I love Flickr. Here at We Love DC, we all love Flickr. Without your contributions to our pool, the site would be a lot less colorful. But one of my favorite things about Flickr is The Commons, where museums of the world post selections of their historic photography collections. It can be fun sometimes to spend an hour or two lost in a long-ago world, made all the more enlightening because so many of those photos show scenes of our very city: Washington. As we recover from last week’s snowstorm and as we’re currently dealing with another mess of a weather pattern, it seems like the right time to take a look back at how Washingtonians of the past dealt with winter.
We’ve seen fire, and we’ve seen rain. We’ve also seen earthquakes, heat waves, blizzards, floods, and, of course, thundersnow. The DC region has seen more than its fair share of crazy weather this year, leading many people to say that this is the most extreme year of weather on record for DC. But in a town where the summer always feels like the most humid ever, and the winter always seems like the most miserable ever, has this year really been out of the ordinary?
It’s going to be in the sixties and sunny for the next few days, and memories of record snowfall and Metro closures are quickly fading. But I want to take you back a month, to twenty-inch snowfalls and closed federal offices. Every time that we’ve had a massive snowfall in the area over the last 22 years that I’ve been here, someone suggests that Metro should buy equipment to deal with big snow falls. And every time the idea gets shot down with an argument about how we can’t afford to be prepared for once every seven years/decade/lifetime storms.
With each mounting inch of snow, and each dollar that it costs to dig out, I began to doubt that, and I decided to see how much it costs to buy equipment that might help Metro fight the snow. I contacted the friendly folks at the Chicago Transit Authority and asked them about their equipment and what they do to handle the snow.
Metro closes all above ground stations when snow reaches between six and eight inches. They do this to protect the undercarriage of the trains and for fear that trains won’t be able to get power from the electrified third rail. In contrast, CTA has no such predetermined parameters and try and maintain normal service until it is unsafe to do so. Continue reading →
Heading out to the towpath this weekend, I didn’t expect to see it plowed. But I was surprised to see it wasn’t packed down. In some areas, like near Fletcher’s Boathouse, there is plenty of loose snow not suitable for running or biking, and not all that easy for walking, either. (Hint: Snowshoes ROCK.)
The Capital Crescent Trail there doesn’t look much better. Nearer Georgetown, so many large trees are across it that people have blazed a winding path. (See recent reports.) Sure, it’s pretty for a weekend hike, but what about training for that upcoming 10K — or more importantly, biking on it to work? Especially when the roads are a mess?
The WashCycle has plenty to say about the matter. Saturday’s The Ice Storm post talks about why the trails aren’t plowed, then requests that people contact trail managers and ask The Post‘s Dr. Gridlock to address the issue in his chat today at noon.
Paul McCray of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority says in the comments the W&OD trail staff will start clearing snow this week. The upcoming rains also may wash away a lot of it.
Did you hit the trails this weekend? If so, what did you find?
Rising high above the streets of DC, seen here with a height on par with the Capitol Building, is Mount St. Fenty. The monument, in which is carved the sorrow of all District residents, was erected in the early part of 2010 by the District’s Department of Transportation on the orders of the Mayor. While the initial monument was created as part of what should have been the art installation equivalent of a flash mob, on orders of the Mayor, the monument would stand for months to come as testament to the powers of the mother nature.
The ad-hoc architectural construction of Mount St. Fenty is a bold statement in contravention to traditional artforms, favoring chaos and confusion over structure and focus. The confusing form has been the topic of much discussion over the past few days, and the Mayor himself has expressed incredulity at its reception. If the avant garde nature of Mount St. Fenty is its most obvious feature, the Kafkaesque drama that it carries with it as undercurrent is its most long-lasting. The neighborhoods are rife with frustration as the Mount is causing all manner of parking difficulty throughout the city, leaving residents with flat tires, flared tempers and a sharp increase in the alcoholism rate.
Plans to move the monument at this time are quite sketchy, as the Mayor has said that the weather will have to do the job itself, and that city funds are stretched to the limit to move the monument to its final location. The delay, though, will prove to be a campaign issue for the Mayor in this fall’s primaries. Well, should anyone decide to run against Mayor Fenty.
A few days ago, a neighbor started claiming a carefully shoveled parking spot with a giant urn—the message being, “Take this spot, and your ashes go here.”
Now another neighbor has taken the opposite tack, and placed a cute stuffed monkey in a space. What a great idea. I mean come on—who’s going to steal a spot from a smiling stuff animal, most certainly some adorable child’s favorite toy? Can’t you just hear the tiny little sobs of sorrow and disbelief?
Clearly our neighborhood is short on patio furniture and long on creativity. I’ve not found the skull and crossbones or the defenseless kittens blocking a spot yet, but they must be out there somewhere. What creative spot-savers have you seen?
Snow covers trains at Metro's Brentwood Yard (courtesy of WMATA)
Snow. You remember it, surely? Anywhere between two and four feet over the last week. It crippled our roads and sidewalks, and it’s left several small mountains in most of our neighborhoods. I’m sure you aren’t surprised that it also crippled Metro.
The bus system has to rely on local municipalities to clear snow from the roads. Many snow emergency routes were cleared fairly quickly, but the conditions on secondary streets varied wildly, leaving many buses running on altered routes, even today.
The subway system was also hard hit. Above ground service had to be shut down, and only fully came back online on Friday afternoon. By that point, the Federal government had reopened to one of the worst commutes (by car or by rail) that I’ve seen in 22 years here. So what happened and why, and what should Metro be doing differently in a storm? Continue reading →
If you’ve got some extra time this week, grab a shovel and head outside– area governments need help in clearing snow from bus stops and sidewalks. The folks over at Greater Greater Washington organized shovel brigades over the weekend to clear the way for people who walk or take transit (since snow plows often push snow into sidewalks while they’re clearing the roads). The District is encouraging neighborhoods to organize shoveling teams, especially on routes used by school children, and in Alexandria neighborhoods banded together to clear the way to schools.
Okay, people. It says “snow route” on the sign and the radio stations are warning people that there’s a snow emergency in the District. Even our very own lovable Tom Bridge warned us that parking here could lead to some heavy fines. Is $250 worth the cost of a parking space? It is Georgetown and parking is pricey, but for $250 I could park for a month here.
The good news is that these cars do not yet have tickets on them. The bad news is that soon they will. Go move you cars if one of them is yours. With all that saved money, you could buy about ten lunches at any Georgetown restaurant, or maybe about 50 of those fancy cupcakes everyone thinks are the cat’s pajamas.
Here at Where We Live, our focus is on neighborhoods and communities where people live, work, and play. But recently, there’s not been a whole lot of leaving the house, so this week’s feature is focusing on the best places to be snowed in. Sure, this may be the worst winter in history, but if you’re basing your next move on where you’d prefer to be snowed in, here are some ideas.
Best Neighborhood to Drink Away the Storm:Adams Morgan is the place to be if you don’t want to be snowed in your home. With several bars within walking distance staying open during the storm, you’ll be able to drink away your sorrows. On Friday night during Snowmageddon, the streets were empty but the bars were open and offering pretty amazing deals!
The headline of this post sounds like the set up to a joke, and here’s the punch line: You know there’s too much snow when the ski resorts are closed.
Except, in this case, it’s not a joke. Whitetail Ski Resort announced that, due to road conditions, they are closed today:
Roads in our region are snowed in. Therefore to allow road crews to dig out, we will be closed today. However, have no fear, tomorrow is going to be an awesome day on the mountain. During the past 6 days we have received over 4 feet of natural snow.
Maybe you’ll have dug out by tomorrow and be on your way to a ski-filled long weekend. Save us some spiked hot chocolate!
Notice how all that snow is piled on top of this person’s car? Don’t be like that. When you can get out and drive, be sure to clean the snow off your entire car. Two things can result from this type of halfway done snow removal. First, big chunks of ice and snow can fall from your car and into traffic. Annoying, to be sure, and likely to make someone swerve. Maybe not the best reaction, but certainly an understandable one.
Second, if the snow is loose and powdery, it can blow off in traffic and blind other drivers. That’s generally bad too.
On top of this, you will just look like an idiot driving around like that. You are right, it’s not as bad as the even bigger idiots who neglect to clean the snow from all their windows (yes, the back one is important too, people), but still – are people really that lazy? A coworker made the excuse to me that she could not reach the top of her car. I told her she had a size of car to size of body ratio imbalance. If you can’t clean the car off, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive it.
No matter what, my feet are always cold or wet walking around in this snow. Sure, Uggs are nice and toasty, but they’re not waterproof and the slushy snow soaks right through. Rain boots, or wellies, are great because they are a little taller (helping in those 3-foot-deep snow drifts) and waterproof, but they’re not insulated so your feet can get cold.
Has anyone out there found the perfect boots that will keep your feet dry and warm in the snow drifts? Clearly this snow isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so I think it might be time to invest in a new pair.
Today, Time took on a question that might be on many people’s minds. Where is global warming, anyway?
The issue is still out there, but “global warming” doesn’t tell the whole picture. While worldwide temperature averages are rising, “global climate change” and “weather weirding” more accurately describe what will happen.
The global part is spot on. Temperature rises affect air and sea currents throughout the world. They also affect the amount of moisture the air can hold; warmer air locks in more, bringing heavier precipitation.
And if the temperature hovers around freezing, as the Time article explains, here in DC we could get more snow.
Sound complex? It is. That’s why scientists the world over are studying changes in the climate, which is a long-term thing, and another point that confuses folks about the term “global warming.”
As the article so aptly states, “Weather is what will happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and centuries.” Kudos to Time for shedding some light.
Ok, this is just hilarious. I know we’ve been covering a LOT of snow related “news” lately, but sometimes you just find something that demands postage. Half the interwebz have seen our post on the Big DC Condom Shortage of 2010 from earlier and this just fits right in with the lighter side of this #snowdiculous winter.
Want to live on the Hill? Tired of living in a tiny studio apartment in DC because you can’t afford a full 1 bedroom? Always wanted your own doorman to get the door for you when your hands are full of groceries from the local ‘Teeter? Tired of paying extra for wifi? Oh wow have we found the place for you.
Take advantage of the never ending blizzard! This move-in ready apartment is as cool as it gets. (What? There were no puns.) By the way, this would be so much more hip than living in Columbia Heights these days.
This is a picture of the latest suggested transportation method for DC
Logan Johnson, Senior Meteorologist with the National Weather Service, comes through yet again for the readers of We Love DC. The only thing I have to add to this thorough forecast and commentary is this: I am declaring the official #hashtag for this storm (and the whole winter) to be #snowdiculous. You are welcome.
The latest round in the boxing match with Old Man Winter will take the form of yet another powerful snowstorm taking aim on the DC area. In what has quickly gone from a snow lover’s dream winter…to something that now resembles more of a sick cosmic joke…the next storm looks poised to drop snow amounts better measured with yard sticks than rulers.
This latest installment will feature low pressure developing Tuesday near the Gulf of Mexico, and turning northwards. As it does, a new, stronger low pressure will form off the Carolina coast, spreading moisture north into the Mid-Atlantic region, as it interacts with cold air in place to fall in the form of snow.
The National Weather Service has posted Winter Storm Warnings for the DC metro area, and forecasted amounts range from 10 to 20 inches. For a city still digging out from last week’s storm, this will cause further travel difficulties, and as the snow falls heavily again, travel will become difficult or nearly impossible. By now, we know the drill, but staying off the roads and heeding all warnings from local authorities are the way to make it through another large storm.