Winter Weather Advisory now issued for Washington, D.C. area

Photo: Kendis Gibson

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the greater Washington D.C. area starting Thursday morning.

The National Weather Service says that the watch, which extends over the entire D.C. metro area, goes into effect Thursday morning and will last through Thursday night.

As much as five inches of snow, possibly heavy at times, is possible. ABC7 meteorologist Jacqui Jeras says that at this point, 1-3 inches of snow are possible.

The National Weather Service's forecast says that snow could mix with rain early Thursday before switching over to all snow during the afternoon and into the night.

The D.C. Snow Team (Department of Public Works and District Department of Transportation) will go into full deployment Thursday with more than 200 plows on the roads by 9 a.m. You can track plows by clicking here.

Three D.C. DMV locations will be closed Thursday:

Penn Branch Service Center (3220 Pennsylvania Ave., SE), Temporary C Street Service Center (301 C St., NW) and Brentwood Commercial and Road Test Lot (1205 Brentwood Road, NE).

Area residents prepare for snowfall

Just the thought of snow hitting the evening commute is enough to bring back those memories of the 2011 blizzard. People are hoping to avoid the paralyzing traffic jams which stranded so many commuters for hours.

Hardware stores are getting ready for a deluge of desperate customers who need shovels, scrapers and salt.

“We have a lot of the stuff in the basement, a lot of stuff in back stock,” says John Morin, an employee at Logan Hardware.

In the suburbs, the memory of the 2011 storm haunts some. The sudden snowfall and the slow response from the feds sent throngs of commuters onto congested roads.

“I would rather have precaution so people don’t have to sit in that and deal with that,” says Shannon Johnson of Bristow.

Johnson hopes the feds are quicker to respond if Thursday’s storm delivers a solid punch. Her husband sent hours stuck on the road in the 2011 storm.

Stafford residents Deborah Williams and Judy Taylor are certainly accustomed to snow having grown up elsewhere.

“I’m initially from New York, so the snow doesn’t really bother me,” says Williams.

But being this far below the Beltway, many of their neighbors are not used to navigating in a storm that could hit this area harder than in Northern Virginia.

Williams bought a shovel and Ice Melt while Taylor hit the supermarket the night before the snow falls.

“I’m here tonight so that I won’t have to come tomorrow when it’s really going to be bad,” says Taylor.

They also plan on steering clear of driving. With snow expected to hit in mid to late-afternoon, the storm’s timing could turn a normally congested commute into an arduous trip home.

“With the snow and people not knowing how to drive it’s probably going to be a mess tomorrow,” says Williams.

VDOT officials say they are closely monitoring the forecast and will have hundreds of trucks ready to roll early Thursday. Their focus, whether pre-treating, sanding or plowing, will be on keeping the I-96 corridor as clear as possible.

Make sure to stay ahead of the storm with the Stormwatch 7 team on and on the new Stormwatch 7 Facebook page.