The District snow program integrates multiple DC government agencies to share a single purpose: ensuring the District is safe to navigate after the end of a snow storm and resuming normal government service and business commerce in an efficient, environmentally sustainable and safe manner.
The District Snow Team consists of the Department of Public Works and the Department of Transportation, which are responsible for clearing DC streets of snow and ice. They receive support from District government agencies, including:
- DC Water – Provides plow drivers
- Department of Corrections – Provides personnel to clear snow/ice from pedestrian bridges
- Department of General Services – Clears snow/ice from around municipal buildings
- DC Public Schools – Clears snow/ice from around public schools along with DGS
- Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency – Provides coordinative activities for DC government agencies responding to winter storms
- Department of Parks and Recreation – Provides warming for residents and hypothermia centers for residents who are homeless
- Serve DC – Provides volunteer snow shoveling services to homeowners who are seniors and/or living with a disability
- Metropolitan Police Department and Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department – Provide public safety services
- DC Office on Aging – Provides meals and other services to seniors
- Office on Unified Communication – Provides the link between DC residents and District government agencies through their 311 and 911 call center operations
Mayor Bowser will deploy the District Snow Team several hours in advance of a predicted storm to allow team members to be in place, ready to work, once the storm starts. A deployment is based on credible weather reports. The amount of resources – people, equipment and supplies – deployed will match the predicted intensity of the storm. When the snow team is at its full deployment level, that means more than 800 people, and more than 500 plows (including municipal plows as well as contractors’ plows and rental plows) will be working, divided into 12-hour shifts for the duration.
Plows are assigned simultaneously to residential and commercial streets. The District invested in pick-up trucks (called light plows), equipped with plows and salt spreaders, to allow the smaller residential streets, especially those in hilly areas of the city, to be treated at the same time highways and other commercial street are treated. Once drivers of the 6- and 10-wheel dump trucks seen on major thoroughfares have completed their routes, they will join the light plows on residential streets.