As winter storm Grayson is expected hit parts of the Florida and the Southeast seaboard early Thursday morning, federal agencies along the East Coast are preparing for an impact on Thursday’s commute.
A winter weather advisory covers D.C. and much of eastern Maryland, as well as Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia and more. It lasts 10 p.m. Wednesday until 11 a.m. Thursday, according to Federal News Radio’s sister station, WTOP.
Though WTOP predicts maybe an inch of snow in the region, the cold temperatures that have plagued the area will likely mean that snow will stick on paved surfaces.
The Office of Personnel Management confirmed it will conduct a phone call with the Council of Metropolitan Governments, along with Transportation Department officials, Metro, school districts and other local entities at 3 a.m. on Thursday with a decision no later than 4 a.m.
OPM appears to have made no changes to its dismissals and closures procedures for this year, but the agency reminded federal employees in the Washington metro area of the channels they should visit to check the government’s operating status.
In the event that Thursday’s snowfall causes some disruption inside the Washington Capital Beltway, OPM will determine whether the government opens on time, delays its opening, closes and/or allows federal employees to use unscheduled leave or telework.
“OPM’s operating status announcements are only effective if each employee understands what the announcement means and how to react,” the agency said in its 2016-2017 dismissal and closure guidance for the Washington, D.C. area. “Every OPM announcement should be accompanied by specific agency procedures in continuity of operations plans, written telework agreements and/or collective bargaining agreements, as consistent with law.”‘
Individual Federal Executive Boards will make their own decisions about the impending snow and an operating status for their own regions.
The Philadelphia FEB, for example, said it will hold its call at 4:15 Thursday morning in order to determine an operating status for federal employees in the region.
The Boston FEB is issuing a non-binding advisory to federal offices in Massachusetts to consider closure for Thursday, but agencies ultimately determine their operating status. The Boston FEB is encouraging federal employees to check with their agency’s leadership, in addition to relevant telework protocols.
OPM encouraged federal employees in the Washington metro area to download the OPM Alert mobile app, which lists the current and active operating status and sends push notifications to inform users of any changes.