No, I'm not going to tell you we are getting more snow, although snow is in the forecast for early next week. Today I thought I'd share the aftermath of the historic snowstorms we've just experienced. Road crews have to truck the snow out of our area, especially in Washington, DC. There is just too much snow to plow to the side of the road and let it melt. It takes time for snow "removal", so the road crews have been doing a yeoman's job with plowing and trucking the snow out of town. That being said, picture this - at best there are 1 to 1-1/2 lanes of road to drive on and it is Friday and the federal government announces there will be a two hour delay in opening, but the government workers will report to work. Private industry workers are probably, in all likelihood, just returning to work as well. So, what happens with this combination of factors? MASSIVE RUSH HOURS in the morning and the evening and thousands of commuters who are very unhappy. Reports from commuters of 2-3 hour drives to/from work. If you don't have the normal lanes available to drive in, thousands of people need to merge into one lane. Then, there are those commuters who need to make a LEFT TURN when there is no turning lane. Consequently, morning rush hour lasts until 2:00 p.m. and evening rush hour went until almost 9:00 p.m.
Guess what? Saturday the 13th was no better and because Valentine's Day is February 14th, you know what that means - the malls were jammed with cars, with far fewer parking spaces to contend for because of the mountains of snow in the mall parking lots. So we now have experienced a rare Saturday rush hour. And it's musical as well, with the sounds of horns honking at every stoplight or as driver's try to merge into mall traffic lanes. And don't forget the conductors of this music - I've seen more than my share of a middle finger gesture today than I have in several decades put together. Our news media is calling this "The Big Dig Out."
I know, people from other parts of the country who are used to getting mass quantities of snow are shaking their heads in amusement at how the people in the Mid-Atlantic states are coping (or not coping) with these weather anomalies. They wonder why our schools are shutdown for a week (although with the lack of sidewalk shoveling I've witnessed near our local elementary and middle schools, I wouldn't want my children walking in the streets to try to get to school). Now state school officials must decide what to do - do they extend the school year, add time at the end of the school day to try to make up for the days already lost, eliminate some school holidays already on the calendar, or declare a special dispensation from the 180 school day requirement? I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.
We will carry on to the best of our ability. In a few months we'll continue to relate our snow stories and maybe even get a chuckle out of this situation we find ourselves in, but we will never forget February 2010 and the power the weather has over each and everyone of us. Note: Someone needs to remind me of this post in the middle of the hot and humid summer we will have in a few short months.
Homeless Bird by Glorian Whelan
6 days ago