I followed the "progress" of the storm and the deterioration of the roads and mass transit during the afternoon and was worried for some of my friends who live in the D.C. area. Having read through the local media this morning I see those fears were well founded.
Twelve hours. That's how long it took some people to get home using the George Washington Parkway Wednesday night.
Danielle Heard finally made it to her destination at 5:30 a.m. Thursday after leaving her Crystal City office at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.
She said traffic came to a halt on the road at about 5:15 p.m., and moved very little after that. She did a phone interview with NBC Washington at the 10-hour mark of her drive home.
"People have begun to abandon their vehicles," she said. "When you finally do get some movement, you're driving around them, or around people who ran out of gas."
She said some people began walking out of frustration, while others decided to sleep in their vehicles.
"It's surreal," she said.
Heard said she believes Park Police were trying to do their best, but there was very little communication.
"Even the first five or six hours, the news outlets haven't been reporting on the G-W Parkway. That only added to the frustration," she said. "We feel like the folks of Whoville -- we're here, we're here. And we weren't really getting any feedback."
At the 10-hour mark of her journey, she made it to the scenic overlook. Her long journey finally ended at 5:30 a.m. That's when she texted NBC Washington to let us know she finally got home.
"People have to realize that Washington is no longer a sleepy little Southern town," Heard said. "I think four-wheel drive is a must for many, because most of the vehicles stranded are not four-wheel drive vehicles."
The westbound lanes of the G-W Parkway were still closed at 7 a.m. between Spout Run and Route 123 because of the snow and a number of abandoned vehicles still on the roadway. That meant if you were trying to get to Virginia from Washington, you were re-routed from the Parkway to Spout Run.
There were still quite a few abandoned vehicles on the Parkway Thursday morning due to the storm, which crippled the road from 4:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.Park Police said nearly 100 vehicles were abandoned on the Parkway overnight. The vehicles will be towed to the parking areas of the scenic overlooks on the Parkway. Owners can go to the scenic overlooks after 11 a.m. Thursday to retrieve their cars.
More than 100 cars were abandoned along the Dulles Toll Road and its ramps. Owners have recovered some but Airports Authority police are now starting to tow others, beginning with the outbound lanes, then inbound. Anyone who goes to get their car and finds it gone should call 703-572-2950 to see where police have taken it.
Abandoned vehicles are scattered across the region, including on Interstate 270 in Montgomery County. Those were blocking the far right lane of the roadway in some areas.
One of my CPAC team members was stuck in this and she said it was very scary being out there as there was no control, security or even help due to the gridlock. Having experienced this type of situation while back in CT a few years ago I know the feeling. It is scary, it does shake your faith in other people and its one of those reasons why you need to be prepared. (keep your gas tank filled up, have an emergency kit etc...) You can be 5 miles from your home but for some it might of well been in Los Angeles.What makes it worse is that DC is not a high snow area so when a storm like this hits during a evening rush hour many people simply do not know what to do.
What is worse is that even when people made it home after the multi-hour commute they found they had no power. YIKES!
I sincerely hope this weather does not hit during CPAC.