Calling a snow day for the feds is a process

WASHINGTON – Earlier in the week, forecasters were calling for 8 to 10 inches, but it turned into more of a “no-quester” than a “snowquester.”

Predicted snow levels led to the closure of the federal government, but many wondered if the decision had been made too hastily.

“When we were making the decision before 4 a.m., the National Weather Service provided a greater level of confidence in the temperature, the wind speed and snow accumulation, calling for 8 to 10 inches for D.C.,” says Thomas Richards, director of communications for the Office of Personnel Management.

Making the call to close the government because of the weather is no small decision, he says. The decision often includes contacting local transit and public safety authorities as well as the National Weather Service.

“Everyone is feeding information in from their local jurisdiction about what they’re seeing to help make a decision on operating status,” he says.

Richards says the two biggest concerns are people’s safety and uninterrupted service. Even during a shut down, he notes that more than one-third of the workforce is still working.

“People are working from their mobile devices or logging in on their home computers,” he says.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow @KingWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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