School, work, travel can wait as snow blankets U.S. capital

White_House_03033 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
White_House_02503 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
White_House_98315 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Winter_Weather_69262 Lily Whitesell with her three children —Silvio, Thiago, and Inti Carvallo — prepare to descend the big hill behind Lemon Road Elementary during a snow storm in Falls Church, Va., on Monday, Jan. 3, 2021. A winter storm packing heavy snow blew into the nation's capital on Monday, closing government offices and schools and grounding the president's helicopter. As much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow was forecast for the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and central Maryland through the afternoon.
Washington_Winter_Weather_80410 A snow plow works the roads near the National Mall, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_36938 Mark Kestner, of Washington, is covered in snow as he walks on the National Mall, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_40099 A winter storm delivers heavy snow to the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Washington_Winter_Weather_71468 The Supreme Court is seen as a winter storm delivers heavy snow to Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Washington_Winter_Weather_66856 A person walks their dog as snow falls on the National Mall, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Maryland_Winter_Weather_66605 Traffic slips going up a small hill on I-495, the Capital Beltway, as snow falls, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Fort Washington, Md.
APTOPIX_White_House_02503 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
White_House_Winter_Weather_16573 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, as a winter storm blows into the Mid-Atlantic area.
Washington_Winter_Weather_66292 Snow blankets the statues of soldiers in the the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_04348 People walk their dog near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool as snow falls, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Maryland_Winter_Weather_93031 Snow blows sideways in gusty wind as Karla Rivas strolls at Federal Hill Park, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Baltimore. Rivas, who is originally from Miami, said this was her first snow storm.
White_House_Winter_Weather_60227 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, as a winter storm blows into the Mid-Atlantic area.
Washington_Winter_Weather_51372 A pedestrian walks along the National Mall as snow falls, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_74509 People enter the Lincoln Memorial as snow falls, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_48066 A pedestrian uses an umbrella to shield from the blowing snow, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Maryland_Winter_Weather_02756 Gerry Groh of Annapolis, Md., shovels a sidewalk in Annapolis, Md., Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. A winter storm packing heavy snow rolled into the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and central Maryland overnight, bringing at least 3 to 7 inches of snow to the area through Monday afternoon.
Washington_Winter_Weather_43642 A man walks his dog past the Supreme Court as a winter storm delivers heavy snow to Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Washington_Winter_Weather_87955 Visitors from France enjoy the scenery as a winter storm delivers heavy snow to the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
APTOPIX_White_House_Winter_Weather_76005 Snow falls at the White House early in the morning in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, as a winter storm blows into the Mid-Atlantic area.
White_House_19115 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
White_House_13392 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Washington_Winter_Weather_04056 Snowballs fly during a snowball fight organized by the DC Snowball Fight Association, on the National Mall, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Winter_Weather_Virginia_48622 A tree lies across Scotchtown Road in Hanover County, Va., during a snowstorm Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
White_House_59987 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
APTOPIX_Washington_Winter_Weather_16550 People walk down steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in the background as snow falls, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_15032 A runner revels in the moment as he jogs along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool as snow falls, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
Washington_Winter_Weather_00071 Derek Davison gives daughter Alyssa Davison a push to sled down the hill at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Arlington, Va.
APTOPIX_White_House_Winter_Weather_37303 Snow falls at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, as a winter storm blows into the Mid-Atlantic area.
Washington_Winter_Weather_65055 Rob Lucchesi, from Washington, cross-country skis along the National Mall, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Washington.
White_House_Winter_Weather_07419 A groundskeeper clears the driveway in front of the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, as a winter storm blows into the Mid-Atlantic area.
VirginiaWinter_Weather_21378 Mathias Roussy, 15, shoots down the sledding hill at full speed at Friends of Forest Hill Park in Richmond, Va. on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Winter_Weather_52014 Snow blankets a neighborhood in Baltimore on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. The winter storm closed government offices, schools and COVID-19 testing and vaccination centers on Monday with the National Weather Service forecast as much as 10 inches of snow in the region surrounding the nation's capital.
Severe_Weather_South_39822 Terry Thornton, owner of Thornton Furniture in Bowling Green, Ky., hugs his employee, Kelly Lester, after surveying damage to his store as a result of a storm Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. Thornton said when the warnings sounded, everyone in the store got into an interior closet and no one was injured.
White_House_26895 Snow falls at the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A winter storm packing heavy snow blew into the nation’s capital Monday, closing government offices and schools and grounding the president’s helicopter as 6 to 11 inches (15 to 28 centimeters) of snow ringed the area around Washington.

Snow spotters for the National Weather Service reported accumulations of 11.5 inches (29.2 centimeters) in the D.C. suburb of Capitol Heights, Maryland, and 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) in Rose Hill, Virginia, by the time the storm wound down Monday afternoon. At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) of snow was reported. Farther south, in Chancellorsville, Virginia, 12.1 inches (30.7 centimeters) was reported.

“It was balmy and foggy yesterday and then 6 inches of snow this morning, not even 12 hours later. That’s not something I’ve seen before,” said Shawn Devroude, 52, a federal worker who braved the blizzard-like conditions in the nation’s capital to play with his 9-year-old border collie, MoJo, at the Naval Memorial.

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.

Strong wind gusts and snow falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) per hour made travel treacherous. In Virginia, state police responded to more than 600 traffic accidents, including a crash involving six tractor-trailers. State police said no injuries were reported in the crash.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a snow emergency and advised residents to stay home.

“Stay off the roads and allow our crews to work,” she said.

President Joe Biden made a slow return to Washington after spending about a week in Delaware. The snow grounded Biden’s helicopter, so he motorcaded to the White House from Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, a slow slog that took nearly an hour. The White House Press briefing was canceled, although Biden’s other public events were still on.

More than half the flights were delayed or canceled Monday at Washington’s three major airports, according to FlightAware.com’s misery map. A quarter of the flights at New York’s three major airports were delayed or canceled as well. In New Jersey, snow blanketed the southern half of the state, dumping about a foot (0.3 meters) near the resort town of Atlantic City.

Andrea Klein, 23, a graduate student at Georgetown University, welcomed the snow after spending the past two weeks in quarantine when one of her roommates tested positive for COVID-19.

“Things have been feeling a bit stressful in the world lately so to walk around in the snow with friends is a nice return to normalcy,” she said, while strolling around the National Mall taking pictures.

Many COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites were closed in D.C., Virginia and in Maryland due to the weather. Multiple school districts in the region also said they would be closed, delayed or have virtual learning Monday.

Karla Rivas, who is originally from Miami but now lives in Baltimore, experienced her first-ever winter storm.

“I love it,” she said. “I feel like it’s great to have the seasons.”

Other parts of the country were also dealing with a snowy start to the new year.

Western Washington state and Oregon were seeing a mix of rain and snow while heavy snow, gusty winds, drifts and crashes shut down mountain passes and some highways.

Even Florida woke up to a dusting of snow, with temperatures plunging in parts of the Panhandle after typical beach weather Sunday.

A 7-year-old girl died Monday morning when a tree fell on a cabin in East Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains, Blount County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Marian O’Briant said. She said numerous trees and power lines were down all over Blount County after heavy, wet snow fell overnight. No one else was injured. Officials did not release additional information.

A 55-year-old man Delaware man died after his car ran off the road and hit a tree Monday morning as freezing rain fell in the area, according to the state police. Master Cpl. Heather Pepper said investigators haven’t determined if weather was a factor in the crash.

As much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow accumulated in north Alabama, where authorities reported multiple roads were blocked because of icy spots and wrecks.

With temperatures in the teens forecast for overnight, Virginia State Police warned that any snow that melted during the day is expected to freeze, causing icy and dangerous road conditions. Some school districts in Virginia said schools would be closed again Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation confirmed both directions of I-95 are shut down between Ruther Glen, Virginia, in Caroline County and exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County. A crash involving six tractor trailers on Monday around noon lead to the shutdown, leaving drivers stranded for hours. No injuries were reported.

___

Associated Press contributors include Julio Cortez in Baltimore; Colleen Long in Washington; Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware; Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Virginia; Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; Julie Walker in New York; and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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