also have a total of:

• 106 heavy plows, with an additional 37 contract plows

• 73 light plows

• 145 dump trucks

• 30 loaders and 20 bobcats

Emergency Declaration

The declaration of public emergency will stay in effect for 15 days until and unless provided for by further Mayoral Order. The declaration authorizes the City Administrator, in coordination with the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, the Director of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and the Chief Financial Officer, to apply for financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, any other federal, private, or nonprofit disaster relief and recovery organizations, and any other appropriate agencies of the United States government.

The emergency declaration implements the District response plan and applies to all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the District government as necessary or appropriate. It also permits utility workers and District agencies to retain crews to complete emergency repairs and restore services beyond normal work hours. During the public emergency or 30 days after this declaration (whichever is shorter), it will be unlawful for any person to charge more than the normal average retail price for any merchandise or services sold.

Snow Emergency Declaration

The snow emergency will remain in effect until an announcement is made that it has been lifted. Motorists are asked to tune into television and radio broadcast stations or go to www.snow.dc.gov for a notice that the snow emergency has been lifted.

Vehicles ticketed for a snow emergency violation and towed by DPW will be taken to the DPW Impound Lot at 5001 Shepherd Parkway, SW 20032. The lot is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and can be reached at 202-645-5500. The lot is closed weekends, holidays and when DC government is closed. Vehicles also may be towed by private towing companies, and vehicle owners can learn where their vehicle has been towed by calling the Towed Vehicle Locator office at 202-541-6083 or go to http://dpw.dc.gov/service/locate-towed-vehicle.. To have an impounded vehicle released, these fees must be paid before the vehicle will be released:

• $250 ticket for the snow emergency violation.

• $100 tow fee.

• $20 per day storage fee.

Additional fees also may be required to be paid, e.g., fees for tickets older than 60 days that have not been entered into the adjudication system. These fees may be paid at the impound lot by bank debit card, credit card (Mastercard, Visa and Discover) or online through the Department of Motor Vehicles Website — http://dmv.dc.gov/.

This is a potentially strong and dangerous storm. We remind all of our residents, commuters, and visitors to prepare for the storm and ensure that, if possible, they stay off the roads. We also ask that you remember your neighbors throughout the storm and during clean up. Please assist elderly or disabled neighbors with clearing their sidewalks. Visit snow.dc.gov for updates before, during and after winter storms, and for tips to get your home and family prepared for inclement weather. Residents also may sign up at alertdc.dc.gov to receive emergency alerts and notifications from AlertDC.”

84 Comment

  • …. aaaaannnnnndddddd there’s your over-reaction to bungling last night. Congrats! Some forecasts don’t have the storm starting until well into the afternoon which would be enough for a half school day (which, yes, presents it’s own problems but is better for parents who will likely have to work a half day anyway). Wait until the afternoon models come out and then make the call, or at least until you get some word from OPM. But when there is an easy political call to make we know how it’s going to go (Proactive! Forward thinking! I’m-not-completely-unqualified-for-this-job-at-all-why-do-you-ask?)

    • To be fair, this is supposed to be an incredibly fast moving storm that will be hard to predict an exact time. If you do an early dismissal and you have school buses out when it starts snowing, it could be horrible. Considering we’ve had such a mild winter and there’s been no closings as of late January, might as well be cautious. It makes things a lot less stressful – and quite frankly, the fewer people on the roads tomorrow will also be better to prepare for the storm, even if it hasn’t started yet.

      • It’s a 36 hour storm. Suppose to last through 9 AM Sunday last I read.

      • Elle

        I believe (someone will certainly correct me if I’m wrong) that DCPS had a pre-scheduled 1/2 day for students tomorrow anyway (but a full work day for teachers). Assuming teachers don’t have to go in at all with the schools being closed, the decision will keep a lot more people off the roads.

      • In the case of DC, we had an already scheduled 12:15 dismissal tomorrow, and we don’t have school buses for 95% of our students. However, as a parent who is now scrambling to make arrangements, I am glad to get this info now versus at 5:30am tomorrow morning.

        • I agree. I appreciate the advanced notice. Now we can make proper arrangements and not do the crazed 6am coin flip of which parent gets to stay home or which parent has a light enough day to bring the kids with them to the office.

    • *Some* forecasts have it starting later in the afternoon. Other forecasts (accuweather, CWG, etc.) have been consistently saying it will start around noon or 1. Given last night’s rush hour situation, I don’t think this is an overreaction — considering how rarely we have snow days (2-3 a year?) it’s a hell of a lot safer to close than to risk everyone commuting at the same time when the snow hits.

    • Completely disagree. Some forecasts have the storm starting to hit around noon. Why risk putting more people on the roads and have a problem like last night or what we had in 2011. With the magnitude of this storm, there is no reason to take chances. This will help crews get the roads prepared so we can get back to normal ASAP.

    • Mayor Bowser: All Hands on Deck (but only after something goes wrong)!

  • Why not close the whole thing down? If you’re closing schools, close the government and avoid people leaving all at once at 2 PM and be stuck in the same situation from 2011. On top of that, I’m sure people are putting in not to come into work tomorrow anyway.

  • Seems like a good idea to give people a chance to get their cars out of snow routes….

  • I think our mayor is showing a lot of leadership.

    • Oh, cool. Who’s your mayor? Ours is Muriel Bowser.

      • hahahahahahaha

      • fantastic

      • I just snorted out loud

        • In all seriousness, every mayor gets skewered when it snows. They can’t win. WMATA and OPM (really the Fairfax schools, whose decision forces OPM’s hand) dominate choices about who closes when. And WMATA and NPS do most of the visible failing. The mayor just directs the road crews and police. In a blizzard, most people will be on a street that they think got ignored. And a lot of the whining does sound a bit sexist; I don’t recall quite as much hate on her mentor, Fenty, during HIS blizzard.

          But the degree to which people hate on Mayor Bowser for her snow storm leadership is really just an indication that everyone outside of CM Todd’s office and her [former] PAC think her administration has done a cruddy job getting ahead of just about everything else: creepy council PAC shenanigans, celebrating turning WMATA into a crowded & unruly school bus, and rampant scary violent inexcusable crime. People feel less safe and less optimistic. And they see her administration’s actions as often late and inconsequential.

          The storm will help her in one way, though: there might be fewer murders this weekend.

          • One would hope for fewer murders. But just got a crime alert about a shooting at noon today on 500 block of Buchanan street. No one killed but the ice isn’t keeping the guns at home apparently. So many kids at home with nannies on the block too.

  • so the DC government is closed…..including federal government? or are they separate? lol. people here at work trying to decide whether to come in tomorrow or not.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      DC Government is DC – Federal Government are “the Feds”. Will update on that front as soon as I hear!

      • As a fed i am predicting we will not know until the end of the work day today the earliest, but would not be surprised if we do not hear until 4am tomorrow.

        • I agree completely. But I do think there’s a good probability of them making the call by 10pm tonight, as has been done in the past a few times. The models/timing hasn’t changed much in the past few days, so it’s not like it’ll change overnight…

        • I think they will be rather cautious given the amount of hype this storm is getting + it’s late January and there hasn’t been any closings so far this winter. So, closing one day for a snow storm will not “look bad”.
          However, I was slightly surprised they didn’t do anything this morning, so who knows. Although I would say I was driving at my normal go to work time this morning and later in the morning – and there wasn’t much of a difference in roads.

          • I had no trouble getting to work this morning but i had 2 co-workers that had terrible am commutes. The main roads in DC looked great but some of the side streets that were not traveled on last night look like skating rinks.

          • I was surprised about this morning, too — but I’m wondering if they figured not closing this morning would help justify a full day closure tomorrow. If that’s the case, I will not complain.

    • Oh dear… I’d be really curious to know in what office people don’t know the difference between city government and federal government.

      • The same kind of people who always confuse “DC” with the “Federal Government”, which is a major pet peeve of mine and a disgrace from some who lives in or around DC.

      • I was thinking the same thing – how can this be a question for workers in this region?

        • Maybe she’s new to the region? For someone who has never lived in an area where the distinction is obvious, it can be a bit confusing. I’m usually critical of questions I feel are ignorant, but she gets a pass from me because I’ve been there.

      • I don’t know of anyone personally, but I’ve heard there are people in this town that aren’t actually employed by or working on contract for any government agency. 🙂

        • I am not, nor have I ever, been employed by any type of government agency, whether it be DC or the Federal Government. I have also only worked for one office that followed OPM guidelines… yet I know the difference. Knowing the difference between DC Government and Federal Government seems to me to be basic knowledge, ESPECIALLY for someone who lives in DC. Do people not take Government or Civics any more to know the difference between local, state, and national government? I mean, at least in DC we only have two of the three! No pass for me. Signed, Jaded Washingtonian.

          • SouthwestDC

            “Do people not take Government or Civics any more to know the difference between local, state, and national government?” – I’ve heard of high schools offering classes like that, but mine never did. Still, isn’t it common knowledge?

  • I assume trash won’t be picked up and we’ll all be waiting another week. I totally don’t get it. This would never fly in other major metropolitan areas. You hire sub-contractors to take care of basic city services if others are diverted to other duties like plowing.

  • What are the odds that OPM closes Monday?

    • Supposed to be above freezing and sunny on Sunday, but depends if we get the full 30″ or not. Upper 30s will melt snow, but not 30″. However, it will also be below freezing on Sunday night, so the melted snow will turn to ice. So I’d assume there will also be a delay, if not a full closure – if it’s a legit snow amount.

    • All depends on how fast the clear the roads not only in DC but the surrounding area. Also if power is lost in major areas in side the beltway that will have an effect. Its not just a snow storm but a blizzard which means high winds. Blizzards wreck havoc by sending trees down on houses powerlines roads ect

    • I think it’s better than 50/50 that the Fed Gov’t is closed on Monday based on the information we have now. If we actually get 2′ and it continues to snow through Sunday morning, I’d say there’s a 100% chance the Gov’t is closed on Monday. If the accumulation is less substantial than is currently being predicted, then I’d say the odds of closure on Monday go way down.

    • With the way everything is sounding, and this getting compared to the 2010 Snowmageddon, I’d bet they do Unscheduled Telework at a minimum.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Snowmaggedon was 4 days off, so I would be shocked if the feds are working Monday.

  • What can be done to prepare for power outages? I’m concerned about heat. We have gas, but of course the blower is electric. Stove is gas… hot water bottles? Um… that’s my only idea. How else do folks keep warm during winter outages?
    We never lost power ONCE for the first 10 years we were in our house. Then last year Pepco came out and did something, (“upgraded” our street’s service) and we’ve had two outages since then.

  • OPM calling for Noon closure tomorrow.

    • I haven’t seen that, yet. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I haven’t seen anything official from OPM yet.

    • Where are you seeing or hearing about this Noon closure for tomorrow? I am not seeing anything on the OPM website.

      • Here we go again… people confusing DC Government with the Federal Government…

        • Since state of emergencies are already in place in DC and VA i will predict OPM will shut down gov for the day.

          • Snow emergencies typically start well before the actual “emergency” starts because they want to have the roads clear that are snow emergency roads (they will tow cars that are there still). So it really doesn’t have much to do with the government shutting down.

          • … although I saw that CWG predicted the outer suburbs begin to get hit at 10am. So that should be a consideration.

    • As of right now, OPM has made no such decision. Stop spreading misinformation.

  • It’s unbelievable to me that OPM would think that work (or half day of work) is that fucking important to put millions of people on the road with an imminent blizzard.

    • OPM hasn’t made a decision on anything yet. They will probably close – or call for unscheduled telework, seeing how awful last night was. Give it a little time.

  • Fed here – my bet is OPM does liberal leave/telework/early release. I think the odds of the gov actually closing are pretty slim. Telework is free, closing down is a “free” day, so it is fraught with financial criticisms.

  • “By declaring a snow emergency, the District Snow Team…will be able to clear snow emergency routes curb to curb” my ass. Five winters looking out my window at H St NW between Chinatown and 395 – a designated snow emergency route – and I can count on one finger the total number of plows I’ve seen.

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