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District’s Snow Team Tests Readiness in Dry Run

Friday, November 2, 2012
More than 1000 workers participate in exercise

(Washington, DC) On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, the District’s Snow Team hit the streets today in their annual “Dry Run” exercise in preparation for the upcoming snow season. More than 1,000 employees from the Department of Public Works (DPW), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Department of General Services (DGS) and other agencies are participating in the exercise to re-familiarize them with procedures, routes and equipment.

As the Snow Team prepared to deploy from RFK Stadium, Mayor Vincent C. Gray thanked them for their service on behalf of the District.

“First, let me applaud you face-to-face for a job well done during Hurricane Sandy,” said Mayor Gray. “Little did we know that when we were planning this snow dry run that you would have to go into action just days earlier to respond to the storm. Secondly, let me express my appreciation for your commitment to the snow program. I want you to know that without your efforts, people would not be able to get to work, children would not be able to get to school and commerce would come to a halt.”

About 700 snowplow drivers are driving their routes today, while administrative, supervisory and logistical support team members practice their functions at their sites, including the city’s salt domes.

The Snow Team has 45 new trucks on hand for the 2012-2013 snow season and greater access to additional trucks, bobcats and backhoes if needed. Also, the city’s salt domes are at capacity, which is 36,000 tons.

“We want our residents to know that the District has come a long way in the past two years in our preparation for snow and other emergencies,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew.

“Today’s dry run is just another example of the ongoing thoughtful, inter-agency coordination and planning to ensure that, just as we saw during the recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy, that we are prepared and have the resources available to tackle any weather-related events.”

“In some respects, we’ve already had a dry run. During Sandy, DPW and DDOT applied snow-program protocols for pre-storm, during storm and recovery operations,” said DPW Director William O. Howland Jr. “To ensure we put eyes on every street, the drivers are using the snow zone deployment route system to collect storm debris this week. That in turn gives them added familiarity with their snow routes.”

The District’s budget for snow removal is $6.2 million and the snow program is among the District’s most integrated operations, involving multiple agencies. In addition to DPW and DDOT, the partners include the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice; the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; the Metropolitan Police Department, Fire and Emergency Medical Services; the Departments of Health, Human Services, Parks and Recreation, and Corrections; the Office on Aging; DC Public Schools; DC Water; and the Office of Unified Communications, depending upon the severity of the weather.

“The dry run is when we go public with our snow preparations, but behind the scenes this is a year-round effort,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy. “DDOT and DPW work in close coordination with our partners through the spring, summer and fall to prepare for the next winter and to make adjustments based on lessons learned from past storms.”

Residents are encouraged to go to for updates before, during and after snowstorms, and for tips to get one’s home and family prepared for inclement weather.
They can also sign up at to receive emergency alerts and notifications from Alert DC.