Right now, the radar shows a big mass of rain and snow extending from the DC metro area all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. This is the real deal. The predictions make this look a lot like the Blizzard of 1996, which completely crippled the region. Fun factoid about the '96 storm; the City of Philadelphia banned vehicular travel. Also, the State of New Jersey closed all of their roads, including the Turnpike.
In any case, the Federal government has decided to send workers home in the middle of the storm, which could begin at any time. Projections show 3-5 inches by evening rush, though that could be more. Keep in mind above 6" Metrorail service above ground is impacted, and at 8" is suspended all together. Don't expect Metrorail or Metrobus to be running later this evening.
As is making the rounds on the webz and Twitter, everyone indeed freaked out last night. I heard reports of 2+ hour lines at the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan, and roughly the same at the Safeway. Chaos unfolded outside Whole Foods in Logan Circle as well. For a time the store stopped letting people in; they were afraid they had reached their capacity. Hipsters were left outside screaming "I HAVE NO COFFEE AT HOME." LET ME IN!
Let's be real here for a minute: This is a dangerous storm. Travel will be very difficult and potentially dangerous this evening. Conditions will get bad, and you could get stranded. Stay at home. If you live in the city, especially anywhere near stuff, it will be okay. If you can walk to Whole Foods on a normal day, you'll be able to survive 2-3 days buried in snow. Yes, stores will run out of things. Yes, restocking might not happen until Monday or Tuesday. But the roads will eventually be cleared. You'll live. But be careful out there, no joke.
On a complete random aside, I heard an ad on the radio last night for birdfeed. I could be wrong, but this ad was really long, maybe a 60 sec spot. It was all about how songbirds need a helping hand during the winter. You can be that helping hand by purchasing Scott birdfeed. No, really, the ad was explaining how these birds need you to stand up for them and buy seed or else they will die. I was surprised there wasn't a Sarah McLachlan song playing in the background. I'm a well wisher for birds (in that I don't wish them any specific harm) but c'mon, spending a minute on the radio pitching birdfeed? Take the damn $10 you'd spend on birdfeed and donate it to a food bank or homeless shelter. We should be buying bags of homelessfeed in the dead of winter.
Posted by Dave Stroup at 8:05 AM