Many in Washington region are weary of winter and its never-ending snow

By Annie Gowen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 3, 2010; B01

February -- there is so little to recommend it.

Endless gray skies, gray faces, and gray snowdrifts that never seem to melt entirely. The month has barely started and here it comes -- unwelcome to much of the wind-chapped and crabby populace -- snow on Tuesday and Wednesday and again this weekend.

Will it ever end?

"I've had enough snow to last me a lifetime," said Keisha Mims, 28, a lawyer from Southeast Washington, slogging home during a recent rush hour. She's dreaming of her vacation in April to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. Until then, she said, "I'm going to sit in the house and eat myself into a coma."

Lower temperatures than normal and higher-than-average snowfall -- including an unusual December snowstorm that dumped 16 inches on the region -- have combined to make this winter more severe than most, weather experts said. They expected three to seven inches for Tuesday and Wednesday's snowfall and even more this weekend, a bane to local jurisdictions where snow removal funds are rapidly being depleted.

Even though past Februarys felt dreary, the past six winters have been relatively mild, with below-average snowfall totals, said Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling. In the past three years, the tally at Reagan National Airport has been less than 10 inches a year, far below the average of about 15 inches. This year, the total is 24 inches -- and counting.

That's why this year's unrelenting snow and cold seems to some like, well, an affront.

"I think what's bugging everybody is . . . we've had really cold wind chills. My co-workers and I didn't even want to venture outside for even a short block dealing with the wind," said Stephanie Caucutt, 29, a lawyer from Alexandria.

It must be bad: Caucutt is originally from Wisconsin and, theoretically, should be used to this sort of thing.

And Washingtonians know the region can get snow well into March -- remember the Blizzard of '93? -- so the next six weeks feel a little daunting. Especially if you're already Over It.

"It's at that point where, once you get into February, I'm done," said Lekan Adesioye, 35, a Manassas resident who works at a nonprofit group in the District.

A seasonal calculus emerges: Drive or Metro? Puffy coat or stylish? Snow boots back in the closet? Carwash? (Answer to last two: What's the point?)

"It's been bad this year, 'cause it's so consistent," sighed Hamid Manneh, 30, an administrative assistant from the District.

Amid the gloom, though, there are always glad-sayers ruining the funk for everybody else. (That includes anybody younger than 18, who'll take a snow day any day, even if it means doing makeup days later; the Fairfax County public school system, for example, had used up all its planned snow days by December.)

"There's a serenity to it when you see it falling, a quietness to it," said Tim Ellis, 59, an engineer from Waldorf.

Bonnie Harris, 53, a legal secretary from Fort Washington was out in the chill at the bus stop, her coat buttoned all the way up, planning how she was going to make "snow cream" this weekend. (This is positive thinking!)

"I still remember making it with my parents when I was a little girl," she said. "You take vanilla, canned milk, sugar, fresh snow and put it in a bowl and stir. It's better than real ice cream."

Jason Samenow, the chief meteorologist for The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, said the blog has been buzzing with comments in recent weeks from locals thrilled by the succession of storms. "We had a string of years with below-average snowfalls, so this year Mother Nature has delivered for the snow lovers," he said.

Jean Paul Coves, 24, a program management assistant from the District, isn't one of them. He looked miserable smoking outside his office building, shivering in a stylish-but-not- warm-enough brown Zara coat, contemplating blackened slush in the street. "I'm very sick of snow," he said. But "life goes on, even if it rains, even if it snows. You have to keep it going even when the weather sucks."

Staff writers Michael Laris, Jonathan Mummolo and Derek Kravitz contributed to this report.

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