The Great Blizzard of 2010

This is a bulletin for those of my regulars who know that I live smack-dab in the middle of the mid-Atlantic-coast region of the U.S. that’s just been hit by epic snowfall. We’re OK. It’s dangerous outside and we’re not planning on stirring out of sight of the house until the blizzard is over, but we’re OK.

Yes, it’s bad out there. The mid-Atlantic region is snowed in from central Virginia north to just past not quite to New York City. Over much of that area weather conditions are extremely dangerous and authorities are recommending that nobody try to travel unless it’s an emergency.

It was certainly full blizzard conditions here in southeastern Pennsylvania overnight; snow is roughly 30 inches (76 cm) deep with a lot of blowing and drifting. It’s still falling lightly and might reach the neighborhood of 3 feet (1m) by the time it’s expected to stop, around 1800 tonight.

We’re near an edge of the peak-snowfall zone, about 50 miles north of the worst-hit areas in northern Maryland and the Delmarva peninsula. Washington DC, about 100 miles (roughly 160 km) southwest of us and close to the southern edge of the peak-snowfall zone, also has 30 inches on the ground and still rising. Life-threatening blizzard conditions extend east into most of PA and northern West Virginia, and there’s deep snow reported all the way east into Ohio and Indiana.

For here and pretty much all points north of DC this is the most intense snow since the blizzard of 1978 shut down the northeast seaboard from southern PA north to Boston. For DC it’s all-time record accumulation — which may be timed just right to have a significant impact on U.S. politics. In a recession, and after the AGW fraud scandals that have been breaking continuously since November, carbon-cap legislation was always going to be a tough sell; this blizzard may be timed exactly right to put the last nail in its coffin.

Yay! I know, weather not climate — still, anything that helps keep the AGW fraudsters from recovering their political clout in the U.S. is good news for all of us. Thank you, Gaia.

Our power hasn’t been interrupted, and probably won’t be; if there were going to be downed lines it would have happened last night. Our gas lines are likewise OK, not that a blizzard would be likely to damage those.

So all is well here. Cathy and I had a warm lazy intimate morning, the fridge is full of food, and the cat is fuzzy. I made a ginormous pancakes-and-bacon breakfast for both of us and we’ve been working it off by shoveling our way to the street. When I finish typing I’ll go tackle the huge sill of snow between our sidewalk and the road, and then Cathy has proposed that we reward ourselves with pumpkin pie and hot cocoa. Winter has its compensations.

.

66 thoughts on “The Great Blizzard of 2010

  1. I guess it missed New York by a scalp’s length. There was great gloom and doom talk as late as last evening, and as I left the wife reminded me to pick up some reserves of hooch so I didn’t have to brave the weather today. But barely a flurry fell this morning, from what i could tell.

    Good news, as far as I’m concerned. Giant snowdrifts looks great here for the first few hours, but rather quickly turn into grimy, slippery impassable swamps.

  2. yup there is a lot of snow out there. I’m in the DC area. seems to be a good day to surf then net and do some digital organization…. maybe later I’ll venture out on foot and enjoy the snow a bit. I just wish it would stop snowing… its been snowing for well over 24 hours non-stop.

  3. Hey, it’s even cold here. Okay, okay, cold is a relative term, but the current temperature, 57F feels pretty darned cold to a Floridian, even us transplants. It’s also overcast, which is a bit unusual as we tend to have more sun this time of year than anything else. Overnight lows in 40s. But, hey, at least it’ll be sunny tomorrow. :)

    Trust me though, I feel your pain. I moved down here because I couldn’t stand that kind of weather anymore. Glad to hear everything is okay.

  4. I too live in NYC. We were supposed to have up to 8 inches accumulated by now, but in fact we have none. Which goes to show that AGW is real, and the polar ice caps will melt and flood us all if you don’t replace that incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent RIGHT NOW.

  5. Something similar happened in Central Europe a week ago, although not as radical as the one you experienced, still I spent the last weekend shoveling away 40-45 cm of snow.

    Was it basically one ginormous snowcloud-complex going around the whole freakin’ globe in the course of roughly a week?

    Or was it just simply mum Gaia reminding us all roughly about the same time that the mild winters of the last years / decades are not necessarily to be taken as a promise?

    Glad y’all are OK.

  6. Three feet of snow is “extremely dangerous”? Here we get one of those every couple years. I mean, I’d wager you guys probably own a lot fewer snowplows/blowers/shovels than we do, but still, it’s not really worse, it’s just more.

    Have fun shovelling :P

  7. >Three feet of snow is “extremely dangerous”?

    Sure can be. Depends on where you are, and whether it’s still blizzarding if you have to travel. Cities and dense suburbs are pretty safe because you’re never far from shelter and human help, but back roads in rural and semi-rural areas are another story. Blizzard conditions (e.g., snow combined with strong winds) raise the risk of death from exposure to a degree it’s best not to trifle with.

  8. Thanks, you made me smile :)

    Ok, I understand that when it takes unaccustomed population by surprise, snow can be pretty nasty. But as a person who lives in Suomi (Finland, if you prefer the swedish name), expressions like “extremely dangerous” and “life-threatening” combined to it are somewhat amusing. Personally, I have skied through blizzard in Svalbard (archipelago in arctic sea, belongs to Norway) and “survived” them camping in a tent, quite comfortably in fact, but I recognize this is not something people do on large scale. Still, in Suomi we are quite accustomed to see that kind of weather and at worst it’s seen as an annoyance when there’s more snow accumulation than removal equipment can handle and there starts to be traffic problems. Of course, there’s always a few people who can’t drive and there are mild crashes, but that’s what every winter is like, so who cares.

    Anyway, it’s interesting to see how rest of the world reacts to “crises” we see as part of everyday life. Maybe it’s something similar with Israel and terrorism? They see it so much that they can’t afford to panic, but have to be reasonable about it?

  9. >For DC it’s all-time record accumulation — which may be timed just right to have a significant impact on U.S. politics.

    Another dumb prediction that will not come true.

  10. >Another dumb prediction that will not come true.

    Note: The relatively few people who ESR has banned on this blog were banned because they routinely acted like this (i.e. contentless, insulting trolling).

  11. Anyway, it’s interesting to see how rest of the world reacts to “crises” we see as part of everyday life. Maybe it’s something similar with Israel and terrorism? They see it so much that they can’t afford to panic, but have to be reasonable about it?

    Here in Tampa, it’s thunderstorms. Most people think of tropical cyclones when they think of dangerous weather in Florida, but we get lots more severe thunderstorms in a month than many areas of the U.S. get all year. Many of these have damaging high-speed winds, hail, torrential rains, and lots and lots of cloud-to-ground lightning. Not to mention the tornadoes. People who haven’t been to Tampa in the summertime often are frightened by the severe thunderstorms, but after a while of living here, you’re just like “ah, whatever, I don’t thave time for this,” and slug through it.

  12. Don’t laugh too hard, Ken, you’re getting a foot tomorrow and Monday…

    And to those laughing at three feet being dangerous, I’ll point out that I used to live where two inches would be dangerous, because people there (in Houston, Texas) wouldn’t know how to deal with that much snow. Two inches would be close to a record snowfall there.

    Eric: you have a sidewalk? Is it under that humongous tree?

  13. We’ve already had several feet total over the past couple months. Thankfully, we’re just south of the bad shit this time. I’m grateful for small mercies. I’m out in the wilderness and my back and shoulders are telling me that I’ve shifted enough snow tonnage for one year ;)

    Glad to hear you’re OK…..I was wondering howyou were faring in PA, actually.

    Cosy up and make the most of it!

  14. morgan greywolf Says:
    > Hey, it’s even cold here. Okay, okay, cold is a relative
    > term, but the current temperature, 57F

    I vote Morgan be immediately banned from this blog for making this comment. His lack of sensitivity to the feelings to us non sub tropical people is beyond the pale. And to think I always liked you….

    Hey, Morgan, isn’t that a python crawling through your plumbing?

  15. >Eric: you have a sidewalk? Is it under that humongous tree?

    Yes and partly, yes. It’s clear – a neighbor with a snowblower did it.

  16. >Hey, Morgan, isn’t that a python crawling through your plumbing?

    Which of course begs to be followed with “…or are you just glad to see me?”

  17. Python is very good for crawling through plumbing, though it’s better if the plumbing is made from Python in the first place…

  18. Per strongpoint:

    jeez, ESR, you make it sound almost idyllic.

    As the other person temporarily snowed in here with ESR, allow me to say that I’m finding it somewhat idyllic. Romantic, too. It’s as good as a weekend in the Poconos (closest ski resort area to where we live), but without the traffic and expense. I’ve been looking forward to this all week, and I’m enjoying it mightly. (Except for the muscle I strained while we were shoveling snow, ow!)

  19. Here in the ville we avoided the worst of it.

    Just a couple of inches and the roads are fine. God bless.

    The cat is fuzzy though.

  20. >As the other person temporarily snowed in here with ESR, allow me to say that I’m finding it somewhat idyllic. Romantic, too.

    Eric’s recipe for happiness in blizzard conditions: marry a woman with an attitude like this.

    Bonus points if she’s a redhead who likes wargames. We spent about 90 minutes playing three turns of War Galley and might do another couple turns tonight.

  21. I can only admire Eric’s git-r-done spirit in shoveling this mess. Sitting here in Baltimore County I have yet to venture outside since the snow began. Oh, well, there’s always tomorrow morning.

  22. (Except for the muscle I strained while we were shoveling snow, ow!)

    <impersonation mode=”Jon Lovitz”&rt;Shoveling snow…yeah, that’s the ticket!</impersonation>

  23. “Eric’s recipe for happiness in blizzard conditions: marry a woman with an attitude like this.”

    Works well for happiness in non-blizzard conditions, too, as I’ve discovered in the time since I married what may be the only woman in the Western Hemisphere like that who wasn’t already married to some other guy. :)

    Enjoy the blizzard. Given the amount of driving I have to do in the next couple of days, I’m somewhat grateful that the part of IN that Vanessa and I happen to live in didn’t get almost any of it, but I can nevertheless see the appeal.

  24. For DC it’s all-time record accumulation — which may be timed just right to have a significant impact on U.S. politics. In a recession, and after the AGW fraud scandals that have been breaking continuously since November, carbon-cap legislation was always going to be a tough sell; this blizzard may be timed exactly right to put the last nail in its coffin.

    You might want to reconsider this — do you really want your side to be using invalid evidence to score political points?

  25. Pete, the better question is: “Can you stop them?” No one was able to stop the AGW hysterics from claiming that every warm day is proof of AGW. (I’m being gracious and granting that scientists actually tried to stop them).

  26. I was near Washington in 1978, and the only reason they got dug out in less than two weeks is because of all the farmers who had ridden their tractors to DC for the protest that year – some were still there that winter and were a great help digging out. This time I’m out in Cumberland MD, where we got about 24 inches with only a light breeze. The problem here is that last night was into the single digits, combined with the light melting yesterday afternoon, some of the snow is like concrete this morning.

  27. Bah! Try visiting Chicago or Buffalo; you’ll see what a real snowstorm looks like.

  28. >Note: The relatively few people who ESR has banned on this blog were banned because they routinely acted like this (i.e. contentless, insulting trolling).

    Noted. Note: Eric should quit the blogosphere in embarrassment over the number of times he has posted some right-wing fantasy of his in the guise of a prediction.

  29. A look at IP addresses suggests that “Wowper Duskwood” is “Tony Johnson”. I thought I recognized the abusive, content-free style from somewhere.

    You’re on thin ice, troll. Improve your behavior, or you will be banned. That means no tentacling, and it means actual refutation with facts or logic as opposed to mere spewing of insults. I’m a pretty tolerant guy, but there are limits.

  30. This is my second snowless winter, since moving to Silicon Valley. I miss the quiet and calm of a heavy snow, and the perfect excuse to stay in. Enjoy the special occasion Eric and Cathy! :-)

    If you run out of things to do, I hear that some manner of sporting match will be televised today.

  31. I’m in San Diego and… well, the sky actually rained on us. But now it’s back to being sunny albeit at a mere 60 degrees. OK, enough being a jerk :-)

    Anyway, this reminds me of a great line on the Fake Steve Jobs blog a few years ago: “Yeah, I guess we’d better go do something about global warming before we all fucking freeze to death.”

  32. Nobody gives a shit about the “AGW fraud” outside the circle-jerking blogosphere; the blizzard will not change that. US politics will roll forward on its march of stupidity until the collapse of Western civilisation. Didn’t you guys pass a bill making private health insurance mandatory? Is your shitty country capable of doing anything right?

    ESR says: That’s strike two. Three strikes, you’re out.

  33. @Wowper – FAIL

    To [mis]quote “Bad Santa” : Even my 6 y/o niece flicks me shit better than you!

    I can almost smell the gun oil on ESR’s boomstick…. ;)

    ESR says: I love the smell of gun oil in the morning. It’s the smell of…liberty…

  34. At least “Tony Johnson” was fun in a goofy way. Watching him twist in the wind after every inane, sophomoric pronouncement was grimly fascinating, and anyone broadminded enough to advocate both carbon-forcing climate models and “post-birth” abortions is a quality entertainer in my book. Sure, most of it is probably not worth debating, but sometimes you need to bat around the pinata to remind yourself why real, informed debate even matters.

  35. ESR says: I love the smell of gun oil in the morning. It’s the smell of…liberty…

    F’in A it is

    Limeys like Tony (and associated non-limey ilk) won’t even begin to understand what you mean by that…

  36. >ESR says: I love the smell of gun oil in the morning. It’s the smell of…liberty…

    Fact: the US takes only a few percentage points less in incoming tax as a fraction of GDP than New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Is your rent any lower than mine? No. Is your health insurance any cheaper? No. This latest health care bill could never get passed in Australia, Canada or New Zealand, because these countries are not full of yokels whose biggest concern is not being a “commie” and the freedom to shoot off their guns while masturbating to NASCAR footage.

    >Limeys like Tony (and associated non-limey ilk) won’t even begin to understand what you mean by that…

    Wrong country. Your guns do not shape policy, ergo they have no impact on your liberty or freedom. The government doesn’t care about your right to bear arms, because in the modern world your arms are no threat to them.

  37. >>> Wrong country. Your guns do not shape policy, ergo they have no impact on your liberty or freedom. The government doesn’t care about your right to bear arms, because in the modern world your arms are no threat to them.

    Ah, Tony you simpleton…. how little you understand us.

  38. Your guns do not shape policy

    I think the NRA would take exception to that statement.

    ergo they have no impact on your liberty or freedom

    Wrong again. The right to keep and bear arms ensures my liberty and freedom.

    The government doesn’t care about your right to bear arms, because in the modern world your arms are no threat to them.

    If you think my firearm are no threat, just show up at my door…

  39. @”Tiny” Johnson – ROFLCOPTERS

    You simply don’t have what it takes, kid.

  40. >If you think my firearm are no threat, just show up at my door…

    So, where were your firearms when this moronic health bill (which clearly deprives Americans of liberty) was passed? Americans care no more for genuine freedom than they do for social justice.

  41. What health bill? It got stopped cold by the voters of Massachusetts – one of the most left-wing states in the country!

    As for “social justice”, that’s just a left-wing codeword for “major redistributive change” of the kind Obama bemoaned the absence of.

  42. “Wowper Duskwood” is an ultramoron

    ESR says: Entertainingly, WordPress’s spam filter has spontaneously started classifying the trolls’s postings as spam. I think I shall not attempt to dissuade it.

  43. Please entertain us more – “Tiny” – with your ‘litany of the sheep’….

  44. Let us toy with the dunce for a while, ESR……..it’s only sporting, after all ;)

  45. My take on ESR’s ban policy. If you are:

    stupid = mocked but otherwise ignored
    rude = discouraged but usually tolerated
    boring = BANNED BANNED BANNED

    For some reason I find this very satisfactory.

  46. Wasn’t Eric’s ban policy “don’t fucking waste my time”? Nice rule of thumb…

    Jay:

    What health bill? It got stopped cold by the voters of Massachusetts – one of the most left-wing states in the country!

    Yeah, and here the stupid “mandatory private insurance” thing has been on the books for a couple of years. Your options are to attach yourself to a corporation or pay $400/month for minimal coverage; meanwhile, in literally every other industrialized nation healthcare is free.

    “Wowper” is an asshole but he’s right: The U.S. tax burden is on a par with other countries, but because of our HUGE defense budget and bloated bureaucracies very little of it finds its way into social services…

    As for “social justice”, that’s just a left-wing codeword for “major redistributive change” of the kind Obama bemoaned the absence of.

    You should really check out The Spirit Level

  47. …meanwhile, in literally every other industrialized nation healthcare is free.

    Sounds awesome. We should have free healthcare too! Then we can be just like everyone else and nobody can complain any more.

  48. “The Spirit Level” : Wilkinson is fairly blunt about where government should start. “It has got to limit pay at the top end,” he says. “It’s the rich that got us into this mess and the rich who should get us out of it.”

    What a surprising conclusion for a euro-lefty retread to arrive at!

  49. No, Jeff, healthcare is not free, anywhere. It costs large amounts of real money. That European leftists have succeeded in getting it turned into a government program has merely buried its cost in the even huger morass of government spending. Having governments pay for it does not do a thing for its true cost. All it does is have a bureaucrat decide whether or not an individual is going to be allowed to receive it.

    The government owes me just as much health care as it owes me anything else that falls into the category of “a living”: none at all. The world does not owe me a damned thing.

    As for The Spirit Level, anyone who calls for automatic limits on anyone‘s compensation demonstrates themselves as being driven by jealousy, not serious thought, and thereby disqualifies himself from serious consideration.

  50. > The U.S. tax burden is on a par with other countries,
    > but because of our HUGE defense budget and bloated
    > bureaucracies very little of it finds its way into social services…

    The reason these Euro Utopias do not spend money on their defense budgets is because the Great American Satan *does*. We’ve subsidized their defense since the end of World War II. Of course it hasn’t halep much. The European Union found new and exciting ways to squander their wealth on “HUGE bloated” bureacracies and lifetime entitlements that are quickly going bankrupt. Why do you think Germans elected Merkel and the French elected Sarkozy? These pols ran on explicit platforms to roll back the welfare state, which has been on the brink of collapse or a decade.

    > meanwhile, in literally every other industrialized nation healthcare is free.

    Perhaps everything should be “free.” This is an exciting new economic model! Though I do wonder what inspired the Canadian premier of Newfoundland to flout his countries own laws and abandon his “free” healthcare system’s legendarily lethal wait-lists for heart surgery in the U.S. It puzzles the will.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5h9Wu78oguXFeKRN0EuUC915Scusw

    Perhaps The Bard said it best:
    “The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, puzzles the will
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?”

  51. >The reason these Euro Utopias do not spend money on their defense budgets is because the Great American Satan *does*

    We subsidize their health care heavily, too, though the route is less obvious. They rely on American medical R&D, especially near drugs.

  52. Jeff Read Says:
    > Your options are to attach yourself to a corporation or pay
    > $400/month for minimal coverage;

    From what I know, it costs $400 per month for a family when you buy actual insurance. Most health insurance is a messy mixture of insurance, with a pre-payment plan and an amortized loan on payments, along with a fee for service for managing your healthcare expenses, plus various fees for things that really aren’t health care at all.

    I have argued in the past that healthcare in this country costs probably 5 to 10 times as much as it should due to various interferences from the government. Furthermore, because health insurance companies can’t attach the premium to you (since it is usually attached to your job) they can’t properly distribute your risk over your lifetime. Our healthcare insurance industry is about as free market as our banking system (which is to say, not at all.)

    Once again, here is the bizarre oxymoron of the government healthcare advocates. They argue that they will massively cut the cost of healthcare by taking it under the government’s wing, and thus reducing fraud, inefficiencies and poor management. And one way they will fund it is by reducing the fraud, inefficiencies and poor management of Medicare — the primary example of government healthcare in our country. That makes sense, right?

    “‘…And without faith, I am nothing.’
    ‘Ah yes, but the Babel fish proves you exist, and therefore you don’t!’
    ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,’ and God vanishes in a puff of logic.”.

    > meanwhile, in literally every other industrialized nation healthcare is free.

    And they give you a pony too!

  53. I wonder where all those foreigners will go to buy healthcare when we start giving it away free too?

  54. > I wonder where all those foreigners will go to buy healthcare when we start giving it away free too?

    They’d probably bite the “alternative medicine” line. Britain’s already showing signs of this, and the left loves anything that uses “big pharma” as a centerpiece of rhetoric. But it probably won’t last for too long as Europe has more significant problems coming up than mere welfare issues.

  55. ESR, are you getting ready to get even more snow?

    Here in the ville we (Louisville) we are supposed to get anywhere from 3-6 inches by tomorrow morning. (Groan.)

    Snow is nice and pretty but enough already. I want to go fishing.

    ESR says: More expected here Tusday and Wednesday.

  56. Didn’t Sillycon Valley try that whole “Free” thing from about 1997 to about 2001?

    AKA “The Boom”?

    Western Europe has been riding on the back of the American Taxpayer for a *long* time. Maybe it’s time we should cut them loose?

  57. I used to enjoy the smugness of a northerner when hearing about schools closing and cities shutting down when so much as a dusting of snow hit parts of the south…

    THEN I had the chance to drive in the mountains of western North Carolina… and it was summer, thank the maker. I’d stay home, too, if I had to drive on THOSE roads with even a hint of ice or snow.

    Enjoy the vacation!

    M.

  58. Mike D. wrote:
    >>I used to enjoy the smugness of a northerner when hearing about schools closing and cities shutting down when so much as a dusting of snow hit parts of the south…<<

    I am glad February is almost over. We had lot of snow here in Maryland, too. I am glad today's rain is finally melted off a good bunch of it.

    I am glad folks weathered the storm. The time off gave my spouce/webmaster a chance to catch up on computer stuff.

    Valtteri Kokkoniemi is correct. We are an "unaccustomed population" in reguards to snow in the Mid-Atlantic area of the USA. The state of Maryland is "unaccustomed" and "unbudgeted" for this amount of snow.

    (Personally, I regret that I hadn't bothered to purchace more snow boots this year after tossing my old worn out ones.)

    In my neck of the woods, some folks drive like idiots in ideal conditions and generally get away with it. When they drive like idiots on snowy roads during white out conditions, yes, that is when it is dangerous to go out.

    It is interesting to see how others react to "dangers" which for us are just part of everyday life. I was a kid in FL. In FL you know the sign on the golf course warning that a gator lived in the water trap was not a joke. If you're ball went in there it was better to consideit gone. We lived four blocks from a river. I have very clear memories of the woman who took care of my sister and I shooing gators out of the yard.

    I can't wait till spring gets here.

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