D.C. digs out from under record snow fall.
Snow is beautiful and sparkling, light and fluffy, like a cloud falling to the ground. That is, until it really starts to stack up like it did here in Washington, D.C., this weekend.
As residents of the nation’s capital, my family and I are used to managing three inches of snow on the ground. No big deal. Right now, however, 30 inches of snowfall has blocked the roads, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks. This is the largest single storm total in the past 88 years!
Over the last few days, the "Blizzard of 2010" has given me the opportunity to make some fascinating observations about nature—including human nature. Snowstorms can bring out some strange and unexpected behaviors in people. And it started with the pre-storm mania...
The Worst of Times
For example, on Thursday last week, the day before the start of the snow, the supermarkets were jam-packed. There wasn't a single square inch of floorspace in our local grocery story that was not covered by anxious shoppers, struggling to grab what they needed and get out.
As always, there were certain items in high demand: the ever-popular toilet paper, milk, eggs...and oddly, ground beef!
This particular item, which may have been headed for chili pots around the metro area, was being snatched up right and left.
By the time we got to the meat display, only one package remained. My mom was holding it in her hands as a burly man with wild eyes emerged from the mass of people around us. He was clearly contemplating a snatch and run. We were relieved when instead he stalked away, a hungry and frustrated look on his face.
A Challenging Business
The snowstorm made doing everyday things really challenging. For example, Saturday morning my dad and I had to shovel for almost half an hour before we could clear a little spot for our dog, Tess, to do her business. She took one hop into the un-cleared snow and sunk down so deep that only the top of her head poked out!
And the snow kept barreling down. I had to re-dig the path while my dad was off shoveling the back deck. He also had to cut up a tree that had fallen across our driveway.
I will say this for snow: It sure helps build your arm strength. Unfortunately, it also kills your back!
The Best of Times
Although the storm may have brought out some unpleasant qualities in people (the would-be meat snatcher?), I have also seen examples of compassion and generosity.
One of our neighbors owns a snow blower, and has been helping us keep our long drive way clear. We invited neighbors without power to come and stay with us. Yet another neighbor is allowing me to use his computer to post my report since he is the only one around who still has a functioning internet connection.
One last observation about this weekend; most people in my area didn’t get to watch the Super Bowl! As I listened to the radio, I heard how about more and more people were losing power in their houses, and how some might not get power back for days.
Our family lost satellite coverage for our TV, but my Dad’s smart thinking saved the day. He climbed onto the roof of our house and threw one hard-packed snowball at the satellite dish, causing most of the snow to tumble out. We watched the Superbowl!
So what does the future hold for those of us in the D.C. metro area this week? More snow! Four to five inches are predicted for tomorrow. I’ll keep the shovel handy.
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Nick Berray and his dog on the back deck before it was shoveled clear. (Photo Courtesy Nick Berray)