Snowstorm shuts down Washington

As much as 10 inches of snow is predicted, forcing the president to drive to work as government offices close

A massive snowstorm hit Washington, DC on Monday, grounding planes from the capital district to New York City and forcing President Joe Biden to drive rather than fly back to the White House after a weekend at home in Delaware.

With as much as 10 inches of snow forecast for the area, the storm forced delays and cancellations on more than half the flights scheduled out of Ronald Reagan National Airport, Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport.

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Biden’s helicopter was among the grounded craft, forcing him to be driven back to DC from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The day’s White House press briefing was canceled, though other events were reportedly still on even as the US Office of Personnel Management announced federal offices in the area would be closed for the day.

Further up the coast, New York City’s three major airports saw a quarter of their flights delayed or canceled as well. The National Weather Service predicted wind gusts as strong as 35 miles per hour and warned that rush hour traffic would likely be snarled due to the hazardous conditions.

The storm had already knocked out power for 500,000 people in the southeastern US, from northern Alabama and southern Tennessee to Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. The winter storm warning is in effect until 4pm local time, though weather authorities caution melted snow could refreeze during the night, bringing more hazardous driving conditions. Dozens of crashes have already been reported since the storm began.

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