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Proud to be Wimps

Dan Stillman @ 12:40 AM

In his Washington Post column last week, Steven Pearlstein -- an admitted New Englander -- accused Washingtonians of being wimps when it comes to snow. I've got to agree with Mr. Pearlstein on several counts:


A northwest flow will keep us cold and windy today. Temperatures this morning should start out in the 25-30 range, with highs only 35-40 both today and tomorrow (our average high is 51). Could see a passing flurry or two this afternoon.

Expect a good amount of clouds today followed by partial clearing this evening. Tonight will be even colder than Tuesday night, with lows 20-25. A bit more sunshine is in store for tomorrow, but a clipper system could bring with it a chance of light snow Friday night into Saturday.
  • School officials need to be slower on the school-closing trigger. Since when did it become the norm to close schools the night *before* a predicted storm? Take it from me -- a meteorologist -- the weather here is too unpredictable to make a decision like that before the first flakes have even fallen.

  • Local TV stations need to tone down the hype, unless it really is the "Storm of the Century." I don't blame this on the meteorologists (although I'm sure many of our readers do). Rather, it's news directors that sensationalize any prediction of snow with live reports from grocery stores and in front of snow plows and salt trucks poised at the ready.

  • Winter weather driving skills leave a lot to be desired around here. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that you can't go 20 miles over the speed limit on streets covered with snow, slush or ice. While we're at it, could we all try and get through one rush hour -- be it snowy, rainy or perfectly dry -- without multiple accidents on the beltway?

Pearlstein is right that Washington needs to toughen up when it comes to snow. But let's not get too brave. There's always been something lovable and charming about the way this region reacts to winter weather. It's fun to freak out when everyone is freaking out together. Of course, it would help if us forecasters were reliable enough that everyone could know for sure whether a storm is worth freaking out about.

Anyway, enough reaction from me. What do you all think? Feel free to comment using the link at the bottom of this post.

Super Sunday, Super Letdowns
If you're anything like me -- a Washington-area weather and sports fanatic -- Sunday
was as good as it gets around here. Along with the excitement of an approaching winter storm, the Terps were taking on North Carolina and the Wizards had a much-anticipated matchup with Sacramento. Unfortunately, all three events ended in disappointment. The Terps lost 83-81. The Wizards lost 110-108. And, well, you know what happened with the snow. Luckily, neither winter nor basketball season is over with yet. One can only dream that weather and sports will converge once again before spring.

Later Today on
Jason will issue his full post-mortem on Monday's storm around 2 p.m. today. He'll assess the accuracy, or lack thereof, of forecasts from and other local meteorologists, and discuss the lessons that can be learned. In the meantime, if you haven't seen it already, check out his editorial response to some angry and bitter comments CapitalWeather received on Monday afternoon when the snow was falling, but still not sticking.

Picture by Scott Mandel, Earlysville, Va.

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