Residents throughout Washington's Maryland suburbs coped with the unplowed streets, icy roads and power outages that came with the Valentine's Day snowstorm. Some vignettes:
Their Kingdom for a BatteryPower outages drove those who could get there to Bowie Town Center, one of the few hubs of commerce to remain open Feb. 14. Inside the Safeway, customers bustled up and down the aisles pulling handfuls of batteries off the shelves and stocking up on cold cuts as the lights flickered. Maria Crowe, 40, had driven about 30 miles from her home in Shady Side to get to a doctor's appointment and to pick up supplies. She stopped at the Safeway to buy water for cooking and washing, she said, because the pump for the well that her house draws from had lost power.
"We'll need all we can get, because we've got no showers or running water," Crowe said.
When Xbox and MTV Aren't EnoughAt the Target in Bowie, part of the store was closed off with police tape because of leaks, but the mood was jovial.
Employees said they had opened a bit late but intended to stay until regular closing time, at 10 p.m. Die-hard shoppers were making their way around the store in lighting as dim as that of a romantic restaurant.
Angela Edmonds of Bowie had come to fill a prescription, accompanied by her daughter, Mystee, 17, and son, Emmanuel, 9. The Edmondses' house, in the Governor's Bridge section, had not lost power, but Edmonds said she found it difficult to entertain the children, who were out of school.
Her son had spent the day playing Xbox games while her daughter had watched her favorite celebrities on MTV.
"I cooked and caught up on laundry," Edmonds said. "For lunch, I made grilled cheese sandwiches and lobster bisque."
Edmonds said the lights were flickering when they decided to go to a steakhouse for dinner.
Mittens in Short SupplyAt St. Charles Towne Center, shopkeepers noticed that the largest mall in Southern Maryland was much more crowded than normal Wednesday afternoon. Among the shoppers was Mindy Castern, a teacher, who was making use of the day off to search for extra gloves for her second-graders, who frequently lose theirs.
Despite the wintry scene outdoors, seasonal quirks of retailing had put the season on fast forward indoors. Castern encountered window displays of sunglasses and shorts, causing her to lament that the stores were already prepared for spring.
"It finally snows, and you can't find a pair of gloves anywhere," she said. "My poor kids are going to have cold fingers again tomorrow."
Out on Route 301, fallen tree branches were contributing to a difficult commute and adding to the challenge confronting the construction worker assigned to clear the road. As he fed branches into a large wood chipper, he declared that he wouldn't be off work "until all these things are gone."