The storm hit just before rush hour. It has turned most streets into parking lots and traffic has come to a virtual standstill.
On G.W. Parkway, traffic has been moving a little more rapidly, but drivers were still moving gingerly around 7 p.m. and snow was falling quite hard.
In Alexandria, libraries and recreation centers were closed early and all evening activities run by the city have been canceled.
Despite many people heading home early from work and school, Virginia's Department of Transportation, which is responsible for most of the roads in Northern Virginia, said it is experiencing a rush hour for the record books.
The department's John Morris says things will be easier for the 2,000 agency vehicles and contractors trying to clear snow once rush hour clears out, but that may be a while on area highways.
This really is the first time the department is trying out a new automatic vehicle location system. Almost half of the snow plows on the roads Thursday night are equipped with the devices. That should help VDOT keep track of what's been plowed and what has not.
But it looks like a lot of the plowing will have to take place after rush hour is complete, as the majority of crews are stuck in traffic like everybody else.