Police in Arlington, Virginia, said there were "hundreds" of drivers stranded on several roads and reports of hospitalizations for minor injuries.
More than 100 crashes were being investigated in Virginia as snow fell ahead of this weekend's expected major storm. Most involved damage to vehicles only, according to the Virginia State Police.
Most were in the Salem and Fairfax areas, state police said.
When President Obama touched down around 7:15 p.m. at Joint Base Andrews, officials determined that he couldn't take a chopper back to the White House because of bad weather.
It took more than an hour to travel the approximately 13 miles to the White House and the press van that was part of the motorcade slipped and slid.
Less than 2 inches of snow had fallen at the DC Zoo.
"The DC Snow Team is increasing the number of plows spreading salt tonight from more than 50 to 150 in light of the more intense storm that started after dusk," according to a DC Department of Transportation statement. While trucks pre-treated roads earlier in the day, plows will continue to spread salt as long as necessary, the department said.
In Maryland, rescuers were responding to reports of stranded motorists and abandoned vehicles.