The winter storm anticipated for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., began with a heavy snow just before midnight and continued throughout Wednesday. According to WTOP, local governments and transportation authorities want residents off the roads to avoid collisions and becoming stuck in snowy conditions.
WTOP said that the snowstorm should continue throughout evening on Wednesday, with a winter storm warning expected to last until 3 a.m. Thursday.
The National Weather Service anticipated 6 to 12 inches of snow for areas north and west of D.C., while ABC7 suggested that could be closer to 5 to 10 inches, and western Montgomery and Fairfax counties would be closer to 8 to 12 inches.
The National Weather Service indicated that Frederick, Montgomery, Charles, and Prince George's counties in Maryland and a wide band of Virginia counties south and west of Washington, D.C., were under a Winter Weather Advisory, with slushy to snow-covered roads and potentially freezing and icy areas.
A state of emergency was declared in Virginia by Gov. Bob McDonnell, who said that over 12 inches of snow had been reported along northern Interstate 81 and 170,000 people had no power in the Commonwealth. There were 1,346 calls for assistance placed to Virginia State Police from midnight through 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The Maryland State Highway Administration noted it had 2,000 crews patrolling roads with plows and salting roads.
"The best advice is not to travel today. The snow is predicted to be heavy and wet, which can cause tree limbs to break onto roads and power lines," said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. Despite the fact that bare pavement could be visible in areas, she warned drivers that conditions were rapidly changing.
The federal government closed on Wednesday, according to the Office of Personnel Management, shutting down offices around the region. Telework-ready employees were expected to work from home.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal who lives near Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland.