Reuters photographs - Washington under snow
Weather closes government offices a second dayWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal government agencies in the capital region will remain closed for a second day on Tuesday as residents brace for another blizzard while trying to clean up from a weekend storm that paralyzed the area with two feet of snow.
Another big winter storm was expected to hit the U.S. mid-Atlantic from about noon/1700 GMT on Tuesday and last through Wednesday, the National Weather Service forecast on Monday. Projected snowfall ranged from 10 to 20 inches, it said.
The potentially crippling new storm was expected to hit other big cities along the East Coast, including Baltimore and Philadelphia, that are still digging out and extend into New Jersey and New York.
It would pile on to the 32 inches of snow that fell in suburban Washington in the biggest snowfall to hit the city in decades.
The Office of Personnel Management announced on Monday evening that federal government offices in the Washington area would be closed on Tuesday. Emergency employees were expected to report for work on time, but non-emergency employees were excused.
The federal government was closed on Monday, though President Barack Obama still held meetings at the White House. Schools and most businesses in the region also were shut.
Local officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, said the next storm could cause some roofs to collapse from the weight of all the snow and there could be more power outages.
In the county, about 80,000 people lost power on Saturday, and some customers still had no electricity or heat on Monday. Many schools said classes would be canceled through Tuesday, even before the latest storm warning.
On Monday, winter sunshine bathed the nation's capital and the surrounding region, where people dug out their driveways and sidewalks, and plows finally started to clear streets in some residential neighborhoods.
Bus service on Monday was limited to just a small number of routes in the Washington, D.C., area and the region's subway ran trains only on the underground portion of the system.
In New York, oil rose nearly 1 percent on Monday, after three sessions of losses, stemming from the weaker U.S. dollar, geopolitical disputes, and the cold weather.
Unusually cold weather will settle across key heating fuel consuming regions in the United States this week, after the heavy snow over the weekend and the next storm coming, forecasters said.
In Chicago, winter is wreaking havoc on the nation's livestock and energy markets and there may be at least three more weeks of cold, snowy weather.
Cold and snow blanketed much of the central United States this winter, slowing weight gain in cattle and hogs, delaying livestock sales, and increasing feed costs for producers.
The new storm might also hit the Northeast, the nation's largest market for heating fuel. The weekend blast largely bypassed that region.
(Reporting by James Vicini and David Alexander in Washington, Bob Burgdorfer in Chicago and Edward McAllister in New York, editing by Vicki Allen)
.... And this, courtesy of NM, from Drudge.com
NEW BLAST: DC COULD GET ANOTHER FOOT!
25% of plows broken...
New Jersey road crews running out of salt...
Up to 22 in Philadelphia...
Snowstorm shatters local records in Chicago...
It's official: Baltimore Snow Record!
BIG CITIES SHUT...
Senate global warming hearing cancelled...
Legislation buried under record snowfall in capital...
Feds Warn: Snow Costs Taxpayers $100 Million A Day...
Washington Builds a Snow Mountain...
Dog Mugged, Doggie Coat Missing...
Left shivering in the buff..
Washington is knocked out cold by record snow
The Mid-Atlantic region sees its second huge storm in less than a week. Utilities halt repairs, saying conditions are too dangerous. The federal government, airports and schools are closed.By Bob Drogin and Richard Simon
11:18 AM PST, February 10, 2010
Blizzard warnings were posted from Virginia to New York as heavy snow and gale-force winds toppled trees, brought down power lines and created white-out conditions that turned many roads treacherous to impassible.
The storm began with sleet and freezing rain on Tuesday and was expected to add a foot or so more snow on top of the two to three feet that paralyzed the nation's capital last weekend. That monster storm -- referred to locally as Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse and Snowzilla -- already was one of the heaviest on record.
Airlines canceled hundreds of flights, disrupting air travel and cargo services across the country. All three major airports in the Washington area were closed until crews could clear the snow-clogged runways and visibility improved.
"The problem is everything," said Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. "The problem is this is day six."
Driving was so dangerous early Wednesday that Pepco, the area's electric utility, ordered its crews to stop repairing scores of downed power lines and crippled equipment that left thousands of homes dark and cold. Some neighborhoods have not had power since last Friday.
"Restoration will resume as soon as the storm abates," the utility said on its website. It predicted additional outages as more lines come down.
Snowplows and salt trucks that have worked nearly nonstop for days struggled to keep up as wind-whipped snow covered major streets as quickly as they were cleared. But as conditions grew more hazardous, officials ordered the plows to halt work in Washington and neighboring Montgomery County in Maryland at about 9:30 a.m.
State and local officials pleaded with drivers to stay indoors except for emergencies. Stranded drivers were warned to stay in their vehicles and call 911 rather than risk battling the storm outside. No one could predict when roads will be cleared.
"This is going to be measured in days, not hours," warned Charlie Gischler, spokesman for Maryland's State Highway Administration.
"No sooner do we get one storm under control, the next one rolls in," agreed Jeff Caldwell, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation. He said Virginia has brought in out-of-state crews to supplement the 3,000 workers who help with snow removal.
Some snowbound neighborhoods were still waiting for plows to dig them out when the latest storm hit, trapping people in their homes or at hotels for the foreseeable future. Maryland's governor, Martin O'Malley, pleaded for patience.
"There is no city or county government that is geared up to move all of this snow," he said earlier this week.
Amtrak canceled dozens of trains along the eastern seaboard and west to Chicago. Washington's Metro subway lines stopped service to above-ground stations, and Metrobuses stayed parked.
The federal government stayed closed for the third straight day, the longest weather-related closure since 1996, and the House and Senate both canceled scheduled hearings and votes.
Postal service was suspended in the Washington area, and weary educators in surrounding counties surrendered to the inevitable and canceled school and sporting events for the week.
The huge storm last weekend -- the third since December -- brought Washington's total snowfall this season to about 45 inches; that's more than the last four winters combined. In recent days, cross-country skiers traced graceful paths down snowbound urban streets and park trails, enjoying sunny skies and muffled silence. Children built snow forts, sledded down hills and happily pummeled passers-by with snowballs.
But Wednesday brought a brutal reminder of winter's wrath. Boughs from stately magnolias and huge shade trees lay shredded on the ground in Lafayette Park, just outside the White House.
In Derwood, Md., Ken Cohen was the only worker to show up at the Redland Liberty gas station. His only customers were privately owned plow trucks.
"Conditions are terrible," he admitted as fresh snow mounted by the pumps.
Jeff Solsby, a Southern California native who lives in Alexandria, Va., said he, his wife and their two toddlers had enjoyed sledding in recent days, but that cabin fever was starting to set in.
"I think people are stir-crazy and need to get out of the house," he said. Solsby, who works for a construction industry association, added that he also faces a deadline on a project for partners in the Midwest.
"I can't ask for weather sympathy from people based in Chicago," he said. As it happens, the storm roared in from the Midwest and dropped a foot of snow on Chicago.
Chris Tucker, a Washington energy consultant, braved the storm and bucked the odds to drive to work in downtown Washington from Glover Park, a neighborhood on the city's western edge. He was fine until he hit an icy road in Georgetown.
"Even with four-wheel-drive, I couldn't help but toboggan down the entire thing," he said. His usual 20-minute drive took almost twice as long, but he arrived at his office intact "owing in large part to the fact that I was the only car on the road."
Conditions only deteriorated after he got to work. "Think I just saw a cow fly by my ninth-floor window on K Street," he joked.
Still, students at two area universities refused to bow to nature's fury. George Washington University and Georgetown University planned an official snowball fight at 2 p.m., and spent the morning cheerfully trading insults via Facebook.
A GWU student who is grammatically challenged offered these guidelines: "1) If I hit some GU senator's kid really hard, they can't sue. 2.) Please, please, please be aware that limo's probably can't make it through the snow, so GU kids, head over early."
AND A NEW UPDATE, from NM again:
Durbin: D.C. residents panic as if snowstorm is 'a nuclear attack'
“I first came here as a student in 1963 … I lived a big part of my life, at least part-time, in Washington, D.C.,” Durbin said in remarks delivered on the Senate floor on Thursday. “I never could get over how people in this town reacted to snow.
“We joke about it. Those of us from parts of the country that get snow and know how to live with it cannot get over how crazy the reaction is many times."
Durbin, however, acknowledged that this past week’s worth of snowfall — which, with more than 55 inches, broke D.C.’s record — was due cause for D.C.-area residents to be concerned.
“But in fairness, this has been a heck of a snowstorm … You had every right to be concerned. Some of the other [storms], maybe not, but this one was the real deal.”
AND THEN AN EARTHQUAKE IN CHICAGO:
Let me refresh my memory, Obama; WHAT TOWN ARE YOU FROM AGAIN???
Sort of HUMBLING , wouldn't you say?? If this were Rome, I would call it the SIXTH PLAGUE - THE PLAGUE OF HAIL AND DARKNESS COMBINED... but this is the US- I have not counted plagues there.