Snow Hits DC 01/21/2012

It's Like Magic

On Friday night around 10 o'clock PM, DC started getting a decent snowfall of very finely grained snowflakes. I was visiting an old neighbor in the Mid-City area and started walking back towards 14th Street, hoping to catch a Circulator or MetroBus up to Columbia Heights. I hadn't picked the right jacket and was a little chilly with my toboggan (it's a hat!) and my light fleece. After waiting a few minutes, I decided to just walk home. Often times, by the time you get to Columbia Heights, the bus you might have taken arrives at the same time.

I often walk that route. But last night was special. The snow quickly accummulated a nice frosting on the sidewalk. If you weren't careful, it was easy to slip. The snowflakes caught the light of the streetlights and sparkled a bit. The small amount of snow deadened some of the harsh sounds of the street. It was a heavy enough snow that some of the streetscape was obscured. I overheard some other pedestrians who had been completely absorbed in a conversation in which the young lady was speculating that some time apart might help her realize how special the young gentleman was. We all reached the corner of Girard and 14th St NW, they both exclaimed that they had lost track of where they were. The snow made it hard to look a block ahead or behind to get their bearings.

When I got home, I stood on my porch for a few minutes. Neighbors were walking on both the sidewalk and in the street. One young lady started singing with her friends, but stopped when she saw me on the porch. I encouraged her to keep singing and she say "I'm singing in the snow!"

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Snow just makes everything better.

Until the next day...

When the snow is following, it definitely creates a magical scene. But once it stops, it can make living in DC a little unpleasant. Wet snow like this, when it gets trampled, turns into rough and slippery ice. We're gonna get some freezing rain tonight that will stack another layer of ice on top of what was created by the snow. Making sure that your stairs and driveways are clear of snow and ice is very important to make sure that you and your family don't slip and get hurt coming and going. If you live in a rowhouse, you should try to take some time to sweep or shovel the sidewalk in front of your house. It's basically a common courtesy to your neighbors that when they walk past your home, they can rely on a clean and tidy sidewalk. Supposedly, there's actually a law on the books that says you should shovel your sidewalk within 24 hours of a snowfall, but no one in the DC government has ever wanted to enforce it. Personally, I think you can't legislate courtesy. Besides, what about the elderly who might not be able to shovel their sidewalks? Back in 2009 when we had Snowmageddon, GreaterGreaterWashington.org and a couple of other blogs talked about some of the sidewalks and corners that are sort of "no man's lands." Our city services and government agencies have a hard enough time keeping up with all of their work on a regular basis. During a snowstorm, they get stretched even thinner. Often times, it falls to neighbors and civic organizations to step up and take care of sidewalks near parks or larger corners. My good friend Alberto Ferruefino, who owns Don Juan's Restaurant, always makes sure that he shovels around his restaurant, but also around the 42 bus stop on the corner of Lamont and Mt. Pleasant Street.

As you can see from the picture above, this wasn't much of a snowstorm. It gave us a taste and reminded us of how winter can be a special time of year. But, more than any other time of year, it's best when we take the time to be a bit more thoughtful of our friends and neighbors to clean up some of the mess Mother Nature leaves behind. Of course, we typically have shovels and ice-melt in stock. We try to carry as much pet-friendly and environmentally friendly stuff we can, but it quickly sells out and if winter is hard it is often tough to get restocked. We hope you'll come to us first for your snow-management supplies (including ice scrapers for your car). If you are interested in buying a snow blower, ask us abouc what we can order for you. We don't often carry them because winters are so mild, but our suppliers carry small electric ones and large gas-powered ones. We'd be happy to order one for you.

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