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Snowfall creates a picturesque landscape at Mount Vernon, and today the area experienced the largest snowstorm in the last two years. While the estate is closed today due to inclement weather, many Mount Vernon staff members—including vice president of operations & maintenance Joe Sliger and his team—still go to work to keep the estate, its staff, and future visitors safe.
More than two dozen staff members start working at 5 a.m. to clear the snow from more than 6.5 miles of roadways and parking lots, as well as 2.5 miles of sidewalks. These tasks take at least six hours to complete, depending on the amount of snow and the duration of snowfall. Using a truck outfitted with a plow and salt/sand spreader, they start by clearing the staff parking lots and fire lanes to ensure a safe route to and around the historic area for staff and emergency vehicles.
The team then uses snow blowers, snow brushes, and shovels to remove snow along the brick walkways and sidewalks. Many pathways around the Mansion and in the historic area are shoveled by hand. This job is very tough for staff because they out in the cold and can easily get wet from the snow. Although they dress appropriately, they often take breaks to clean off the equipment and warm up inside.
When the estate receives more than 12 inches of snow, the operations and maintenance staff must climb onto the roof of the Mansion and shovel the snow to prevent damage to the structure (unlikely to happen today).
While the estate is closed on Wednesday, March 21, when the snow ceases to fall and the crew completes its work, Mount Vernon will reopen for visitors to see the home of George Washington.