Snow hit the Washington, DC metropolitan area yesterday evening (January 26, 2011). It wasn’t a bad snow, certainly nothing compared to last year’s "Snowmageddon," but the timing was awful: right at the height of rush hour in an area with the worst traffic congestion in the United States even on a perfect day. Predictably, the entire area jackknifed. Gridlock formed on an epic scale. I think people will be talking about this one for years.
I found a lot of related searches in my website logs this morning, the most poignant being "get off gw pkwy during traffic jam."
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I learned this morning that people were trapped on the George Washington Parkway for as much as fourteen hours last night, some until dawn this morning. I can only hope that my random website visitor from Great Falls (an area near the Parkway) accessing my page via "research in motion limited" (in other words, a BlackBerry device) found his or her escape and made it home safely. I’m going to guess it was an all-night adventure.
I followed the various social media in fascination yesterday evening as friends and loved ones updated their Facebook status and Twitter feeds using mobile devices, live from the road. Multi-person conversations pinged from and among those stuck in automobiles with those of us hunkered-down for the duration at home. I saw real world applications of the Six Degrees of Separation principal as Facebook friends-of-friends offered shelter to weary commuters who couldn’t escape past the inner suburbs. I watched events unfold electronically, but unable to do anything about it.
My story? I have none. My employer offered a choice: leave the office at noon and telework the remainder of the day or leave two hours early with no strings attached. I chose the former, worked my normal day, and sat comfortably at home as thunder-snow rocked the neighborhood. Doubtless, one of my better recent decisions.