Feb 10 2010

#Snowpocalypse: The Unreported Story

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Since Friday, we’ve have more than 30 inches of snow in the nation’s capital.  It’s still snowing with blizzard level winds and low visibility. Once again, I’m fascinated by the television reporting.  Why do then rarely report how people spend their days in doors? I know. Working from home, laundry and household chores are boring.

Capitol HillThe federal government and many businesses have been closed for three days and counting.  It’s Wednesday, but feels like Sunday. It’s been winter vacation with intermittent shovel parties. I’ve caught up on some reading. Superbowl Sunday, my husband made a snow beer mountain. Cooking standards and new bistro trials have featured scones, waffles, salmon risotto, oven roasted chili, chicken pot pies and cookies for ice cream sandwiches. We’ve opened some vintage wine. What better special occasion than a record-breaking snow storm?

With Fat Tuesday fast approaching, I’ve already stored up plenty of calories for Lent.  I think I’ll give up being a coach potato.

Other than a brief flicker last night, we’ve had electricity and heat. How did I survive winters in Ohio as a kid without the Internet?  My nieces and nephews are perplexed as well.

Being from the Midwest, I usually shake my head at the DC metro region’s ability to overact to snow.  An inch or two can close schools here. This double whammy snow storm/blizzard, however, would cripple most any city. A shout out to the caller on the Kojo Nnamdi shower earlier today — in the Midwest, your neighbors have 4 wheel drive trucks and snow plows. They will plow your driveway — and the street if needed.

There has been plenty of reporting on the hard work and dedication of first responder personnel (even the bike cops are still on patrol in my neighborhood) and road closures.  As for historical context, there are some archived photos of the January 1922 Knickerbocker storm and video from the Presidents’ Day storm of 2003. (It was a week before the snow/ice melted in the alley, and I could get my car out of the garage).

However, my historical context is the Ohio Blizzard of 1978 a “severe blizzard” dumping nearly 4 feet of snow, producing arctic wind chills, record low barometric pressure and killing 51 people. We lost power at some point over the weekend and had be rescued by the Ohio National Guard. Sustained 40-50 mph winds, gusting to 100 mph, made it impossible for a lithe grade school girl to walk without assistance. We spent several days at my grandmother’s.

We made it home, but I don’t remember how. Memories include 14- foot snow drifts in the street that took days to disappear.  School was back in session, but we couldn’t walk to the end of the street to get the bus. My dad carried groceries through the drifts and lost a bag of oranges.

With snow still falling, if only for a little while longer, it looks like DC will have its snowiest winter ever with 55″ inches of snow since Dec. I look forward to monitoring reports of another once-in-a-lifetime blizzard.