A City of Contradictions: Weather

If you’re looking for an extreme weather climate, you don’t usually go to DC, unless of course you’re interested in experiencing a painfully hot and humid summer.

Snow in DC is rare. It does, without question, snow at least once every winter. But, with the exception of the rare blizzard, it’s usually no more than an inch or two. Coming from Colorado where an average snow storm is about 6 inches deep, I was both pleased and baffled by the winter weather. Pleased because it meant I’d have a limited fear of falling flat on my face after slipping on the ice. Baffled because the city didn’t know how to function when even the smallest amount of snow hit the ground.

There are things that I grew up thinking were common sense about how to deal with snow. For example, spread salt so that the entire surface can melt and be free from ice. For some brilliant reason DC locals decide to spread salt by laying it in a line of small circles. Each circle is about 10 feet from the next, so instead of melting all the snow and ice, you only melt a little circle. But, these common snow knowledge skills are lost on DC.

You can imagine what the “snowmaggedon” must have been like in February 2010. 5 feet of snow is a lot for any city, but 5 feet of snow in a city that doesn’t typically handle snow equals disaster. Never have I seen a city shut down so quickly. It took a week of snow and plowing for the city to emerge from its snowed-in slumber. It goes to show that DC needs its mild weather to function.

I may be use to snow, but nothing compares to the frigid cold of DC in the wintertime. I hear it at least five times a year, when the mercury starts to drop and I make the slightest sign that I’m cold, “but you’re from Colorado.” It may be cold in Colorado, the temperatures may drop below zero dozens of times each winter, but without humidity, Colorado winters seem warm and mild. On an average winter day in DC you can stand outside bundled up in 5 layers and within 15 minutes feel like every bone in your body is frozen. It’s not just cold, but it’s physically painful.  On these cold days, style gets thrown out the window. I would rather be completely mismatched and clashing than lose my ears to frostbite.

I say all this about DC’s winter weather, mostly because on hot humid days you start thinking about how nice it would be for the temperatures to decline a bit. I say this knowing that in six months time I will be wishing for the day I can walk around in short-sleeves and shorts.


Buried: DC Blizzard 2010


Blowing in the Wind: DC Blizzard 2010


You've Got Mail: DC Blizzard 2010


Stomping: DC Blizzard 2010


Not a day for a bike ride: DC Blizzard 2010


Snowed-in: DC Blizzard 2010


Winter Wonderland: DC Blizzard 2010


Down the Lane: DC Blizzard 2010

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