Hogan's Alley

Monday, February 19, 2007

Half Inch Of Snow Snarls Capitol Of Greatest Nation In The World

As luck would have it, yesterday I drove home to Connecticut from Arlington Virginia. We left about two or more hours after passing snow squalls had dropped between a quarter and half an inch of snow on the area. The streets in Arlington were passable. The infamous Beltway, however, was quite another matter.

In the two hours since the snow fell, not a single grain of salt had been laid on the highway. Upon crossing the river north onto the Maryland portion of the highway things became intolerable. The half inch of snow had been compacted by traffic into a slushy mash, with snow remaining between the lanes of traffic. Local drivers, unused to driving in snow went into panic mode and the road slowed to a crawl. It took us one and a quarter hours to travel the 15 - 18 miles between Arlington and I95. Nowhere was there evidence of salt.

We did observe three salt spreaders on the opposite side of the road. Behind them traffic seemed to be racing along. When we finally reached I95, in the space of one mile, the blacktop went from icy, to wet, to bone dry. And thus it was all the way north. The application of salt had easily melted the snow and the movement of the traffic at 65 mph had dried the road quickly.

I have heard tales of DC becoming snowbound in two inches of snow, schools, government offices closing, etc. Having experienced a taste of it now first hand, I can't understand how local citizens tolerate in year in, year out. It has even become a joke. "Snow Flake Falls, DC Closes." Sad.

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