Since we’ve now eclipsed the seasonal record, it’s worth noting how unusual it is for DC to get lots of snow in a season, to say nothing about snow storms coming back to back. Let’s look at the history:
We’re now well above that blue star for the 1898-99 season record. As Gabe Klein noted on Kojo yesterday, you can’t budget for those intervening years and then expect to deal with the extraordinary snowfalls.
Likewise, there are physical limits to how fast you can remove snow, and when the snow is accumulating faster than that rate, you’ve got a problem.
City Paper has a survey of ANC commissioners, asking about their street conditions. Gary Thompson has some good perspective on snow removal:
Gary Thompson, of ANC 3G, who lives in the 2800 block of Northampton Street NW: “My own street’s been plowed very well,” he says. “They’ve done an excellent job plowing, especially under the circumstances. There have been a few forgotten streets here or there, like a dead end culdesac,” but the city is catching up. “People are very quick to complain,” he says. “But Mother Nature is what it is. It’s a pretty powerful storm.”
Ben Thomas, not so much:
Ben Thomas, of ANC 7E, who lives in the 1100 block of Chaplin Street SE: A plow came by sometime last night, he reports (the second of two times a plow has made an appearance during D.C.’s three snowstorms this season). “They don’t really do anything but pile the snow against peoples’ cars,” he says. But the street is at least passable. “I saw a car go by a little while ago,” he says.
That’s what plowing does – it moves snow around. And that works pretty well when you get a little snow here and a little snow there. When you get 40 inches in a matter of a few days, there’s only so much you can do within the realm of what’s physically possible.