The big dig-out that will send the snowbound Washington region back to work and school will take several days, and a nuisance snowstorm forecast for Tuesday could keep some suburban areas paralyzed even longer, officials said Saturday.
"Right now, we think it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before people can think about getting to work," said Sean T. Connaughton, Virginia's secretary of transportation. It might be almost as long before power is restored to thousands of homes and businesses after the heavy snow and high winds conspired to topple trees across power lines throughout the region.
Streets impassable even for utility companies' large vehicles amplified the challenge of repairing the damage.
It might be midweek before residential streets in Northern Virginia are plowed clear, and that timetable could be disrupted if there is another snowfall Tuesday.
With the forecast for the week showing high temperatures just a few degrees above freezing, the snow might not melt until after Valentine's Day, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he fears flooding when that happens.
"As these record snows melt in Northern Virginia and the [Shenandoah] valley, there is the risk of flooding," he said, "So, we'll be feeling this impact for quite a while."
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