The Washington Post

D.C. to examine its ‘snow readiness’

Several hundred people gathered at Dupont Circle for a snowball fight as the city dug out from record snowfall in February 2010.

It’s been a few years — and it will probably be a few more — before the D.C. region shakes off the memory of “Snowmaggedon.”

Each year, when agencies put together their snow removal budgets the big question hangs over everybody’s head: Will it happen again? Yes, the 2010 “Snowpocolypse” was hailed as a once-in-100-years event, but you never know. And no one wants to be the bureaucracy caught without a snow plan.

As veteran D.C. area commuters know, nothing messes up traffic like a good snow (or even the threat of snow as people scramble to get home before the first flakes start to hit the ground).

To that end, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), chairwoman of the council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, will hold a public hearing today on the District’s snow readiness plans ahead of the 2013-–2014 winter season.

Those scheduled to testify include: Bill Howland, director, Department of Public Works,  Matt Ross, a meteorologist with The Post and and Christopher Strong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The hearing will take place at 11 a.m. in the Council Chambers, Room 500, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

To refresh your memory: that February 2010 snow brought between 18 and 28 inches of snow to the D.C.-area and effectively shut down the city and surrounding communities. Many households and businesses were without power for days and there were over 4,000 automobile accidents.

As the press release announcing the hearing notes: “Because of the severity of this previous weather event, Council mmember Cheh will be holding this hearing to ensure that the District will be prepared for the possibility of any severe winter weather this season.”

But folks may not have to worry. According to the Capital Weather Gang, Accuweather is predicting below average snowfall for the 2013-2014 season. However, as CWG points out: “In 2010-2011, it predicted near normal snowfall, and D.C. had somewhat below normal snow (10.1″ compared to the 30-year average of 14.5″).”

Ah, it seems only time will tell.



Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.



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Lori Aratani · October 21, 2013

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