Northern Virginia Hit By Blizzard of A Tenth Of An Inch Of Snow . . . Schools Close

IMG_1806Ok, I admit that I can be a broken record about snow phobia in Virginia and the inability of drivers to cope with a single flake of the white stuff without creating piles of burning wrecks. However, my four children will be staying home today because of the snow. I had to actually go outside to see it but it is there — a dusting of the stuff but enough to shutdown one of the largest school districts in the country.

I honestly cannot remember school closings in Chicago growing up. I am sure that they happened (though University of Chicago had a reputation for never closing), but they were so few that they were not a big part of growing up. We did not have buses and walked to school regardless of the snow. (Ok, I know that sounds like your annoying parents of how tough life was growing up). More importantly, everyone learned to drive on the snow — a few basic rules like not to slam on the brakes on ice.

Fairfax is shellshocked after it decided not to even delay school recently in the midst of a snow storm with icy road. The kids and parents started a social media frenzy — making #closefcps the most popular hashtag of the day. The problem was not the snow but frantic, non-snow driving Virginia who seemed to rush into their cars to plow into ditches or each other in the annual Hunger Game carnage that is winter driving in McLean. I drove the kids and their friends to school and watched in amazement as a man in a luxury sedan did a 360 spins twice in the middle of the intersection. What was really impressive is that he stayed on his cell phone chatting as he spanned in circles next to my van.

A couple days later the school closed for cold temperatures (no snow). Now, it has closed due to a literal dusting of snow. No wonder this is a region of snow phobics. They are raised where the scene below requires all classes and programs to be cancelled for public safety.


85 thoughts on “Northern Virginia Hit By Blizzard of A Tenth Of An Inch Of Snow . . . Schools Close”

  1. Sorry! My comment to slohrs was supposed to be on the helicopter parent thread.

  2. Thanks Inga.
    When we send our kids off, whether it is to war, work, or school, we always worry they will come home to us in a box instead of bounding in the door with a grin.

    To the point of the original post, it is also every school administrator’s nightmare as well. They don’t want to send any of the kids in their care home in a wheelchair–or a box.

  3. Chuck, I’ve read your memorial for your son before and read it again now. It’s so obvious how much you loved your son in that memorial, it’s exquisitely beautiful and touches my military mother’s heart every time. The year that my daughter was in Afghanistan, I had visions of a uniformed visit, such as the one you and your wife did and so many others have had over the years.

  4. Canon for Vets,
    Just a couple of thoughts on your last comment.

    Nothing is worse than a knock on the door at midnight, and when you turn on the porch light, you see a uniform standing there. Been there. Wrote about it here.

    Regarding the C-182, true dat. Man’s gotta know his limitations. Dirty Harry was right. Some don’t get the memo. Most of them are dead. Fly in icing conditions one time and you become a believer. Provided you survive, that is.

    Affirmative regarding concern for the kids. Our local Director of Schools never took any chances with the kids. He would shut down school in a heartbeat before he put any drivers or kids at risk. We have never had a serious bus accident due to weather. Parents who drive their kids to school often fail to see the big picture of what some of the bus routes look like. Incidentally, our Director is a guy with nothing to prove. To anyone. Former Airborne Ranger and Vietnam vet. Screaming Eagles. Some people do, and some talk about doing.

    The Director is retiring this year. He will be hard to replace on many levels, not the least of which is mature judgment and caring for the kids.

    Leave you guys with a fascinating video.

    This is a Shorts 360 just after it landed at Louisville, KY (SDF) on a flight from Beckley, WV (BKW). Shorts 360 is certified for flight into known icing, but dayum!

  5. The Navy has (had?) a protocol that if an active duty service member was either seriously injured or ill or dead, the primary next of kin was to be notified in person by an active duty officer or senior enlisted. Only in the most unusual situations could this be breached. I was the only active duty Naval Officet..LT.. in ND.

    My first case, a Christmas night , notifying a mother that her son was dying from injuries. out on a farm just south of Canada and just east of the MN ND border. We had blizzard conditions. The road would white out as you passed the oncoming trucks. Rondevouzed with a sheriff via CB and got to the house. Rest is sad. Mother was 7 months pregnant and just divorced and living with her dad.

    Sheriff suggested over nite in little motel. Naw.. there was Christmas dinner to eat,,,,,3 am when returned. “Stupid lieutenant …Trix are for kids”
    Others died on the roads that night. My target fixation cured. I didn’t want my wife and newborn getting the same call.

    About a month later, another call…time to go to central ND. Got going. Blizzard started. Turned back and crawled to Bismark. Followed a very faint shadow of a semi and sensed the crown of the road. Checked in at motel. Called Washington DC and told them sheriff coordinated notification with me and would followup.

    Oh did the %×+÷€£¥₩ hit the fan. I had such pleasure just hanging up…followed by trepidation. My boss ..a Captain backed me tho.

    My point…it all depends on the local folks. Not unusual to do the blizzards of ND and MN. Am not even driving in a skiff of snow in New Orleans.

    OMT…..the next morning in Bismark the Navy sedan wouldn’t start. I had turned it off at the motel. The timing chain had broken……swear to God. I saw the pieces. If I had not made it back, I would have died that night in 25 below and 20-25 knot winds. I still remember the mech’s look when he realized what had happened. I made it through my combat tour on the rivers just to freeze to death so that some regulation got checked off??? The Lt who had died had flown a club Cessna into fog in Calif. Not even a true line of duty death. Sorry I didn’t get to his dad. Happy I made it to my wife.

    So before we chastise weather calls, think of the locals. You don’t drive it, you won’t have the experience and instincts. I have not flown for yrs. Getting back in a C182 ..very powerful and touchy. Had just finished abt 12 hours in a light sport for refam. Instincts are there and principles are the same. But very different.

    Light snow vs blizzard. Both can be dangerous. Blizzard folks …what’s a skiff of snow? Light snow….melt under tires …refreeze. …injuries and death. I HATE light snow and freezing rain.

    Just some ranblings.


  6. Those who can drive on snow are simply targets for those who cannot. – Porkchop.

    So true. When I lived in NC, I drove half way around the block on my way to work. There were so many fender-benders in that short distance that I went the rest of the way around the block and called in for that exact reason. Good day to put a fire in the fireplace and read a good book.

    Where I live, the plows are out as soon as the snow starts and they don’t stop until they have cleaned all the roads after the snow has stopped falling. The plows also come out later to clear any drifts. Over the years most areas that drifted have been modified so they don’t drift but there are still a few areas where the roads get blocked.

    Schools sometimes have a delayed start in order to give the plows a chance. The concern is for the school buses. Snow days are fairly rare.

  7. @ Nick

    Freeway driving is what I learned as a kid growing up in the Bay Area to get my driver’s permit. We cut our teeth on freeway driving. Today I call it urban assault driving, when I have to go there as opposed to my peaceful blissfully uncrowded driving here in the country. I can fall right back into the mode of urban assault driving 🙂 Like riding a bike. You don’t forget.

    You have good drivers and bad drivers, but I do agree that most in California are good on the freeway. We just got back from a trip down to see family and on the freeway……as long as everyone just goes with the flow, at 80 to 85 mph (speed limit…..we don’t need no stinking speed limit) no one driving slow in the fast lane (move over d*ckhead!!!) everyone just motivates along. If everyone signals and LOOKS before merging everything is just peachy. California drivers also LET people merge. There is no point in being a jerk. We were all moving in a nice stream of cars and made great time. Laying down the miles.

    Then you have those jerks who want to pretend they are racing in the Indy 500 and cut people off so they can get one car ahead.

  8. DBQ, As I said, I think Cali drivers are the best in the country. I’m not saying they’re perfect by any means. But, they know how to drive on freeways. They do it constantly. What’s your take living in Cali?

  9. I have been laughing about the guy doing the 360 while remaining on the cell phone since you posted this.
    There’s some badassery there. hahahahaha

  10. Regarding traffic safety and school snow days.

    As a working parent, sudden school snow days were a nightmare. What are you going to do with your small children when the schools close but work goes on? Quit your job? Take your children to work with you? Leave the children home alone? Beg neighbors or friends who may not be working to take your children in? Spend money you don’t have for a suddenly needed babysitter?

    Yes. The safety of the children being transported to school is a consideration of highest importance. But, not everyone has the flexibility or resources to suddenly deal with the scheduled change.

    Re: California drivers who don’t signal. That’s bad, but worse are those who do signal and then just assume that means they can merge or turn without any looking. Clue. Both of our cars cannot occupy the same space on the freeway even IF you did signal.

  11. to the place where the rabble dare not go

    LOL. Went there. Tis a silly place.

  12. Ahhhh, Nick. Always the lover. Never a bad word about anyone or anything. But do I detect some crankiness? Did I hear a discouraging word about his beloved Madison as opposed to those evil urban centers? Alors! Apparently none of us can live up to his unassailable high standards. Time for him to go down and visit the local orphanage and talk to some good people. With luck, Mother Teresa will share a cup of tea and a homily with him.

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