After the Snow Fell

On December 20, 2009 · 6 Comments

The snow finally halted after an entire day of heavy accumulation so the Washington, DC “Blizzard of 2009” is officially over. Now it’s time to dig out the sidewalk, get the kids over to the sledding hill, and venture into a snowbound neighborhood before the onset of cabin fever. It looks like we’ll have one of those incredibly rare events in the Mid-Atlantic, a White Christmas, assuming it doesn’t all melt away over the next few days.

Sixteen Inches of Snow

We topped out right at about sixteen inches (41 centimeters), which I believe was the same as the "official" measurement at the airport about four miles away. There are drifts reaching much higher that were kicked-up by the ferocious wind yesterday afternoon, but sixteen seems to be the average based on a number of unscientific measurements taken at various points around the yard.

Several of the regular readers of the Twelve Mile Circle live in northern climates and if you’re one of those you’re probably scoffing at this image. For the Washington, DC area, however, this is an amazing total that happens about once every decade or so, and it has never happened in December. Many of the school systems have already thrown in the towel and decided there’s no way the streets will be cleared in time for class on Monday. Sixteen inches is pretty much even for readers in the Great Plains or Canada, isn’t it? Come on. Be honest. 😉

4 Wheel Drive Wasn't Enough

There’s always somebody who thinks that just because he (and it’s always a "he") owns a Four-Wheel Drive SUV that he’s invincible. I found this one abandoned in front of my house this morning. The driver attempted to exit from a partially cleared Snow Emergency Route onto a lightly traveled side street. It’s tough to make much progress when the snowdrifts reach higher than the floorboards. The license plate said Georgia so I guess he’s probably never experienced anything quite like this. Personal experience can be a cruel teacher.

The plows on the larger road piled a good three feet of solidly packed snow behind him. I was just about to write that he’ll be stuck there for a few days but I looked out the window and noticed the police showed up with a tow truck and pulled the vehicle to a safer place. It looks like his lucky day.

Great Hill for Sleading

It’s a beautiful sunny morning and it’s time to head out with the kids. This is the sled hill at the local Middle School about a half a mile away. It’s not the largest hill around but it’s perfect for an eight year old and a four year old to feel like they’re sledding down a ski jump. The walk down here also allowed me to observe that nearly every other street in the county seems to have been plowed except ours. They forgot us again. Darn. I’ve lived this story before and I know what it means for me.

The Snow Finally Clears from the Street

We weren’t going to let ourselves get trapped for three days like the last time they forgot us in the big snow of 2003. Six of us who live along the street all got together this afternoon and dug it out by hand before the snow had a chance to turn to ice. It took us about an hour and a half and I think we did a pretty good job too. Now we’re free!

What a wonderful winter day.

On December 20, 2009 · 6 Comments

6 Responses to “After the Snow Fell”

  1. Craig says:

    Hmmm, I’m wondering if the Georgia driver might not be subject to citation and fines?

    I just got done digging another little trench in front of my apartment building. The walk I cleared this morning is looking nice with negligible icing. Tonight’s part wasn’t too bad, but the snow is starting to melt down and get heavier. I’d hate to go at it tomorrow.

    • I would have thought so, and I really believed he was about to have his car impounded but they just towed it to the side. I guess there were just so many situations all over town that the police couldn’t keep up with them.

  2. Greg says:

    It’s been pretty mild up here in Cleveland (the lake I live 2 blocks from is keeping things warm until it freezes), but the other meteorological shoe is going to drop any time now. I’d love to be over in the DC area for this. To answer your question, a foot and a half of snow here that fell over a weekend probably wouldn’t close schools, but if it were on a weeknight it might well delay it for a couple hours. Where I grew up in NW Ohio, though, we didn’t get lake effect snow, so 1.5 feet would be a bit more eye-catching.

  3. mike says:

    heh heh, ever hear of Lake Effect snow?

    What all the Virginians experienced is what we along the shores of the Great Lakes experience every winter, sometimes daily!

    Last winter saw no less than 14 days similar to what happened in Virginia the other day.

    It doesn’t usually make the national news, nor get covered by the Weather Channel because its an extremely localized weather event. Usually affecting 10-20 miles of land up to 20 miles from the lakeshore.

    The area I’m from, Edinboro, PA, averages 230 inches of snow a year!

    • I think all the folks from northern climates will get a good laugh out of this: OK, so all the snow fell on Saturday… now after three days of snow removal and cleanup the schools in the area have given up and said “see you all next year.” That’s right, they’ve decided that it’s impossible to get the kids to class before the holidays.

  4. Steve says:

    I am, indeed, scoffing.

    (Just looked out the window here at work and yup, it’s snowing again.)

    True, 16 inches means only that I have to get up a little earlier to shovel my driveway to get teh boy to school and me to work on time here, but I’m big enough to understand the difference…

    We budget for plowing and salting and stuff and I pay town taxes through the nose to have clear roads at the crack of dawn. VA doesn’t budget for that or have the means to do it. obviously, that’s a huge difference.

    I was in Wilmington, DE over Xmas and couldn’t believe at how horrible the streets in the city were, several days after THE BLIZZARD OF 2009.

    So I get it.

    What’s fun here is once we get oru first snows, usually around Thanksgiving, the ground is pretty much covered until April.

    What’s not fun is that we have a big dog and trust me, “spring thaw” means something entirely different when your dog has been making deposits outside for 4 months.

    Worst. Sign of Spring. Ever.

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