'Emergency' D.C. Snowstorm Cuts Power to 200K Residents, Closes Schools, Transportation

The Washington, D.C. metro area was hit with over half a foot of snow on Monday, with certain parts of the surrounding suburbs receiving over a foot of snowfall.

The city has seen less than six inches of snow for the entirety of the past two winter seasons and was coming off of two consecutive 60-degree days. The blizzard-like conditions sparked disorder as neighborhoods experienced power outages and some roads became virtually unusable.

NBC 4 Washington reported that over 200,000 power company customers lost power during the storm and that Virginia State Police reported 313 vehicle crashes by mid-morning. Public schools ceased remote learning for the day, flights were canceled, and the city's famous museums shut their doors.

Expecting logistical hurdles tied to the snowfall, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a "Snow Emergency" effective midnight on Monday that is set to last until 7:00 p.m. For a city looking to start the new year with measures in place to maintain safety and normalcy amid the spread of Omicron, the Snow Emergency presented a number of setbacks.

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A snowstorm in Washington, D.C. presented complications for residents, including power outages and delayed start dates for school re-openings. Above, President Joe Biden salutes as he disembarks from Air Force One during the snowstorm upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base on January 3, 2022, in Maryland. Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

The city was forced to close a number of its COVID-19 testing centers and D.C. Public Schools were forced to push their post-holiday reopening date to January 6 instead of January 5. School openings were already moved back from a Monday, January 3 opening in order to accommodate COVID-19 rapid testing ahead of the return to classroom instruction.

Snowfall in the city stopped in the late afternoon. However, Bowser issued a tweet around 5:30 p.m. asking residents to remain off the roads as the city continued to plow its streets.

Courtesy of @DildineWTOP

"Thank you to everyone who helped out today by staying off the roads," Bowser tweeted. "Please continue to stay off the roads throughout the evening and into the night. Our crews are hard at work clearing the roads and getting streets back open. Thank you for your continued cooperation."

D.C. last saw a snowstorm that brought almost a foot of snow in January 2019, according to data tracked by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Prior to that, the city's last snowstorm to meet the one-foot level was in January 2016, when the city was hit with almost 19 inches of snow.

President Joe Biden returned to D.C. from his vacation in Delaware in the middle of the snowstorm, facing a flurry of flakes on his way off of Air Force One. Steven Portnoy of CBS News Radio tweeted that Biden's motorcade took over an hour to reach the White House from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, which sits 14 miles away, as a result of the storm.