Out With a Bang: The Last Day of 2009 brings a Wintery Mix to DC

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Public Works (DPW) are preparing for a wintery mix (rain, sleet, and snow) anticipated to fall in the District in the early morning hours on Thursday, December 31st.

The District Snow Team is currently planning to gear up for a full deployment beginning at 3 am on Thursday through early afternoon when temperatures are expected to rise above freezing and the precipitation anticipated turning to rain.

Refreezing is also anticipated Thursday and perhaps Friday evening as temperatures drop back below freezing. Travelers throughout the area are advised to proceed with caution.

DPW also announced that it will suspend leaf collections once again, so these crews can prepare the trucks for the New Year’s Eve storm. “We had resumed collecting leaves this week following the Blizzard of 2009,” said Director Howland. “Leaf collection employees and equipment form the backbone of DPW’s snow fighting team; so when snow is predicted, leaf collection trucks are taken out of service to have plows and salt spreaders mounted on them.

DDOT and DPW remind commuters and residents to:
• Please take Metro as an alternative to driving.
• Have a designated driver or the telephone number of a taxicab company to ensure a safe celebration.
• Listen to media reports for weather updates.
• Remember that driving on ice is significantly different than driving on snow. Even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well in ice and additional safety measures should be followed.
• Drivers should use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles.
• Be aware of road conditions, particularly black ice which can be deceptive in its appearance giving the driver a false sense of security on the road.
• Remember to keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles during any major winter weather event.
• Variable Message Signs placed strategically along local highways and corridors will remind motorists that “Bridges Freeze before Roadways” and/or “Caution – Icy Conditions” in an effort to further remind drivers to go slowly and be wary of icy conditions including black ice in the roadway.
• Black ice is transparent ice located on the roadway making it very difficult to detect and becoming a major hazard to motorists.
• Please remain alert, do not drive distracted and be aware of surrounding conditions including other vehicles and pedestrians.