Stranded in Washington

The weather in Washington has dominated the news all weekend, but facing entrapment here until Monday, I now realize snow is a bigger cluster fudge here than I thought it would be.

Ok, Ok, a 20-30 inch snowstorm in the DC area is extremely rare, but drop the word storm. It was a snowfall with little wind and the temperature hovering around freezing. A Nor’easter it wasn’t. Much of what fell made driving slushy, but hardly compared to a real Northeast storm.

Georgetown Villanova game goers brave the storm. credit: John Dodge

When it ended late Saturday afternoon, the sun came out and the skies cleared. But the sun is not shining on the area’s three area airports – Reagan, BWI and Dulles. Airlines cancelled their flights well into Monday. How long does it take to plow a runway? I suspect the airlines got their airplanes and crews out of snow ground zero and now has to get then back.

[update 3:18 ET: Actually, the airlines cancel flights en masse so they don’t risk incurring a fine for keeping people inside grounded planes for more than three hours. When this rule when into effect, the airlines promised they’d do this and are making good on their threats. Somehow, they always find a way to annoy their customers.]

So we get home Monday instead of Sunday, but there are problems other than just the airlines (after spending an hour on hold, you still get the pat answer from the Southwest agent in sunny Phoenix…”it’s weather, sir..that’s all I can tell you.”)

The Metro didn’t acquit itself, but not because it closes down when  the snowfall is more than eight inches. The station in Roslyn, Va. has a steep and long up elevator  to get out of the station. It was broken, meaning everyone had to climb 150 steps to get out of the station. 150 steps!  Not a lot compared to the Washington Monument’s 897, but hiking up the latter is optional.

What’s more, the below ground Metro was running in half hour frequencies. My son who we were visiting explained that the problem was employees could not get to work. I think not. The Key Bridge Marriott where we are staying appeared fully staffed throughout the storm.

National Portrait Gallery – closed. credit: John Dodge

Of course, most restaurants and museums were closed today when  the storm was in full force. But the hangover Sunday and Monday is just beginning. Of course, the Georgetown Villanova basketball game at the apex of the storm went off without a hitch and given all the no-shows, our row K/fourth balcony seats turned into eight rows back from courtside.

We do get to watch the SuperBowl tomorrow night with our dear son Chris, his friends and another parental unit whose flight back to Iowa has been pushed out until Monday night.

The news just came on and the verdict is in, it’s the fourth biggest storm ever in Washington and schools are closed indefinitely.

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