Hampton U. faculty, family of students trapped in D.C. storm

By Alexandria Moreland, Briana Oates and Caelyn Sutton

The snow that paralyzed the Washington, D.C. metro area the night of Wednesday, Jan. 20 missed the Hampton University community, however, a number of faculty and families of students here were touched.

Drew Berry, a professor at the campus' Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, left his home north of Baltimore Thursday morning at 5 a.m. What was usually a four-hour drive, he said, turned into a seven-hour headache. He encountered a number of icy roads and witnessed several car accidents.

"It was a nightmare," said Berry, who intends to stay in the Hampton Roads area until Monday.

The evening before, after snow suddenly hit Washington, D.C., Scripps Howard's Dr. Mavis Carr received a disturbing text from her daughter-in-law, Nicole Eley-Carr, who lives in that area. For her, a productive day at work had quickly turned into a Wednesday night of disaster. Eley-Carr left work, as usual, and proceeded to drive home, but her car stalled on a road approximately 10 minutes from her Accokeek, Maryland home. After restarting her car and attempting to navigate the hilly, winding road home, her vehicle and others began to slide precariously backward down the snow-dusted hill. Eley-Carr then made the decision to park near a CVS and resigned herself to spending the night in a place that at least had food. While perusing the shelves, she recalls that "one of the first smiles" she saw was that of the father of a former student of her mother-in-law Dr. Carr.

As they chatted, he learned that Dr. Carr had taught his daughter at Hampton University a couple of years ago. He was nice enough to go out of his way and drove Eley-Carr home, after his wife arrived in their SUV. When she got home, Eley-Carr and her husband decided to go get some things from the store. Once there, they found the shelves bare. They now are preparing to hunker down for the Thursday night snowstorm.

Wednesday night was referred to as "Carmageddon 2.0," as D.C. snowfall took over the streets. According to Fox5-TV, part of interstates 95, 495 and 270 were jam-packed with cars, and there were numerous Thursday-morning school delays. Virginia State Police responded to nearly 200 traffic accidents and, as reported by Fox5, Fairfax County stated that there had been at least 50 vehicles crashes.

Winter Storm Jonas was projected to pack up to 16 inches of snow, leaving millions of people in the D.C., Baltimore and New York area frantic in anticipation of its arrival. Multiple East Coast states have been under emergency blizzard watches, winter storm watches, winter weather advisories or freezing rain advisories. Baltimore is expected to receive at least two feet or more of snow.

Jamie Miller, lifelong Baltimore resident and grandmother of Scripps Howard student Jasmine Charles, said, "We're a little scared because over the years we've been spared from most of the more disastrous storms, but all the while knowing that something like this would happen sooner or later. So we're just waiting to see what happens."

Phillip Jackson and Jasmin Charles contributed to this report. The writers are students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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