Winter Storm hits Washington after deaths and power outages in South
WASHINGTON (AP) - After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Mid-Atlantic region as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents.
Baltimore awoke to 15 inches of snow, measured in Pimlico, the neighborhood that is home to the Preakness Stakes horse race. Snow blowers roared, breaking the quiet of downtown as they cleared city sidewalks in a sleeting rain. But every cleared strip created a potential hazard as it quickly iced over. Traffic was light, with some pedestrians taking to the middle of the road.
Streets were similarly deserted in Washington. As Southerners did a day earlier, many heeded warnings to stay off the roads. The sound of plastic shovels against the sidewalk rang out, and cars were capped in white. Eleven inches of snow had accumulated, with more falling. People trudged through it on foot, hopping over piles built up at intersections. Federal offices and the city's two main airports were closed.
Daniel Saxinger, 38, was up early in his Washington neighborhood to clear snow off his car. "Better do that now," he said.
Saxinger, an operations manager, said his downtown office was closed, but he had other plans for the day. "Unfortunately today I'm going to do my taxes," he said. He recalled the 2010 snow storm that essentially shut down the city for days and said it was "a little early to tell" which was worse.
Luis Gray, 52, a porter, started his workday shoveling about 7 a.m. Gray said he normally takes the bus to work, but it wasn't running, so he got a ride. He said he'd stay home after work and watch TV, then "hopefully the bus will be running again."
In Frederick, Md., Cory Cheeks worked his pickup through a 4-foot plow pile only to find the road at the end of his hotel parking lot still blocked by snow. The Fredericksburg, Va., resident was reluctantly preparing for a day of online training, convinced he could have driven 30 miles to Rockville for a face-to-face session if his supervisors hadn't canceled it.
"It's a very powdery snow. It's not very heavy at all," Cheeks said. He added: "I could go to work right now, even in my truck. It might not be the smartest idea, but it could be done."
In the South, though the worst of the storm had largely passed, some parts remained a world of ice-laden trees and driveways early Thursday. Hundreds of thousands were still without power, and 13 deaths were blamed on the weather. In metro Atlanta, temperatures were forecast to rise during the day, but drop below freezing again overnight. Forecasters warned of the danger of black ice.
In the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast, the heavy weather is the latest in an unending drumbeat of storms that have depleted salt supplies and caused schools to run out of snow days.
In New York, Emilay Chung was busy digging her car out. "I have to get to my patients," said Chung, a nurse who lives in Manhattan but works at a hospital in the Hudson Valley.
John Memedi cleared snow from the steps of one of three apartment buildings he manages as the superintendent. He said he doesn't mind the snow: "It's part of my job. What are you going to do?"