AFP, Posted on Monday 03 January 2022 at 20:04
A blizzard swept through Washington and its environs on Monday, especially after a holiday marked by moderate temperatures, closing federal services and schools, halting buses and stressing air traffic disruptions.
Snow-covered Capitol Dome, White House, Under the white blanket of scales, Skiing on the streets: Weather services warned of at least 18 cm of snow in the US capital and it could rise up to 25 cm, and put the city on hold. Neighboring Virginia is under a winter storm warning until 4:00 pm (9:00 pm GMT).
“Be prepared for snowy and slippery roads, which make it difficult to travel,” they added in a bulletin.
The country’s meteorological services have warned that winter storms will clear most of the east coast of the United States, with heavy winds with heavy snowfall, causing “snowstorms” and “floods”.
– Electricity –
At least 440,000 homes in Virginia and 76,000 homes in neighboring Maryland were without electricity, and trees fell on power lines under the weight of snow.
On Monday morning the government announced the suspension of federal services in Washington, D.C., as a result of which the daily White House press conference was canceled, while the only vote scheduled for the day in the Senate was canceled and adjourned until Tuesday.
Facing the elements, the city has ordered the suspension of bus traffic, the closure of Covit-19 screening centers and the suspension of the delivery of rapid tests.
Several schools across the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area were closed Monday.
“If you absolutely do not need to go out, stay home and do not go on the road,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference because several vehicles were stuck on the roads. Snow.
President Joe Biden had to face the storm when he returned to the capital after a few days vacation in Delaware (East).
His Air Force One plane was stuck in the dormitory for thirty minutes, during which time crews could clear the ice on the runway, and then the president’s convoy was significantly reduced on its way to the White House.
– Chaotic air traffic –
The blizzard also underscored the chaos that had already ruled the air traffic in the United States for several weeks as pollutants erupted due to the Omigron variant of the Covit-19.
Ronald-Reagan National Airport, Washington-Dallas Airport and Baltimore Airport have all canceled flights, according to the Flightaware website.
At 1:00 pm on Monday (6:00 pm GMT), 2,650 flights were canceled on Sunday, and at least 2,700 domestic or international flights were canceled after 2,570 flights were canceled on Saturday.
This is more than half of the nearly 4,300 flights canceled worldwide simultaneously.
Winter storms are included in the highly contagious Omigron variant, which prevents many pilots or crew from coming to work in the air or on the ground, in case of illness or contact.