A relatively modest amount of snow is often enough to drive most vehicles from Washington’s streets and roads. Or it can fill the streets with cars that aren’t getting anywhere. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

As evening approached on Friday, anticipation grew in Washington about what was to come on Saturday, as people voiced a range of views on social media on what typically becomes a trending topic of dread here: snow.

The day had been wintry, often gray and windy, with temperatures in the cold 30s. After the month’s early, springlike spell, snow now seemed highly plausible.

Whatever fell could be historic — the first measurable snow of Washington’s new year.

In many Washington precincts, fear often accompanies snowy forecasts. They create images of endless lines of stalled cars. Of slips, falls, closings and numb-fingered shoveling.

But many welcome snow. In Fairfax County, Andrew King brought out the flannel sheets with the snowman images, to encourage flakes. Kids like it, he said, and he himself is “a big fan.”

In Maryland, a tune began to run through the head of Kimberly Leasure: “Let it snow, let it snow.” She said she “just felt the rush and eagerness of wanting to welcome the snow.” Another snow partisan was Jeffrey Bennett, who grew up in Utah, and said “there’s just something magical about falling snow.” Tongue in cheek, someone else claimed on Twitter that the tradition of raiding groceries on the eve of a snowfall was her “favorite local group activity.”

Little is more important than providing a balanced picture of life in the Washington area as the snow inexorably advanced.

But it is important to know the true meaning of things. In one elementary school in Arlington first graders used a drum, according to teacher Amanda Thiel, to help tell the story of someone who seemed particularly suited to this week: “The cold lady who swalled some snow.”

But, as it turns out, Thiel told a reporter, the activity was not prompted by the forecast.

No, Thiel said, “just sticking with a winter theme.”

But this remains a city of politics. In a witty nod to what is often the first step toward candidacy, HuffPost reporter Ariel Edwards-Levy tweeted that the snow “is forming an exploratory committee.”