updated 1/27/2011 9:07:49 AM ET 2011-01-27T14:07:49

Heavy snow and icy roads Wednesday night created hazardous conditions for President Barack Obama as he returned to the White House from a trip to Wisconsin.

The wintry weather grounded Marine One, the helicopter that typically transports Obama to and from the military base where Air Force One lands. Instead, a motorcade met Obama at the base, and the line of vehicles spent an hour weaving through rush hour traffic already slowed by the storm.

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It normally takes the president's motorcade about 20 minutes to travel between the base and the White House.

The president cut short his post-State of the Union trip to Manitowoc, Wis., to try to beat the snow. But by the time Air Force One landed in suburban Maryland shortly before 5 p.m., heavy snow was falling and driving conditions had deteriorated.

Video: NBC correspondents snarled by snow (on this page)

Vehicles in the back of Obama's motorcade, including two vans carrying members of the press, became separated from the SUV carrying the president for a short time, though the motorcade reconnected before Obama arrived at the White House.

Law enforcement officers often close off roads where the president may be traveling, but the roads were not cleared for his motorcade Wednesday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Secret Service did not want to divert resources dealing with the storm in other parts of the Washington area.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said everyone in the president's party returned to the White House safely. Commuters on the road were likely less affected by Obama's motorcade than they would have been had officials closed his lengthy route to traffic, he said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: NBC correspondents snarled by snow

  1. Transcript of: NBC correspondents snarled by snow

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: You know, a few of our correspondents in Washington got stuck in the mess, obviously, down in DC. And like any good journalist, they tweeted about it. David Gregory said, "I ditched my car at the studio and jogged home. Traffic on Foxhall and Nebraska Avenue not moving."

    MATT LAUER, co-host: And Andrea Mitchell tweeted, "Tree branches weighed down, heavy snow hanging over our street, had to drive under, really bad, finally made it home. No sign of plows or sand."

    AL ROKER reporting: Hm.

    VIEIRA: And not to be outdone, Brian Williams called in to The Weather Channel and had a little fun at his colleagues' expense.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS reporting: I'm doing what every deeply patriotic American should do during a thunderstorm, watching The Weather Channel . And I can only listen to my colleagues David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell so much. I had the good sense -- I had the good sense to get out of Washington via Amtrak this morning, knowing that when it snows there it resembles the fall of Saigon .


    ROKER: That was a little dramatic.



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