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D.C. Mayor: Historic Blizzard Has ‘Life and Death’ Implications

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser held an early morning, televised press conference Friday during which time she shared vital information regarding the pending blizzard that meteorologists predict will bring between 15 and 30 inches of snow to the greater Washington area.

Schools and colleges in Maryland, Virginia and the District have already canceled classes while many federal offices opened on Friday but closed at noon, allowing employees to get home before the storm hits.

Bowser said her greatest concerns include health, life and safety.

“We advise everyone to stay off the roads and inside of their homes,” she said. “We see this as a major storm with life or death implications. I have invoked a state of emergency which will allows us to keep vehicles off the roads so that workers can clear vital paths that will be needed for the use of emergency vehicles and services.”

The mayor reminded District residents that Metro will suspend bus services beginning at 5 p.m. Friday with trains continuing operation until 11 p.m. Both bus and train services are slated to resume Monday.

In addition, the city has opened one warming center in each of the eight wards with the ability to open up to 24 more centers based on the number of power outages that occur throughout the District.

Weekend events including the Capitols, Wizards and the Mayor’s Conference will either be held earlier than originally scheduled or postponed. The Washington Auto Show has already canceled its weekend events with programming set to resume Monday at noon, continuing through Sunday, Jan. 31.

Bowser added that snow removal efforts will begin in earnest on late Saturday evening and continue into early Sunday morning.

“Residents need to be prepared for the next 72 hours,” she said. “By now you should have water, food, battery-operated radios, flashlights and even alternative heating sources. We advise residents to avoid using candles because of their being potential fire hazards. Those with home-care needs and health challenges should be prepared to call 911 or their physician should the need arise.

“And if you have a neighbor that you know may need a hand, we urge you to knock on their door periodically to make sure they’re OK,” Bowser said.

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