DC-area school systems start to make changes for Friday as refreeze looms

The snow has cleared out of the D.C. area Thursday, but the roads are still treacherous. And while the winter storm warning is mostly lifted, a winter weather advisory is in effect for most the area through 6 a.m. Friday.

That’s enough for leading area school systems to make changes for Friday, after most of them either went virtual or called off classes altogether Thursday.

The winter storm warning is still in effect for St. Mary’s, Charles and Calvert counties in Maryland until 6 a.m.

Here’s what you need to know.

  • Schools: Area school systems are starting to make changes for Friday. Check out all the closings and delays.
  • Metrobus schedule changes for Friday. The bus system remains on a severe service plan Thursday night. On Friday, Metrobus will operate on a moderate snow service plan providing service to customers on 110 routes. Detours will be in effect and some routes may be suspended.
  • What next? This will be primarily a sleet and freezing rain storm overnight, with snow totals on the low end. Storm tapers off late Friday morning.
  • Got photos? Tweet them at WTOP, if you can do it safely.

While the late afternoon was quiet, Storm Team4 meteorologist Mike Stinneford said at about 3:30 p.m., the high water content of the sleet that’s been falling over the day means there’s “a whole lot of water in that slush that will refreeze at night.” He added that more freezing rain was likely overnight, especially to the south of D.C., which could make matters even worse Friday morning.

Meanwhile, the roads are a mixed bag.

“On the major highways, crews have done a good job,” said Dave Dildine in the WTOP Traffic Center, but side streets are still a slushy problem, and there are still plenty of spinouts, especially on ramps.

In Maryland, the elevated sky ramp from Route 210 to the Beltway’s thru lanes and Interstate 295 is closed because of crashes and ice.

Shanteé Felix, of the Maryland State Highway Administration, told WTOP that there were plenty of traps for unwary drivers. If it’s not currently raining or snowing, she said, “It’s easy to get overconfident.” She advised would-be drivers to continue to stay home if at all possible.

“We’ve been able to make excellent progress” thanks to people staying off the roads, said Kelly Hannon, of the Virginia Department of Transportation. Northern Virginia had a lot of bare pavement, she said, but drivers need to keep aware of slushy shoulders and road crews that are continuing to work to keep roads safe from the coming refreeze.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo in Rockville said he was walking through “crushed ice a couple of inches high.”

(Courtesy National Weather Service)


Traffic woes

The WTOP Traffic Center is tracking several crashes involving multiple vehicles, many of which are on elevated flyover ramps.

A crash on the ramp from Interstate 66 East to the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway involved a jackknifed truck and at least one other vehicle facing the wrong way. Authorities have had to completely block some roads because of multiple spinouts and slide-offs in Loudoun County, Virginia.

As of 4 p.m., the Virginia State Police said, they had responded to 385 crashes and 255 disabled vehicles statewide since midnight. They reported no injuries; a fatal crash in Caroline County was determined not to be weather-related.

And in Maryland, the total was 160 crashes and 90 disabled or unattended vehicles as of 2 p.m.

Metrobus changes

Metro said buses will remain operating on a severe snow service plan through Thursday night due to the wintry weather conditions.

Beginning Friday morning, Metrobus will operate on a moderate snow service plan providing service to customers on 110 routes. Under a moderate service plan, detours will be in effect and some routes may be suspended.

It said buses throughout the D.C. region are encountering hazardous conditions, “including icy roads and limited visibility during heavy snowfall.”

Metro said it may be necessary to suspend some bus routes earlier, if roads become too dangerous for travel. Metrobus routes already suspended include 25B, J2, 1A, NH1, NH2, 23A, F1, W2, W3, A6 and D14.

It added that shuttle bus service due to the closure of Arlington Cemetery for the Platform Improvement Project was suspended as of 2 p.m. between Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery.

Metro said it will continue to provide free shuttle bus service for customers at Addison Road to and from Capitol Heights for connection to the Silver Line.

It is encouraging customers to travel only if necessary, and suggests riders consider Metrorail as an alternative to bus.

Metrorail service continues to operate on a normal weekday schedule, as de-icer trains are operating throughout the system in an effort to prevent ice and snow accumulations. Metro added that switch heaters have been activated.

MetroAccess is operating normal service, but Metro advises that customers may experience delays due to weather conditions. It said if sidewalks and walkways are impassable due to ice or snow, door-to-door service may not be possible and curb-to-curb service will be provided instead.

Snow totals

The unofficial snow total in the District is about a half-inch, according to National Weather Service numbers. In Maryland, 6 inches had fallen in Bloomfield in Frederick County; an inch in Columbia and 2 inches in Laytonsville, in Montgomery County.

In Virginia, the weather service said, an inch had fallen in Fairfax City; 2.4 inches in Langley and 0.8 inches at Wolf Trap, both in Fairfax County; 3.8 inches in Hillsboro and 1.5 inches in Ashburn, both in Loudoun County, .

Workers from the National Park Service clear snow and ice at the White House, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Workers from the National Park Service clear snow and ice at the White House, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Conditions were slick in the D.C. area after a winter storm moved through on Feb. 18, 2021.
Conditions were slick in the D.C. area after a winter storm moved through on Feb. 18, 2021.

A roadway in the D.C. area covered in snow after a winter storm on Feb. 18, 2021.
A roadway in the D.C. area covered in snow after a winter storm on Feb. 18, 2021.

Cars were coated under a sheet of snow and ice after a winter storm in the D.C. area on Feb. 18, 2021.
Cars were coated under a sheet of snow and ice after a winter storm in the D.C. area on Feb. 18, 2021.

Roads in the D.C. area were coated in slushy snow on Feb. 18.
Roads in the D.C. area were coated in slushy snow on Feb. 18.

(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Parking lot art in the snow. (WTOP/Hillary Howard)

Plows on I-395 Feb. 18, 2021. (WTOP/Hillary Howard)

The view in Alexandria, Virginia. (Courtesy @natvarusa via Twitter)

The U.S. Capitol behind fences.
A snow and ice-covered road leading to the U.S. Capitol, behind fencing. (WTOP/Mitchell Miller)

Workers are seen clearing ice and snow from the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Workers are seen clearing ice and snow from the steps of the U.S. Capitol. (WTOP/Mitchell Miller)

Vehicles on snow-covered road.
A snow plow works to make ice and snow-covered roads passible for motorists in the City of Frederick in Maryland. (Courtesy Frederick Police Department via Twitter)

A pair of disabled vehicles on an ice and snow-covered interstate.
A pair of disabled vehicles are seen on the ice and snow-covered lanes of Interstate 66 in Arlington, Virginia. (Courtesy VDOT)

Snow and ice covered street.
A look at the winter weather conditions on King Street in Leesburg, Virginia. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Sleet and ice on a vehicle.
Frozen rain and sleet caked on a vehicle in Loudoun County, Virginia. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Winter road crews on a snow and ice-covered road.
Road crews are seen on a snow and sleet-caked road in Loudoun County, Virginia. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Overturned vehicle
No one was hurt in the this crash along Interstate 95 in Prince William County, according to Virginia State Police. (Courtesy Virginia State Police)

Cars traveling on ice-covered road
A vehicle is seen facing sideways, blocking a lane of Interstate 66 traffic in Arlington, Virginia. (Courtesy VDOT)

Ice and snow-covered road.
Harrison Road (Courtesy John Baily via Twitter)

Sleet and snow-covered roadway
Snow and sleet coat the roadway at the intersection of Route 355 and Stringtown Road in Clarksburg, Maryland. (WTOP/John Domen)

Black dog walking on snow
This dog is seen exploring the early morning snow in Woodbridge, Virginia. (WTOP/Briana Bermensolo)

(1/22)
Workers from the National Park Service clear snow and ice at the White House, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Conditions were slick in the D.C. area after a winter storm moved through on Feb. 18, 2021.
A roadway in the D.C. area covered in snow after a winter storm on Feb. 18, 2021.
Cars were coated under a sheet of snow and ice after a winter storm in the D.C. area on Feb. 18, 2021.
Roads in the D.C. area were coated in slushy snow on Feb. 18.
The U.S. Capitol behind fences.
Workers are seen clearing ice and snow from the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Vehicles on snow-covered road.
A pair of disabled vehicles on an ice and snow-covered interstate.
Snow and ice covered street.
Sleet and ice on a vehicle.
Winter road crews on a snow and ice-covered road.
Overturned vehicle
Cars traveling on ice-covered road
Ice and snow-covered road.
Sleet and snow-covered roadway
Black dog walking on snow

Coming up

Changes to vaccination sites

In Maryland the mass vaccination site at Six Flags America theme park will be open Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will accommodate those with scheduled appointments for Feb. 19.

  • Those with appointment times between 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. should arrive between 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Those with appointment times between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. should arrive between 11 a.m. to noon.
  • Those with appointment times after 10 a.m. should arrive at their scheduled time.

All Thursday appointments for the Six Flags America site, which was closed Thursday, will be rescheduled for March 3.

The Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital will be open Friday for both vaccination and testing. Those who cannot make their appointments on Friday can call 410-649-6200 to reschedule.

Several coronavirus vaccine clinics in D.C.-area jurisdictions were closed Thursday due to inclement weather.

Fairfax County, Virginia, canceled all COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled to take place Thursday at the Fairfax County Government Center and the four Health Department District sites. Anyone who had a Thursday appointment should receive an email notifying them of the cancellation that provides a link to reschedule for the upcoming week at the same site.

Arlington, Virginia’s, testing and vaccine sites were also closed Thursday, as were vaccine clinics in Prince William County.

Montgomery County, Maryland, canceled its vaccine clinics for Thursday. The clinic scheduled for Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville will be moved to Saturday, Feb. 20 at the same location, and the Quince Orchard High School clinic will be moved to Sunday, Feb. 21.

Those who had Thursday appointments at either site were automatically rescheduled and should have already received an email notifying them of the change, the county said.

For the latest road and traffic conditions, see WTOP’s traffic page or listen to updates every 10 minutes online or on the air at 103.5 FM. Submit traffic tips by calling 866-304-WTOP or tagging @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.


Forecast:

  • Thursday night: Sleet and freezing rain continue, some mix with snow in far northern Maryland. Significant ice impact. Temperatures in the mid 20s to low 30s.
  • Friday: All precipitation ending in the morning. Cloudy, brisk and cold the rest of the day. Some melting followed by significant refreeze at night. Highs in the mid to upper 30s.
  • Saturday: Mostly sunny, blustery and cold. Highs in the upper 20s to lower 30s.
  • Sunday: Sun with increasing clouds late in the day. Highs in the low to mid 30s.

Current conditions:

WTOP’s Dave Dildine, Alejandro Alvarez and Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She has a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a master’s degree in English Literature from The George Washington University.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up