By the time you read this. there is a very good chance Washington D.C., the Swamp, Disney Land On the Potomac, the place so many love to hate, will have ceased to exist. As in gone. So is this just another Potomac Panic Attack?
Not likely. Not when schools that are already closed announce they are closing even more! Or when people who have been teleworking for months are told they can keep on teleworking until the end.
You may have heard this before, but this time for sure! Pretty sure.
Most likely you will find us, maybe this spring. Buried under yards of snow. Maybe tons, who knows? At any rate, doomed for a long rest. Maybe like Otzi, the Austro-Italian iceman found in the Alps in the 1990s. Or some prehistoric mammal unearthed and defrosted in Siberia. Except in our case, future scientists will be looking at lobbyists, lawyers, civil servants and frozen journalists done in by Mother Nature. Almost since we became the Capital, we have recognized the dangers of what to the less discerning might appear to be a dusting of snow. No, there is something about living here — even for a short time — that gives us special insights. And that is backed up by local weather persons.
We who live inside and around the beltway have known — since we got here — it was just a matter of time. Right after the first World War, the threat was the so-called Spanish flu. During the second World War observers looked for Axis submarines in the Potomac and Tidal Basin. More recently it has been the threat of nuclear war between you-know-who and us. Then, the pandemic showed us what a real threat looks like up close and personal. But for us perched here near the 38th parallel, we’ve always known in our hearts that snow would be our undoing. Since the invention of radio, but especially television, folks in the DMV (the District, Maryland and Virginia) have known that it was only a matter of time before the big one got us. And each time snow is in the forecast, but especially the first time each year, we are setup for an end-of-the-world scenario that folks in Fargo, Bangor, Cleveland or Pittsburgh wouldn’t recognize.
Although most of our local weather forecasters are from someplace else — places like Gila, Arizona or Buffalo where snow is not a big deal — in time they fall into the panic trap. That in turns panics most of us. It happens whether native born or long-time residents. We panic. again. The media reports on our panic. Then after seeing reports of our panic we panic some more. And so it goes. After a few years here you can only watch so many TV clips of salt piles in western Maryland, of snowplows with their engines running in Blue Ridge, Virginia or even people in Delaware buying white bread, milk and toilet paper.
For months, we and the rest of the nation have been preoccupied by the election. Will it be rigged? Then was it rigged? Will he stay or will he go? Is he too old? Will the Russians, Chinese or Iranians meddle? What about the economy? And when will the vaccines be ready? Serious stuff for sure, but not what really scares us. We got our first the-end-is-near warning earlier this week. By Sunday the noose was tightening. On Monday and Tuesday, numerous schools that were already closed announced they would be EVEN MORE closed.
Some forecasters, perhaps those newest to the D.C. area, said that while the snow would be heavy (12 to 16 inches) to the West of the metro area, those of us in and around the beltway might squeak through. Nevertheless supermarkets were swamped again. People who were panic buying toilet paper because of the pandemic earlier in the the year found new reasons to hoard the white gold.
So this may well be it. Goodbye from many or most of us. And we forgive you for all the awful things you’ve said about us over the years. Especially this year.
And if by some miracle we survive this one, don’t gloat. It’s just a matter of time. If you doubt it, check our local weather forecast next time snow heads this way.
Nearly Useless Factoid
By Alazar Moges
Because snow is comprised of 90 to 95 percent trapped air, it means it’s a great insulator. This is the reason many animals burrow deep into the snow during winter in order to hibernate. It’s also the reason that igloos, that use only body heat to warm them, can be 100 degrees warmer inside than outside.
Source: BBC Earth