Government closes Friday due to high winds

Government closes Friday due to high winds
© Greg Nash

Intense winds in the Washington area shuttered the federal government and several school districts on Friday as a powerful winter storm pounded the Northeast.

Residents in the Washington region woke up Friday to howling winds, and the National Weather Service (NWS) issued forecasts of gusts of up to 70 miles per hour. 

The Office of Personnel Management, the federal agency charged with overseeing the government's civilian workforce, announced the government closure on its website Friday.


The winds felt in Washington are the result of Winter Storm Riley, a powerful nor'easter working its way through the Northeast and unleashing wet snow, damaging winds and even coastal flooding across parts of the East Coast.

Several school districts in the Washington region also closed, including in Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va. — one of the nation's largest school districts.

The NWS warned that winds in the D.C. area could down trees and power lines and cautioned against "dangerous" travel. The high wind warning will stay in effect until 6 a.m. on Saturday, the agency said.

"This will be a prolonged, high-impact windstorm for the region, with many downed trees and power lines expected," the NWS said in a special weather statement for the region.

"In addition to the magnitude of the high wind gusts, the duration of the winds will add to the hazardous nature of this event, as winds will continue through the weekend before diminishing below 30 mph Sunday afternoon. This will hamper the repair of power lines and tree removal."