Heavy Winter Storm Hits D.C. Area and Knocks Out Power Across Southeast

More than half a million customers were without electricity on Monday, and federal government offices in the Washington, D.C., area were closed because of the storm.,

More than half a million customers were without electricity on Monday, and federal government offices in the Washington, D.C., area were closed because of the storm.

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A winter storm caused federal government buildings to close in Washington, D.C., and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity as it moved up the East Coast.CreditCredit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

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 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.”

As of Monday morning, almost 350,000 customers in Virginia were without electricity, with an additional 166,000 outages in North Carolina and more than 85,000 in Georgia, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates data from utilities across the United States.

ImagePresident Biden disembarks Air Force One during a snowstorm at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Monday.
President Biden disembarks Air Force One during a snowstorm at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Monday.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Hundreds of flights from Washington-area airports were canceled or delayed as of Monday morning, according to FlightAware, which tracks the status of flights.

Ahead of the storm, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington declared a snow emergency in the District of Columbia for much of Monday. Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland mobilized state resources, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey declared a state of emergency for five counties, warning residents to stay off the roads. In Delaware, state government offices were closed.

A winter storm warning was in effect early Monday for portions of Tennessee and North Carolina, along with a large swath of Virginia up through Washington and parts of Maryland and New Jersey, the Weather Service said. Up to eight inches of snow was expected through Monday evening with localized amounts of up to a foot.

Roads in Northern Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina were already becoming messy on Monday morning, the Weather Service said. The Virginia State Police said that it had responded to more than 100 reports of crashes on highways before 10 a.m.

The heaviest snow, at two inches per hour, was expected to occur right after the transition from rain, meteorologists said, adding that the phenomenon called thundersnow — when thunder and lighting occur during a snowstorm — was likely. The refreezing of melted snow in the evening and overnight hours could lead to additional travel concerns.

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A hiker walks along a snow-covered trail in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., on Monday.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

In Washington, where a winter storm warning was in effect until late Monday afternoon, the weather system was forecast to produce up to eight inches of snow, according to the Weather Service, which warned motorists to plan for slippery road conditions in the morning. “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” meteorologists said.

Parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey could see up to a foot of snow on Monday, with wind gusts as high as 40 miles per hour. The tail end of the storm was expected to dump about six inches of snow across portions of Tennessee and just a few inches across parts of Georgia before moving north.

In response to the weather, D.C. Public Schools announced that classes would be canceled on Monday, as did many other school systems across Maryland and Virginia, including several in the Richmond area. In New Jersey, some systems announced closures while others said they would operate with delayed openings.

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