The Big One

The Big One

Every winter, Washington, DC area residents panic over snowflake sightings. Schools cancel classes;  businesses and government let employees work at home or take unscheduled leave. Nine times out of ten, people grumble about disrupted schedules because dire storm predictions do not materialize.

Today, DC is having The Big One.

Here is what Washington’s Howard University looked like this morning:

Howard University 2 March 2009 8AM ABC-7 News WeatherBug Network
ABC7 News Weatherbug Weathercams

Snow accumulations of up to five inches are being reported. Morning temperatures are in the 20s and snow is dry and blowing.

Suburban schools have cancelled classes; DC public schools will open two hours late. US Government offices will also open late, and with so many kids home from school, parents are permitted to take Unscheduled Leave to stay home and care for them.

DC wags claim the federal personnel term “Unscheduled Leave” was changed from “Lberal Leave” during the conservative administration of George W. Bush, but the switch actually happened under Clinton. Use of the older term gives a traditional ring to the name of a kid-care recipe by the Baltimore Sun’s Kate Shatzkin, “Liberal Leave Muffins.”

As always, we have a simple prescription for Washington’s cold weather: the Breakfast of Champions, congee or jook.

Main streets in the District of Columbia are clear, but many residential sidestreets go unplowed as DC employees clear routes for the suburban commuters, none of whom pay local taxes.

The official DC Snow Emergency means there is a 25 prcent surcharge on taxi fares, so cabs line up outside hotels and at Union Station. Bear this in mind: many DC cabbies grew up in the snowless climes of Africa and the Asian Subcontinent and know even  less about winter drivng than the average Washington driver.


Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: