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District to Deploy Snow Team, Activate Cold Emergency Plan

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

(WASHINGTON, DC) – With snow and subfreezing temperatures predicted for Thursday, February 9, and a snowfall that may accumulate up to one inch during morning rush hour, the District Snow Team will deploy more than 200 trucks Thursday at 4 am. The Department of General Services (DGS), as part of the Snow Team, will also pretreat sidewalks around DC Public Schools, Department of Parks and Recreation Centers, and Metropolitan Police Department and Fire and Emergency Medical Services properties. Motorists are asked to drive cautiously or take public transportation. Precipitation will start as rain Wednesday night, continuing into early Thursday morning, then turn to snow before morning rush hour. Throughout Thursday, there may be intermittent snow squalls, some very intense, that can continue through 7 pm. Daytime temperatures will be in the 30s, then overnight temperatures will drop to the mid-teens and low 20s.
“It feels like spring today, but tomorrow the Snow Team will be on duty, taking the necessary measures to keep our streets and bridges safe,” said Department of Public Works Director Christopher J. Shorter. “Air and ground temperatures are high, which reduces the possibility of ice forming on the streets Thursday morning. However, we’re preparing for subfreezing temperatures Thursday night into Friday.” 
As a precaution, residential and commercial property owners may want to spread rock salt, deicer, or non-clumping kitty litter on their sidewalks to give pedestrians traction.

In addition, the Department of Human Services (DHS), in collaboration with the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), will activate the city's Cold Emergency Plan on Thursday, February 9 from 7 pm until Friday, January 10 at 7 am. Under a “Cold Emergency Alert” additional services and supports are provided to protect residents from life-threatening illness and injury associated with severe cold weather.

The District activates the Cold Emergency Plan when the temperature and wind chill drop to 15° F or when the temperature, with wind chill, is 20° F and there is an accompanying meteorological event such as snow. DHS, HSEMA, and other agencies have determined that the weather as forecast presents a danger, especially to residents who are experiencing homelessness. 

Key services provided during Cold Emergency Alerts include:

Access to Emergency Shelter—Low-barrier, Hypothermia, and Overflow Emergency Shelters are open during Hypothermia and Cold Alerts.  

Access to Overnight Warming Sites—In order to provide access to a warm and safe facility, designated public buildings, such as recreation centers, may open during the day or overnight. In cases where residents choose not to use the traditional low-barrier or hypothermia emergency shelters, these warming sites offer a warm and safe place to spend the night. Individuals may access these sites on their own or by contacting the Shelter Hotline for transportation. Overnight Warming Sites shall be in operation from 7 pm to 7 am. Some sites may open later than 7 pm based on regularly scheduled business operations.

Transportation to Warmth and Safety—Free transportation to an emergency shelter or warming site is provided to anyone experiencing homelessness in the District during a Cold Emergency Alert.  To request transportation to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness, contact the toll-free Shelter Hotline: (202) 399-7093 or 311. Include the time, the address or location of the sighting, and a description of the person’s appearance. 

Families seeking emergency shelter can also visit the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center at 920 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, Monday - Thursday between 8 am and 4:30 pm. Families can also call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or 311 at any time day or night.

The following are low barrier and alert night emergency shelters and warming site locations:

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Women
-New Covenant Baptist Church: 1301 W Street, SE
-Community of Christ Church: 3526 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
-Sherwood Recreation Center: 640 10th Street, NE
-Nativity Shelter: 6010 Georgia Avenue, NW

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Men
-Banneker Recreation Center: 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW
-Kennedy Recreation Center: 1401 7th Street, NW
-Sacred Heart Church: 16th Street and Park Road, NW
-Salvation Army: 3335 Sherman Avenue, NW
-Community for Creative Non-Violence: 425 2nd Street, NW
-Adams Place Shelter: 2210 Adams Place, NE
-801 East Shelter: 801 Making Life Better Lane, SE
-Raymond Recreation Center: 3725 10th Street, NW

Co-Ed Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters
-Emery Recreation Center: 5801 Georgia Avenue, NW

Low-Barrier Emergency Shelters

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Women
- Harriet Tubman Shelter:  DC General Building 9, 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, SE
- Nativity Shelter: 6010 Georgia Avenue, NW
- Patricia Handy Place for Women: 810 5 Street, NW

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Men
- 801 East Shelter:  801 Making Life Better Lane, SE
- Adams Place Shelter:  2210 Adams Place, NE 
- New York Avenue Shelter:  1355-57 New York Avenue, NE

For more information about DC’s snow program and preparing for winter weather, or to see where District Snow Team plows are working, go to Residents should follow the social media accounts listed below to stay informed about weather conditions and how District services are affected.