Winter Storm Shuts Down Washington D.C.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Washington D.C.

A massive Winter storm featuring bitterly cold temperatures and blizzard conditions has sparked a full shut down of government offices in Washington D.C.

Weather forecasts for the D.C. area are warning residents of a blizzard expected to last between 3PM Friday and 6AM Sunday.

The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington area is warning that starting Friday the region can expect blowing and drifting snow, sleet mixed with snow, hazardous driving conditions, and temperatures well below freezing.

The service is also expecting up to 24 inches of snow to be dumped in the D.C. and perhaps as much a 30 inches in the far western suburbs

“The Mid-Atlantic is going to get walloped,” Weather Channel meteorologist Ari Sarsalari said. “We’re talking blizzard condition, whiteout conditions.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has already requested military vehicles from the National Guard to be prepared to reach people in isolated places once the snow begins to fall on Friday.

“If this is a blizzard and we have sustained winds and people lose power, that would be my biggest concern,” Bowser said. “We can move the snow. We will move the snow.”

The mayor has preemptively announced that D.C. schools will be shut down on Friday. She also said city government offices would close at noon.

On his Thursday radio show, Rush Limbaugh joked that with Washington shutting down due to this storm, it must be proof that God is a Republican. He also asked why no one gets upset about a government shut down when it is weather behind the action.

“Anyway, the big news about all this is that the mayors of Washington, DC, and New York City and so forth, other officials, can’t wait to be first to close schools,” Rush said early during his show.”Big blizzard coming. So schools are gonna be shut down. And you know what else is going to shut down? The federal government is going to shut down. (gasping) Oh, no. Yes indeed, another government shutdown, this one brought to us by God. God must be a Republican, then. Well, it’s an act of God, force majeure, this is an insurance language, something like this happens, they call it act of God. ”

Still, despite Mayor Bowser’s announcements, as of Thursday afternoon, the federal government had made no announcements about whether or not federal offices would be shut down.

If Washington gets the 24 inches meteorologists are warning about it could rate as one of the deepest snowfalls in the city’s history. To date the heaviest snowfalls came in 1922 when 28 inches fell, the storm during 1899 measuring in at 20.5 inches, and the President’s Day storm of 1979 which saw 18.7 inches hitting the capital.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at