Sunday, February 7, 2010

Historic Snowfall In Washington, DC

Historic snowfall in the Washington, DC area brought many challenges to public safety personnel. This snowfall began on Friday February 5, 2010 and continued until late Saturday February 6, 2010. Most of the roadways were at times completely impassable because the almost two feet of snow coupled with snow fall rates at times about 4 inches per hour almost overwhelmed the plowing equipment. This snow was also very moist and dense. The weight of the snow brought down hundreds of trees, obstructing many roadways and downing power lines.

The United States Park Police responded with a vast array of resources. Many of the areas we patrol in the Washington area have desolate sections that concern us during such weather conditions because hikers, visitors, and motorists could get stranded making it difficult to locate them. To assure that we keep our community safe, one of our important resources to patrol the deserted areas is aerial surveillance by United States Park Police Aviation.

Clearly these patrols were initially limited by the snowfall and poor visibility, but as soon as Aviation could fly, they made a detailed assessment of the storm’s impact. Some of the patrols were in the downtown Washington, DC area, a flight up the Potomac River to Great Falls, Fort Washington Park, the areas near Mount Vernon, East Potomac Park and Haines Point, and the Potomac River itself. The river patrols allow us to look for anybody who may have become stranded in or near the river and also to assess navigation hazards for the boaters using the Potomac River.

United States Park Police Rescue Technician/Paramedic Sergeant Klebaner (Aviation Section) photographed some of the patrol areas when United States Park Police Helicopter Eagle 1 made these flights on Sunday February 7, 2010.

Please enjoy these photographs as you grasp the impact of this blizzard. Some of the scenes you will see are the Potomac River Gorge and Great Falls, Georgetown in Washington, DC, Washington’s Reagan National Airport, the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the approach to the United States Park Police Aviation hanger in Anacostia Park, United States Park Police Eagle 1 at the hanger, and a beautiful red fox running across the snow on Haines Point.

All of these photographs have the unique vantage point of the United States Park Police Aviation personnel.