By five o’clock this afternoon the snow lay so deep in Alexandria, Virginia that cars were little more than white mounds stuck, useless by the side of snowbound roads.
Snowplows worked relentlessly and largely futilely as snow fell as fast as the plows could clear it, clinging to every surface, piling up steadily and constantly as the Washington commuter suburb disappeared under the sheer force of Storm Jonas.
The local 7/11 store on Beulah Street remained open for the few hardy – or foolish – enough to brave the elements and attempt to get there but for the most part Alexandria was a ghost town of empty roads and deserted sidewalks.
Street lights came on to illuminate nothing but a deep blanket of white as familiar features of the city landscape disappeared under the snow.
Laura Collins (right) and Shekhar Bhatia (left) are stuck in the winter storm Jonas in Alexandria, Virginia
By the afternoon, Collins shared that cars were little more than white mounds stuck, useless by the side of snowbound roads
Collins wrote: ‘To be caught in this storm is to be cut off from the world – marooned from the normal to and fro of daily life which has simply stopped’
A state of emergency has been declared but the atmosphere in Alexandria is more one of suspended animation than panic (pictured above is Prince William County, Virginia)
Route 1 – the main artery from the capital to Alexandria – is all but impassable and has been since last night when the snow began to fall in earnest turning a 25 minute commute into an hour and a half of treacherous driving.
Visibility dwindled to a quarter of a mile, or less, as the blizzard conditions worsened.
A few intrepid locals could be seen venturing out to experience first hand the worst storm in living memory but to be outside for even a few moments is to be all but overwhelmed by the elements as blinding snow squalls make walking even the shortest of distance a challenge.
Snowball fights were cut short, sled trips abandoned and dogs walked the bare minimum in favor of heading back indoors to warmth and safety.
The shelves of local supermarkets have been cleared of bread, milk, eggs, water and toilet paper – life’s essentials – as shoppers stocked up last night, preparing to hunker down for the duration
A group of students visiting Washington, D.C. from Louisiana help push out a commuter’s car during a major blizzard in the Friendship Heights neighborhood on Saturday
A woman walks on Constitution Avenue covered with snow in Washington, D.C. on Saturday
Workers clear snow near the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Saturday as the city is expected to get more than 30 inches of snow from the winter storm Jonas
To be caught in this storm is to be cut off from the world – marooned from the normal to and fro of daily life which has simply stopped.
Things taken for granted – the easy availability of an Uber or Lyft car, hopping on the Metro for a ten minute ride into the city – have vanished into the snowy skies as drivers heed Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request to keep off the roads.
Any prospect of travelling further afield has had to be jettisoned as nothing is flying in or out of either Washington airport and the trains schedule reads like a catalogue of broken plans with cancellation after cancellation.
A state of emergency has been declared but the atmosphere in Alexandria is more one of suspended animation than panic.
There is simply nothing to be done other than wait for the snow to stop, the storm to pass and the clear up to begin.
Side mirrors are all that is visible of vehicles covered in snow on Jenifer Street in the Friendship Heights neighborhood during the winter storm Jonas in Washington, D.C.
Residents clear sidewalks in front of their houses in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January, 23, 2016
A woman skis near the Capitol Hill in heavy snow in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 23, 2016
Young men run in heavy snow in Washington, D.C. on Saturday as winter storm Jonas kept the snow falling
People take turns to sled down the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
All weekend activities – sports clubs, coffee mornings, musical events – have been cancelled. The shelves of local supermarkets have been cleared of bread, milk, eggs, water and toilet paper – life’s essentials – as shoppers stocked up last night, preparing to hunker down for the duration.
Friends, usually a 20 minute drive apart, have had to resign themselves to cancelled plans as the reality of being snowbound sets in and even the easiest of journeys is transformed into an impossible odyssey.
Residents in even the closest of neighborhoods have found themselves all but cut off from each other – stranded in their houses, watching helpless as the snow just keeps coming.
Everything feels remote, everwhere is rendered too far by the drifts and squalls that whip up in a moment and show no signs of abating.
Ann Bowers-Evangelista (R) and her husband Dave Bowers-Evangelista (L) sled down the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Saturday
A woman skis in the snow January 23, 2016 in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Heavy snow continued to fall in the Mid-Atlantic region causing “life-threatening blizzard conditions” and affecting millions of people
A young boy runs up 42nd Street in the Friendship Heights neighborhood during a major blizzard in Washington, D.C. on Saturday
All weekend activities – sports clubs, coffee mornings, musical events – have been cancelled thanks to Jonas