Washington declares state of emergency, braces for ‘historic’ snowfall

D.C. struggles with first test of weather preparedness, failing to treat roads early enough and causing major traffic jams ahead of a massive storm.

NEAR COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 21, 2016) (NBC) – Washington, D.C., and New York City were under blizzard watches on Thursday (January 21) and states of emergency were declared in Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland ahead of a blustery weekend storm expected to slam the East Coast.

“We are expecting a historic snowfall,” Washington D.C.’s mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters. “We’ve been told to prepare for winds of up to forty miles per hour.”

Heavy snow and high winds were forecast for the Washington and Baltimore areas with blizzard conditions starting on Friday (January 22) afternoon, said meteorologist Daniel Petersen of the National Weather Service.

Washington’s public schools opened with a two-hour delay on Thursday under sunny skies that belied forecasts for a storm reminiscent of the February 2010 blizzard that paralyzed the nation’s capitol.

Bowser also apologized for her city’s poor handling of less than an inch and a half of snow that fell on Wednesday (January 20).

“We don’t believe that we prepared adequately…We should have been out earlier with more resources,” Bowser said.

At least two feet (60 centimeters) of snow are expected to fall on Washington D.C. over the weekend.