A winter storm packing strong winds and heavy snow blew throughout much of the U.S. Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, including Washington, D.C. on Monday. The storm’s force caused federal and local government offices and schools to close, grounding airplanes, including the president’s helicopter. The storm’s path left 6 to 11 inches snow in that region and knocking out power for thousands of people.
Forecasts had called for 4-8 inches of snow with winds up to 40 miles per hours in the region’s first blizzard of the season, according to the National Weather Service. Severe weather warnings were issued from the Carolinas to New Jersey for Monday.
Snow spotters for the National Weather Service reported accumulations of 11.5 inches in the D.C. suburb of Capitol Heights, Maryland, and 10 inches in Rose Hill, Virginia, by the time the storm wound down Monday afternoon. At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, 6.7 inches of snow was reported. Farther south, in Chancellorsville, Virginia, 12.1 inches was reported.
The heavy snowfall, coupled with closings caused by the surge in coronavirus cases, forced much of Washington to shut down. Four of the Smithsonian museums had already closed in late December due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and the National Zoo announced Monday that it would close for the day because of the snow.
Even President Joe Biden faced delays as he arrived back in Washington. The president and his staff were stuck on Air Force One for 30 minutes as plows cleared the runway.
The president’s motorcade, which typically darts through Washington’s streets, crawled on its way back to the White House.
The National Weather Service said the winter storm was easing and would end by Monday evening.