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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowverkill Is What They Are Calling It

Just a quick note from inside the maelstrom that is the Great Blizzard of 2010. We have well over three feet of snow, now, and it's still coming down, although it's hard to say how fast, given 30-40 mile wind gusts. That three feet is a guess, based on what I've seen on teevee and having just cleared snow off the back porch roof at lunchtime. There was at least three feet on that roof.

Which brings up the roof on top of the house. Luckily, we don't have a flat roof. I'm surprised that more of those haven't fallen in, yet, at least we haven't seen much about that on the teevee. Large facilities (skating rinks, warehouses) are probably at most risk, given the size issue. Row houses can't hold that much snow, given how narrow they are. Ours, e.g., is just 18 feet across, and some are even narrower--16 feet is a pretty standard width in some areas. The gambrel-style roof (I think that's the right term; it's kind of a one-sided mansard) means that the front of the house, with the exception of the dormer, doesn't actually hold much snow. (The dormer has a lot of ice, which is a bit worrying.) So far, so good.

The District is almost completely shut down. Metro is running, single-track, underground only. So almost half of the system (the above-ground stations) are closed. No Metro buses. All three jurisdictions (Md, DC, Va) had to suspend plowing during the whiteout conditions. (Seriously--it looked like a Tea Party convention out there!) I haven't seen much traffic--one or two cars going down Mass Ave., every now and then. We have heard a fair number of sirens (mostly fire) throughout the day. Right now I can hear an ambulance (not that close). (Update) They have plowed Mass Ave., but nothing moving out there, in short.

The government is likely closed all week. I can't see how they can reopen without Metro, and Metro can't open until they get the tracks plowed--which they can't do until after this stops. They are saying the winds keep up through most of the night, but that the snow should end just after dark. Maybe things can reopen by Friday.

As long as the roof holds--and if we have problems, it's going to be a serious problem for many, many more people--my big concern is the power. We're lucky that we haven't lost power--lots of folks have been dark since the snow Friday-Saturday of last week. We're close enough to the government buildings that I think we get some priority. The power did go out for a second or two last night, which scared us. Given the wind and the snow, if you lose power at this point, I think that you're just going to be dark for several days. Normally, you'd just load up and go to a hotel. Well, good luck with that today.

My next concern is water. A few water main breaks and the system can go down. We did lose water pressure once yesterday, momentarily. But that, too, seems to have passed.

So, we are hanging in there. I'd be curious to hear from B'more. Stay warm, people. The wind chill is 6 degrees, right now, so no new snow pix until tomorrow.


At 7:53 PM, Blogger fronesis said...

Hey ya'll,

Glad you are still safe and warm. Up here, we had over 30 inches over the weekend, and Baltimore was already shut down before today. All schools were closed on Monday and Tuesday, and those were the good days. Today we got maybe 15 more inches, but the wind was 50mph. It was NOT "blizzard like conditions." It was a blizzard, plain and simple. I grew up at 8000 feet with annual snow fall of over 240 inches, so those are my qualifications in saying that this snow is the real deal.

We have been feeling VERY grateful that we bought a condo. No shoveling, and car parked safely in underground garage. But it's obvious to me that we are very dependent on the electricity staying on. We have no gas service to the building, so we'd lose all cooking ability and all hot water if the electricity went out.

It's now declared some sort of official emergency and they are begging people not to go outside. The two of us of course have our Minnesota parkas and boots, so we took a long walk with our husky dog in the blizzard. I was warm, but the wind was really blowing - 6 foot drifts in the park.

We haven't run out of food yet, and have been reduced to working a lot. Things will definitely be shut down here all week.

Hope everyone stays safe and sound inside.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Number Three said...

We are still getting gusts of great magnitude. The snow is still falling--WTF? They said it would end at 7 pm.

No, not "blizzard-like." No like, nor liking in this one. No likee either.

If it was just me, I would have ventured out today. But I have a 19-month old who loves the snow. If I even tried to leave without her, the shrieks would be deafening. I have the snowshoes at the ready for tomorrow.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger fronesis said...

Looks like sunshine and much less wind this morning, so here's hoping your little snow lover will get some time out in it today!


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