While most residents of Washington, D.C. were worrying about a possible blizzard this weekend, a small snow event on Wednesday triggered hours of gridlock on major roads in this region, forcing some commuters to abandon their vehicles, while others struggled to get home well after midnight.
It was no more than one inch of snow – but local governments were caught by surprise, and were unable to treat the roads fast enough to avoid hockey rink conditions that made the DC traffic map look like this at 9 pm last night:
As you might imagine, a number of people were caught up in the traffic mess.
Even President Obama was caught up in the traffic mess, as he could not fly his helicopter back to the White House from Andrews Air Base, just outside of DC. This from the White House Pool:
Departing at 7:26 p.m., President Obama’s motorcade made its way slowly from Joint Base Andrews to the White House through the snowy streets of suburban Maryland and Washington, D.C., stopping at most stoplights and easing its way through slow and crowded traffic, often employing sirens and flashing lights.
The vans slipped and skidded on the icy roads, making contact several times with the curb during the more suburban part of the drive. After nearly an hour, the motorcade vehicles started making more aggressive use of their sirens and stoplight privileges.
Poolers counted between three and four fender benders/accidents in the first 20 minutes of the ride, which ended at the White House at approximately 8:40 p.m.
And there still is a weekend blizzard to come – and for some, the signs of disaster are already apparent: