As noted by the Weather Channel before this immense blizzard hit, the draw of moisture from the Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic gave the output of a meter of snow in Washington, D.C.
Friday, 5 FEB 2010, I was at work as usual in the southern tip of D.C. I took the four hour early dismissal of the federal government a little too literally and waited too long, till the snow was falling more heavily. It took me two hours to make a half-hour commute home. Had I waited a little longer I may have been like those stranded overnight, with vehicles abandoned in the street.
I saw a variety of vehicles abandoned in the snow, including two WMATA buses, large SUVs, taxis, etc. The key approach I took to not get stuck involved
- never stopping if there was an uphill incline (coast very slowly to stop light till it changed green)
- being flexible/creative about travel lanes (there certainly was no one inbound into the city)
- traction control disable
- keep spaced from other traffic to avoid snow drifts
The idea was, no useful snow plowing was able to occur with so many cars on the roads. By taking alternative travel paths, I mostly avoided masses of traffic that could cause an accident. Taking side streets that still had a single passable lane of travel allowed me to bypass traffic such that others with a similar commute took over twice as long to get home. I simply relied on knowledge of streets to take a roundabout path home that didn’t involve sitting on jammed arteries.
Connecticut Ave. NW is six lanes wide, with four lanes going in/out at commuter hours. Only the center two lanes were passable for multiple days, with people walking down the road since the sidewalks even to Dupont Circle were snow to thigh level on Saturday. Snow removal equipment came from as far as Connecticut (state) to help clean. Vehicles parking on streets were vulnerable to damage. I saw the front bumper of a car ripped off by a snow plow.
For the first day, cars were only seen as unrecognizable bumps in a snow street. by Saturday (Feb 6) night, some cars were trying to make it down the street, and I helped push a couple out. On Feb 6 morning, ambulances were unable to make it down the street. National Guard units were assisting in patient transport.
Thankfully I have garage parking, but I didn’t feel comfortable about driving until Monday February 15 (President’s Day) on my street. Finally today, Wednesday February 17th, the federal government is back to full open status, and yesterday Tuesday February 16th is the first day I came back on delayed arrival.
In the meantime, we have had snow sledding parties and I have been able to catch up on some paper reading and writing. Living in an apartment sure has me spoiled vs. the immense amount of shoveling and generator running I would have had to do at my house. On the other hand, coming together as a community was a lot more fun!