An employee of the French ERDF power distribution company tries to repair power lines cut by heavy snow storms on December 15, 2008 in Loubaresse, central France. Heavy snow and rain storms across southern France killed three people, cut power lines and trapped hundreds in cars and trains and ski lifts. About 100,000 households were without electricity, local authorities and ERDF said. AFP PHOTO THIERRY ZOCCOLAN (Photo credit should read THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Power companies are urging customers to prepare for multiple days without electricity as a brutal winter storm batters the Washington region.
A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the entire Washington area through 5 a.m. Friday and the governors of both Maryland and Virginia have already declared states of emergency.
Federal government offices and school districts across the region will be closed Thursday.
D.C. officials declared a snow emergency at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, meaning vehicles parked on emergency routes will be towed.
Washington could see as much as 9 inches of snow while areas north and west may receive up to 14 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service says some of the heaviest accumulation Wednesday night through Thursday will be in Maryland’s Frederick and Carroll counties. Some residents there endured four days without power after last week’s ice storm.
Potomac Edison says snow isn’t as damaging as ice, but trees and branches damaged last week could be brought down by snow.
Power crews have proactively been called in from out of state to assist in restoration efforts.
“We try to prestige them throughout the service area so that they’re closer to any damage should we experience it,” said BGE spokesperson Rachael Lighty.
In Maryland, officials have identified areas along interstate highways for emergency truck parking. Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday it’s going to be “a nasty, wet, icy event.”
Emergency officials say there should be at least one gallon of water for each person in the house per day.