Winter’s First Big Storm Forces Montgomery Schools, Offices To Close Monday
Second wave of snow Sunday night pushes totals above 11 inches in places
A worker clears snow and ice from steps as Bethesda Metro Center Monday morning.
Bethesda Beat Photo
Updated 8:45 a.m. Monday
Bands of snow that started Saturday afternoon and continued into Sunday night have dropped more than 10 inches of snow across parts of Montgomery County, prompting the county school system to cancel Monday classes and closing federal and county government offices.
Authorities said no serious weather-related incidents were reported in the first snowstorm of the winter, with drivers heeding requests to stay off the roads to “reduce personal risks,” state police said.
As snow resumed at nightfall Sunday, state and county highway officials issued new alerts about deteriorating road conditions. Below-freezing temperatures overnight caused icing problems for Monday morning commutes.
All Montgomery school and community activities in school buildings Monday were canceled, and administrative offices are also closed, the school system announced. The county’s decision to close followed by hours announcements that schools in neighboring Prince George’s and Howard counties would be closed.
Montgomery County and federal government offices are also closed Monday, except for essential services workers. Rockville City also announced its offices were closed.
County libraries, recreation and swim centers closed Sunday morning after forecasters extended a winter storm warning into Sunday night.
Snowfall amounts measured Sunday morning were within the ranges predicted Friday by forecasters: Chevy Chase View had 5.8 inches, North Potomac 5.1 inches, Takoma Park 6 inches and 5.5 inches in Gaithersburg, according to the National Weather Service’s spotters network.
By Monday morning, weather service spotters reported double-digit amounts: 12.7 inches in Damascus; 11.6 inches near Rockville; 11 inches in Bethesda; and 10 inches in the Four Corners neighborhood of Silver Spring.
With temperatures expected to remain at or below freezing, Montgomery County also extended a hypothermia alert until Monday night, warning that people outdoors should dress appropriately and check on elderly neighbors.
County road crews started to plow hundreds of miles of neighborhood streets Sunday after major county thoroughfares were cleared and treated with chemicals.
Snowplow crews were aided by the decision to pre-treat major roads with brine on Friday, according to state highway officials, and Sunday’s additional snowfall kept them on duty overnight.
The county estimates it will be able to plow most side streets within 16 hours of the end of a storm that drops 3 inches of snow. Larger amounts require more time.
County law requires sidewalks to be cleared within 24 hours of the end of a storm. Rockville, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park have separate regulations.
This story will be updated.