Thundersnow and the Nightmare Commute

Last night’s Surprise Snowpocalypse froze traffic in place for upwards of 13 hours.

Check out this visual above for where the traffic accumulated, from Greater Greater Washington, illustrating the divide between urban and suburban commutes.

I wrote at the Examiner:

Check out how the worst congestion — the deep red lines — is in the western and southwestern portion of the District, where the suburbs sprawl the most. In the northeast part of the map, into tighter urban Silver Spring, there’s congestion, but nothing as frightening as that bloodshot sprawl into Virginia.

People abandoned their cars in the midst of their 12-, 13-hour commutes home. Even buses were stopped in the slush, while Metro trains powered (slowly) through:

In the District, at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Albemarle Street NW in Van Ness, buses and cars were tangled in every direction, blocking the intersection for hours. One bus blocked three lanes of Connecticut Avenue for more than two hours. A pair of Metrobus drivers – who declined to identify themselves because they said they were not authorized to speak to reporters – called it the worst travel conditions they have seen in the city during their combined 23 years behind the wheel.

Today buses are crawling along District snow emergency routes, while drivers who abandoned their cars scramble to retrieve them from tow zones. Though there was no snow emergency declared last night, all of greater D.C. jumped to emergency measures.

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services tweeted that their emergency call volume in the twelve hours under snow nearly quadrupled the volume of an average day:

@ 12 hour period (4p-4a) DC F&EMS handled over 700 calls for service – typically in 24 hr we will handle about 450 calls

Drive safely, kids. If you’re lucky enough to rely on your own two feet to commute, be a good neighbor and shovel your sidewalks. Snow is heavy, slippery stuff, and many of your neighbors can’t take care of it themselves. It’s easy to see which neighbors — and which businesses! — have cleared their walks and who hasn’t!

(Photo from Prince of Petworth)