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This is going to be a lot of snow…

December 19, 2009, 2:43 AM

The second snowfall of the year is officially underway, as of around 9 PM Friday night. And here it is:

The snow comes down outside my apartment in the early morning of December 19, 2009.

And it’s still coming down as of this writing. As of now, we are still in the early stages of what is expected to be a record-breaker. Seriously, they’re calling for two feet of snow by the time it’s all said and done. That’s a lot of snow. According to news reports, this is a nor’easter, which I’ve heard described in the past as “hurricanes with snow”. Yikes!

Meanwhile, Metro might actually get a chance to put its snow plan into effect. For those not familiar, when the area gets at least eight inches of snow, Metro reserves the right to make the system look like this:

Metro's snow plan

This plan involves operating Metro only on the underground portions of the system. All the above-ground service would be suspended until Metro has a chance to dig itself out. The plan is probably a sound one, as long as they get themselves dug out quickly. I would just love to see the train destination signs. Of the stations that they’re using as temporary terminals, for the Orange Line, both Ballston and Stadium-Armory have specific destination codes, so they would show up by name on the trains and the PIDS. So does Rosslyn for Blue (Blue would also terminate at Stadium-Armory). Likewise, Red has specific destination codes for Medical Center and Union Station. However, the Green and Yellow terminals to the best of my knowledge don’t have their own destination codes, and so those trains would likely have other destination codes put into the trains (like perhaps their regular codes), and then the trains would be signed “SPECIAL”, with the train operator saying, “Yellow Line to Crystal City”, etc.

Meanwhile, two things strike me as “interesting” about this plan. First of all, note the small Yellow Line service running separately from everything else between the Pentagon and Crystal City. I suppose the Department of Defense has asked Metro to maintain that service because of where DOD has offices and such. Then the other interesting bit about this is the fact that there’s even Blue Line service at all. The Blue Line completely overlaps the Orange Line’s service when in snow mode, so one must wonder why they wouldn’t just run all the east-west trains through downtown as Orange Line trains. That would avoid having to single-track Blue Line trains under the river between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom, or to utilize the above-ground crossover at Arlington Cemetery (which could be under a lot of snow), or to dead-head to Clarendon, turn around, and then dead-head back to Rosslyn (and if you’re going to go that far, why not just go to Ballston?). Metro did the right thing in killing the Yellow Line through downtown for snow service, but why didn’t they also zap Blue? Seems kinda obvious to me, but then again, who am I? Perhaps this will change if Metro gets the chance to actually run its service.

Then lastly, a group is calling for a guerrilla snowball fight in DC at 14th and U Street NW tomorrow at 2 PM. One of my Facebook friends has actually called for people to show up in full black bloc for this event. That would be amusing to see. However, full black bloc, as I learned at Bush’s second inauguration, actually keeps you pretty warm. I’m mixed on whether I’m going to go. First of all, if Metro’s running snow service, forget it, since Glenmont is not part of the snow service (despite being underground due to its physical separation from the main set of tunnels). Secondly, even if Metro’s running normal service, but I can’t get out of my driveway, scratch it. So if Metro’s running normal service and I can get the car the roughly two miles from my house to the Metro, I might go. And if I am able to make it, it sounds like it will be fun. I’ll probably use Duckie so that I don’t ruin my real camera if I accidentally get beaned with a wayward snowball or something. Trust me, once nature claims one of your expensive electronic toys (i.e. Big Mavica), you learn your lesson pretty quickly.

By the way, if anyone ends up going to this in the event I can’t make it, I want to see pictures.

Web site: Capital Weather Gang on the big snowfall

Song: Mr. T sings about treating one's mother right. Holy 80s, Batman...

Quote: Meanwhile, you should have seen what this child (looked about four years old) said about me today. I was walking through the parking garage at work today to get lunch, and the child says to its parent, "Daddy, that man looks fat!" Thank you, young child. I had no idea that I was heavier than I should be. Thank you for informing me of this. Still, kids say the darndest things. And I hope its parent told it that it's not polite to say such things in public.

Categories: Snowpocalypse