Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

I hope all of our readers are safe in their homes today. Driving home from a gig last night I saw all kinds of crazy traffic situations, cars sideways, people stuck, traffic on Veirs Mill was going ten miles an hour and even that was dangerous. I was coming down a long hill and traffic was stopped in front of me, I stepped on the brake pedal and nothing happened, I kept sliding down the hill. The car in front of me got nearer and nearer, luckily I was able to steer into the righthand lane and miss it. And that was when there was less than an inch on the ground.

Looking at the fenceposts it appears we've had about ten inches here. I see people are saying this could be the biggest snowstorm we've ever had in this region. I have not yet seen any snow-plows coming through, and there is almost no one out on the road. From the snugness of a warm house it is beautiful. But if you have to drive in it or even walk you may not appreciate it quite so much. This is a good day to stay home.

The National Weather Service is saying 12-22 inches of snow in Montgomery County. That's a lot. I went out to dig the newspaper out of the yard and it seems to me that the snow on the ground is soft, light powder. A brisk wind could pile up some nontrivial drifts.

The Metro has stopped serving above-ground stations, they say they can't keep the third rail clear. Ride-On buses are going to stop at three o'clock. It always does seem funny to me that public transportation is worst at those times when people need it the most. The trains get delayed even when it rains. You can't drive anywhere, if you can even get into your car -- this will be a day when you hope you don't have anywhere to go.

It's not so bad being indoors. WPFW is playing soul and blues Christmas songs, the dogs are snoozing beside the heater vents, it's not all bad.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Moving this comment up here to a more relevant thread ...

can anyone remember the last time Washington had a snowstorm this huge before winter started?

Yesterday's WaPo had an item about the history of DC's rare snowfalls:

Washington D.C.'s greatest December snowfall on record (since the late 1800s) occurred on December 17, 1932 when 12" fell. This storm has the potential to break that long-standing record. I'd place odds at 50/50.

Here are the record December snows for some other regional reporting stations:

Baltimore: 14.1", December 11-12, 1960
Richmond: 17.2", December 22-23, 1908

Baltimore's record is in play (50/50 chance), though it may be a little tougher for Richmond (20% chance) -- because they'll be flirting with the rain/snow line.

Could this storm make it into the top five on record of all time in D.C. (including all months of the year)? I'd give that a 30% chance.

Here are the top five storms:

January 27-28, 1922 ... 28 inches
February 11-13, 1899 ... 20.5 inches
February 18-19, 1979 ... 18.7 inches
January 6-8, 1996 ... 17.1 inches
February 15-18, 2003 ... 16.7 inches

There are more records of DC's weather here

December 19, 2009 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for doing the research, Aunt Bea

I actually went out this morning to the mall

a foolhardy adventure I wouldn't recommend but the three clerks who helped me because no one else was there said they'd been there since 6am

I think the place would have been closed if it was February

December 19, 2009 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Westfield Wheaton will closed at 4pm on Saturday, December 19th and will re-open on Sunday, December 20th.

December 19, 2009 10:37 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

There are a bundle of really cool and cute snow pictures posted to the Washington Post...the ones of the dogs and other animals are especially cute!

Please be safe, keep warm and make a batch of cookies.

December 19, 2009 11:18 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Thanks, Orin, it is just the day for making cookies, or soup, or cholent, and not a day for going outside. There is a nice slideshow of professional photographs of the storm's effects on The Post's home page but it won't be there for long and I can't find a direct link to it. The Post has a nice feature online, readers can submit their photos. As I write this Saturday night there are 372 pictures HERE. There is also a slideshow HERE but you have to watch an Amway ad to get to it.


December 19, 2009 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what the heck is cholent?

December 20, 2009 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The Google is your friend!


December 20, 2009 9:47 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

Baked the cookies yesterday, will decorate them today. I'll try to post pictures.

We had to close the church, so the pageant is canceled. I'm sorry about it because our middle-schoolers wrote it themselves. For years we've used professionally scripted pageants and I was looking forward to our home-grown one. I sing in the choir and we were given some interesting music; the kids went through the hymnal with an "outside the box" mindset. There's talk of having our Sunday morning service on Tuesday night.

December 20, 2009 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a 4 runner a few months ago and was out picking my daugher up (driving on the beltway) around 4 pm on saturday.

Wow, 4 foot drifts on some of the exit ramps.

Pulled two cars out... everyone was stuck.

not a good day to go out without a 4 wheel drive.

got the 4 runner second hand at a bargain price.... and was extremely glad to have it.

December 21, 2009 2:15 AM  

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