(Washington) After a holiday season marked by particularly mild temperatures, a blizzard swept through Washington and surrounding areas on Monday, closing federal services and schools, stopping buses and increasing air traffic disruptions.
Skiing the streets under the white blanket of snow-covered Capitol Tower, White House snowflakes: Twenty centimeters of snow fell on the American capital.
According to the Flightaware website, after the cancellation of 2,650 flights on Sunday and 2,570 on Saturday, at least 3,173 domestic or international flights were canceled to or from the United States at 8:30 pm (GMT 1:30 am). Nearly 6,800 flights were also delayed during the day.
Pollution from the Omicron variant of the Kovid-19 has added to the blizzard, adding to the weeks-long chaos in air traffic in the United States.
Earlier on Monday, President Joe Biden himself had to deal with the storm when he returned to the capital after a few days vacation in Delaware (east).
His Air Force One plane was stuck on the tarmac for thirty minutes, and while the crew was able to clear the snow on the runway, the President’s convoy slowed down en route to the White House.
“Be prepared for snow and slippery roads, which will make traffic difficult,” weather services warned in a bulletin, citing high winds with heavy snowfall.
There were at least 340,000 homes in Virginia and 67,000 homes in neighboring Maryland Monday evening, with trees falling on high voltage lines with the weight of snow.
The government announced Monday morning that it was closing federal services in the city of Washington, which resulted in the cancellation of the daily White House press conference, but the sole vote scheduled for the day in the Senate was canceled and postponed to Tuesday.
The city, which has encountered the issues, has ordered the suspension of bus traffic, as well as the closure of COVID-19 test centers and the suspension of speedy test distribution.
Most schools in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area were also closed Monday.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser was ordered to “stay home and do not go on the road unless you absolutely need to go out” while many vehicles were stranded on the roads due to snow.
Late in the afternoon, thanks to the sunshine, many Americans gathered at the great Green Belt National Mall in the center of the capital for a massive snowball fight.