« Continuity of Operations Planning

‘Snowquester’ brings nation’s capital to a halt

Continuity of operations planning that bans residents from roads might cause some annoyance but it will keep individuals safe.
Continuity of operations planning that bans residents from roads might cause some annoyance but it will keep individuals safe.

After experiencing a devastating blizzard in 2011, Washington D.C. officials decided to not take any chances as the latest winter storm swept toward the East Coast. According to the Associated Press, rush-hour commuters were stranded for hours in their cars two years ago, becoming stuck on highways. To prevent that from happening this time, federal government offices were shut down, while local officials told residents to stay off the roads.

In instances like this, continuity of operations planning is crucial for the safety of residents and emergency responders. When officials are able to learn from past mistakes, they can ensure that a comprehensive recovery plan is created.

The "snowquester," dropped up to two feet of snow in some Mid-Atlantic areas and knocked out power for nearly 250,000 residents and businesses. Even though the storm turned out to be a bit of a bust for Washington D.C. specifically – 10 inches were predicted and just a few snowflakes fell – preparedness is still important.

"They just say that it might snow and the whole city shuts down," Sheri Sable told the news source. Sable added that she was surprised to see her local dog park also closed when she took her pup out for a 7 a.m. stroll.

Other areas were not as lucky, though, with Virginia governor Bob McDonnell declaring a state of emergency. Up to 20 inches of snow fell in western parts of the state, reported the AP, and 50 National Guard soldiers were dispatched to help clear roads. McDonnell also urged residents to stay off the road at an early-afternoon news briefing.

While residents might not always appreciate their city shutting down, a continuity of operations plan will keep many individuals safe and help companies ensure quick business resumption.