Suburban Virginia, Dec. 19, 2009. Mark Memmott/NPR

A cold cap. (Mark Memmott / NPR)

By Mark Memmott

My apologies to the late Francis Pharcellus Church for borrowing the headline from his famous editorial, but the season and the snow made it seem natural.

As the Associated Press reports, "the eastern U.S. was hit with a frightful wintry storm Saturday that dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas, hampering travelers heading home and likely deterring shoppers on the weekend before Christmas. Forecasts called for up to 20 inches of snow across the region, including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and reaching up to New York. About 16 inches fell west of Charlottesville, Va., the National Weather Service said."

As you can see, it left a nice stocking cap of snow on the blue lawn globe in front of my house here in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The Weather Channel says the storm "will continue to strengthen today and bring dangerous heavy snow and even white-out conditions from the Virginias to Washington, DC to Philadelphia to New York City to Southern New England. A large swath of historic and dangerous December snows of 10 to 15 inches will bury many of the major cities in the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast.

"The heaviest snows are forecast for northern Virginia including Washington, DC to Baltimore and Philadelphia where one to two feet of snow is possible."

The same old advice applies: If you don't have to travel, don't. If you have to shovel, take it slow. Check on your neighbors.

And try to stay warm.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET, Dec. 20: Here's a very short photo/audio slide show I made with some photos I took this morning:

Blizzard of '09; N. Va. on PhotoPeach

(My thanks to Mark Luckie of 10,000 Words for the tip about Photo Peach, the free application I used to create this.)

Update at 7:55 a.m. ET, Dec. 20: Our little cul-de-sac has just been plowed. So it's time to head out for a third shoveling of the driveway. I'll post another photo later.

Meanwhile, on a much more serious note, the AP says that "five deaths appeared to have been caused by the storm system, which stretched from the Carolinas north to New England and also spread into some Midwestern states."

And The Weather Channel reports that:

The historic snowstorm in the Northeast will begin to wind down today and tonight. Heavy snow is possible in Southern New England today, where many areas could see three to six inches of new snow. Southeastern New England, including much of Cape Cod, the islands (Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket), and the Boston metro area should see between four to eight inches. Wind gusts over 40 miles per hour will be common today in Southeastern New England today.

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Like many folks, I've been out shoveling -- and expect to be again later today. By the time I had finished the driveway, another inch or so had already fallen:

Shoveled driveway, Dec. 19, 2009.

Think of shoveling as a full-body workout -- with several reps. (Mark Memmott/NPR)


categories: Weather

8:12 - December 19, 2009