The District’s snow program integrates multiple DC government agencies to ensure the District is safe to navigate after the end of a snowstorm and resume normal government service and commerce in an efficient, environmentally sustainable and safe manner.
The snow operation is a year-round function. Planning for the next season begins in late winter/early spring with an evaluation of the operations during the current snow season, including staff and equipment performance, use of technology, and availability of supplies, e.g., salt, brine and beet juice. Planning culminates with the Dry Run, a dress rehearsal for a major snow event. This season’s Dry Run was held October 23, 2020. District Snow Team members were urged to “break” the systems to find the stress points so they can be corrected before actual events.
- The Department of General Services (DGS), which clears snow/ice from around municipal buildings;
- Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), which provides coordinative activities for DC government agencies responding to winter storms;
- Serve DC, which coordinates volunteer snow shoveling services to homeowners who are seniors and/or living with a disability;
- DC Water and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), which also provide plow drivers to support the Snow Team.
Mayor Bowser will deploy the District Snow Team several hours before a storm starts so team members will be in place, ready to work when snow falls. How many resources – people, equipment and supplies – are involved will match the storm’s predicted intensity. The Snow Team treats highways, commercial streets and residential streets simultaneously.
When the snow team is at its full strength, 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. All team members – plow drivers, front-end loader operators, salt dome monitors, command center staff, administrative staff and technology staff – have been trained in their specialties.
The District Snow Team expects to meet the snow performance measures, Snow Performance Measures [pdf], based on storm severity, for clearing snow/ice. These standards establish the timeframes within which the Snow Team should achieve passable streets based on the amount of accumulated snow or the presence of ice at the end of a storm. Residents are asked for their patience. If their streets still have not been treated or plowed within these performance goals, should call the Mayor's Call Center at 311.