Yes, you’ve heard about it by now, the Snowmageddon of 2010. 2 back-to-back blizzards leaving Washington, D.C. covered in more snow in 96 hours than they usually get over 4 winters.
Here’s the thing, however: it took over a week to return to a semblance of normalcy. The snow ended last Wednesday afternoon. Even as of today, most two-lane-roads are just one lane, there are no sidewalks (and people are dying because of it), and parking lots are 1/2 to 2/3 clear at most. D.C. had to call in the cavalry.
I guess as a New Englander who’s seen his fair share of ugly winters, I may just have a bit less tolerance, but D.C. has been known to get snow from time to time. And they knew about these storms several days in advance. I think the mets down here are just too scared to put their reputations on the line and say, “Hey, it’s going to snow. A lot.” We used to bitch in CT and Boston when the mets would bust on their forecasts, but it would prepare people for the potential. Here in D.C., it’s always last-minute forecasting, and they’re always very conservative with predicting snowfall totals. Even 24 hours out from the 2/5-2/6 storm (when forecasting big-ass storms is like shooting fish in a barrel), the mets were still saying 6-12 inches over D.C. when most models were setting us in the bulls-eye for liquid precipitation and temperatures were going to guarantee us huge ratios. By early Wednesday I was telling my wife that we were in for nasty weather, and guessed at about 25-30 inches. We ended up with 26. The blizzard of 2/9-2/10 was looking nasty on the models as D.C. was being buried with the first storm. Not as much liquid and not a direct hit, but the potential remained for 12-20 inches. Guess what? Another 14-16 inches. It’s not that big of a deal to be wrong. Over-forecast once in a while. Get people scared, keep them off the streets. Make sure they’re PREPARED for 3+ feet of snow in 4 days instead of telling people there’s going to be a lot of snow after there’s a lot of snow already on the ground.
Whatever, this is hopefully going to be my only winter in D.C. for some time. Saying this, however, I’m certainly not looking forward to the hazy, hot, and humid summer ahead of us. But if it melts the 12-foot-high piles of snow that cramp my style everywhere I go nowadays, I say bring it.