Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time to register icepanic.com?

The Post reports:

After a Sunday of snow-clearing, nightfall brought temperatures in the 20s, and by morning wet sidewalks were icy. That sent people tumbling, and many rolled into emergency rooms for X-rays, splints and casts.

"We had a total of 57 X-rays this morning for backs, ankles, hands and wrists," said Ron Harris, a spokesman for Howard University Hospital.

And there were other hazards:

At George Washington University Medical Center...."Today, we have had less than a dozen visits, mostly people complaining of injuries from shoveling."

Monday, December 21, 2009

What? Me Panic?

According to the Washington Post, a roof collapse on a Georgetown home is being partially blamed on the heavy snow atop.

We cannot think of a more valid reason to panic post-snowfall than the weight of snow on our fragile roofs, and have measured the snow on the roof dormers here at SnowPanic.com HQ. The results:

<<< On the sunny side of the roof, only 6 inches of snow remain on the dormer.

On the shady side, however, 11 inches or more have accumulated. >>>

We're certainly hoping that slate roofs can withstand the pressure of however many pounds of snow per square foot that amounts to. We're also wondering how many pounds of pressure that represents. When our resident mathematician gets back to HQ, we'll assign him the task of figuring that out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winning Haiku

Our winning haiku, as chosen by Snowpanic.com's very impressed poetry editor, was sent in by reader Jeanene Burke:

Snowpocalypse here
Panic! No shovel for you
It’s warm in San D.


If anyone wants to turn in further haikus, we will be happy to publish them, even though they are too late for the contest.

And remember, with tomorrow's rush hour, we have further opportunity for tales of panic. If Monday produces any of those (or others emerge from this weekend's wreckage), please send them to jon@snowpanic.com.

Bringing a Gun to a Snowball Fight

The Washington City Paper has more details about the video I re-posted last night from the incident where a cop pulled a gun on people at an impromptu snowball fight.

Apparently Detective Baylor got upset at snowballs being directed at his Hummer, so he got out and brandished his gun. Only when other police officers responded to reports of a man with a gun did he identify himself as a police officer.

Detective Baylor, you may have clinched the title of Snow Panicker of the Storm (though we're still open for nominations). But can you write a mean haiku? E-mail your entry to haiku@snowpanic.com.

Snowpocalypse Haiku Contest

SnowPanic.com is sponsoring its first contest! Write a Haiku with the theme of the Snowpocalypse in the Mid-Atlantic. Those who need to Google "Haiku" might reconsider their entry.

Winners (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, plus honorary mentions) will be selected by the SnowPanic.com selection committee; each will receive a coveted spot in the blog.

Deadline: 9:15 pm on December 20, 2009 . (That's 12 hours, people; it's a 17-syllable poem!) Winners announced sometime after that.

Original works only. Unattributed plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Send your entries to haiku@snowpanic.com.

The Harold Meeker Effect

Retailers this season are scared witless by the loss of one major shopping day this year. From their POV, of course, this is a major catastrophe.

Yesterday was supposed to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but Snowpocalypse 2009 quashed most merchants' hopes. Even the very bravest shoppers were stymied by the piles of snow.

We at snowpanic.com are reminded of a Far Side Cartoon:

Everyone looks at the news from their own perspective. The local news may report about death and destruction from Snowpocalypse, but for the Wall Street Journal, it's: Snowstorm Threatens 'Super Saturday' Sales.

Online poker, however, is on the rise. Gambling911.com reports: East Coast Snow Storm: Good News for Online Poker Rooms.

Lest you think that Snowpocalypse transcends political boundaries, reader comments on news articles around the Interwebs confirm that with the heavy snowfall came conclusive disproof of global warming.

Here at snowpanic.com, we don't view the record snowfall through the lens of Christmas commercialism. Neither do the effects on online gambling or even climate change denial represent our main concern. For us, the Snowpocalypse is about one thing: how can we make money by starting a blog about chionophobia?

Readers Report

A reader from Laurel, Maryland writes in:
As the sun rises above the new snow-topped horizon, I realize a new nightmare begins as the snow ends -- the grisly search for survivors and those not so lucky. Those unfortunate souls trapped in their cars or foolish enough to attempt some "winter fun" in this most serious and record-breaking storm. I am expecting scenes similar to that of "I am Legend" (except with a lot of snow) or "The Stand" (well those were really quite similar weren't they?). Perhaps a trip to Whole Foods first. I will keep my eyes peeled for survivors.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Cop admits to pulling gun at snowball fight"

I think the title of this video says it all. Ah, DC's finest.

Originally spotted at Gotcha Media.

Saving A Spot

Saving A Spot
Originally uploaded by matt house
It wouldn't be a snowstorm in Baltimore if people weren't using chairs to reserve parking spaces.

Is it too late to register mildchillintheairpanic.com?

A reader from Southern California writes:
My son put on a jacket to go outside. He later took it off because he was too warm, but it was a tense 30 minutes.

The End of the Snow is Nigh!

According to several weather services as well as our own eyes, the snow is lifting, shifting, and slowing. In University Park, the snow has stopped completely, proving that when it comes to the snowpocalypse, snow is just the beginning. Of course, it may be too late to save the area's football games, which may be poorly attended.

Metro Snow Panic Updates

The Washington Post has these gems and more.

The agency sent trains to Greenbelt, New Carrollton, Largo, Branch Avenue, Huntington and Vienna after hearing reports of customers stranded in the Fort Totten, Anacostia, Stadium-Armory, Ballston and Pentagon City stations, said Steven Taubenkibel, a Metro spokesman. He said all the trains made it to their destinations except for the one bound for Vienna, which was stopped by the weather and eventually had to be towed back by a diesel-powered piece of equipment. The 10 riders on that train, he said, were eventually driven to their destinations by Metro supervisors.

Before officials shut down bus service Sunday, Taubenkibel said, 17 buses got stuck in snow and 21 were involved in accidents.

Nineteen Inches and Counting


Yardstick provided by Badcock Furniture.
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Ask Dr. Snow Panic, Part Two

Dear Mr. Snow Panic: [That's Dr. Snow Panic to you!]

I am out of licorice. I don't like licorice. Should I have run out to buy some anyway considering I may never have the chance to give licorice a second shot because I may very well be trapped inside my house for many months? Please explain this phenomena.

Sincerely, Irrational in West Virginia

Dear IiWV:

In these times of snowpocalypse, skip the licorice and go straight for the liquor-ish. As you may have run through the liquor cabinet already, substitutes such as cough medicine will do in a pinch, if you can find an appropriate mixer. (I got this idea from the very special episode of Family Ties with Tom Hanks as the alcoholic uncle.) Rubbing alcohol has potential, but it may be hard to make it to the hospital, what with the four feet of snow outside. (I got this idea from Kitty Dukakis.) Although I hate to traffic in stereotypes, as you live in West Virginia, it's unlikely you can travel more than a quarter mile in any direction without bumping into a still. (I got this idea from Snuffy Smith.) Good luck!

Run for your life! No, wait, don't do that either!

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is urging pedestrians to get off the streets during the snow storm.


Shortly after noon, a snow plow collided with a bus. Piringer says nine people suffered minor injuries.

Maryland in Full Snow Panic Mode

Maryland State Police said this afternoon that a trooper who stopped to help motorists is also stranded after a snow plow pushed a load of snow onto them.

Crafty Ways to Pass the Snowpocalypse

If you are considering leaving home to shop, attend parties, or just play chicken with the snowplows, here are some tips to keep you safely indoors.

1. Celebrate Christmas early by opening all the presents. Be sure to save the wrapping! Later, you can re-wrap them for the pagan date.
2. Google all your exes to see how they're spending the snowpocalypse.
3. Time your Menorah candles to see how long they'll burn.
4. Crochet or knit some long johns for the pets in your home. They'll need to go out sometime.
5. Gather all the lint from your dryer and the dust bunnies from under your bed to create a new pet. Proceed with no. 4.
6. Need down to restuff your comforter? Feed the birds uncooked rice. Bonus: time the little guys' implosions.
7. Create your own state-of-emergency slide: Water down the walks, and create vests out of orange construction paper. Use empty Amazon boxes, large silver platters, or broken snow shovels to slide away!
8. Build an igloo by piling snow, throwing water over it, and then digging it out once it's iced. You'll need the extra abode for all your stranded party guests, and igloos stay quite warm when full of people! Just one Menorah candle will light it up!
9. Make paper maché goods-- fruitcakes (which might taste better), gifts for forgotten relatives, temporary pet housing, dioramas of stranded vehicles, life-size snowplows, or anemometers -- using all that extra toilet paper, milk, bread, and eggs.
10. Begin a blog to keep your family apprised of your situation. Be sure to link your email to the blog, so that you can send messages from a web-enabled phone once the power goes out.

Contact us with more suggestions!

Observations from Arizona

A reader in Tucson, Arizona writes:
As a former resident of Maryland, I am following your snowpanic blog with interest. I have memories of many Maryland snowstorms which is probably why I'm writing from Arizona. As I write this, I can hear the birds chirping outside through our open doors, and my husband just returned from playing 18 holes of golf. On the other hand, it sounds like you will probably have a picturesque, snowy Christmas. So we hope everyone stays safe and warm!

Ask Dr. Snow Panic

A reader points out that the name of this feature is more properly titled "Ask Dr. Snow Panic". I didn't spend four years in snow panic graduate school for nothing, you know.

Dear Dr. Snow Panic:

How can I get my husband to stop playing on the Internet long enough to help me with dinner?

Mrs. S.

Dear Mrs. S:

Your husband is probably doing important work, keeping the public apprised of the snowpocalypse currently underway. You should just wait for him to get hungry and wander into the kitchen of his own accord. If that doesn't work, I suggest luring him with beer. Good luck!

Ask Mr. Snow Panic, Take Three

Dear Mr. Snow Panic:

My friend BC [no relation to the comic strip one...] scheduled his party for tonight, and I just spent 2 hours getting to Crofton for it.

My dilemma is: Is there any reason to wait until the official time to start drinking, or can we begin once the tree is up?
I swear it is for medicinal purposes....

Also, is it inappropriate to ask the guests to bring extra milk & toilet paper; so he does not run out?

Friend of Bill

Dear FOB:

If what I have witnessed is any guide, most of your fellow Marylanders did not wait until their two-hour drive finished before...taking their medicine. If you do not wish to wait until the tree is up, by all means begin indulging while loudly giving direction to those who are doing the actual physical labor. As for the milk and toilet paper, the milk can be omitted if you are willing to drink your Bailey's straight. Under no circumstances may the toilet paper be omitted. Good luck!

Ask Mr. Snow Panic, Take Two

Dear Mr. Snow Panic:

I'm thinking of having a big party this evening.

Should I:

a) Pretend to be unconcerned and wonder where everyone is?

b) Check my supply of milk and toilet paper, because I will have more than my normal number of overnight guests?

c) Run a taxi service with my new snow tires so I don't have to shovel out parking places for my guests?


e) All of the above!

A Concerned Citizen

Dear Concerned Citizen:

Perhaps you need to be reminded of the name of this feature. Of course you should PANIC! Note, that this could also include b), especially if you make a desperate attempt to get to the store to procure the milk and toilet paper, and then push others out of your way. Extra points awarded if you abandon your car either on the way there or the way back. You may want to consider rescheduling your party for a later date for those unfortunate enough not to make it tonight. For example, if you were planning a tree-trimming party, you could hold it again in the new year as a tree-untrimming party.

If you find yourself with excess refreshments for tonight's party, Mrs. Snow Panic suggests you walk to the nearest intersection and recruit stranded motorists to join your party. Good luck!

Ask Mr. Snow Panic

We have our first question for Mr. Snow Panic.

Dear Mr. Snow Panic--I have a concern. In all the movies I've ever seen, when people get stuck in a house together by bad weather, somebody goes on a homicidal rage and kills everyone else (the movies seem divided about whether cannibalism is necessarily involved). Anyway, I'm stuck in my house with several other people. How can I tell which person is going to be the killer? Or should I just kill all of the others first to make sure I don't get killed?

Thanks for your help.

Dear Victim #5...I mean, concerned citizen:

If I told you to kill all of the others first, then I would be the killer, and I don't want that on my conscience. Usually in these movies, villains do not reveal themselves until they come for you. The rare exception is if someone in the house is carrying twins, then one of the twins will turn out to be "Chucky". Immediately after their birth, rush them to a Catholic priest to determine which one needs the exorcism. Hopefully you have not done anything to put yourself on the outs with the Catholic church. Good luck!

Sometimes, panic is justified.

Here's a YouTube video of the aftermath of a pedestrian accident in Arlington from 2am last night.

Sometimes it's just better to stay home

Our First Tip

OK, our only tip so far. Send them in to jon@snowpanic.com.

This came in last night from a reader in Clarksville, MD:
We got the snowblower out of the shed and went and got fresh gas for the correct mix to run it. We are ready. It is here. Annie thinks it's fun. I love your site.

Annie is a Dalmatian.

Choose Your Poison

Metro is closing above-ground service at 1pm. Meanwhile, National Airport is closed until 1pm. So you can either take Metro to the airport, or fly somewhere once you get there -- but not both.

Mercedes on Rte. 1


I walked to the Post Office today. (Hey -- if I don't return a Netflix disc today, I don't get Extract on Blu-Ray the day it's realeased.) When I was leaving the Riverdale Post Office, I spotted a Mercedes that had gotten itself stuck on Rte. 1. So remember, when you're buying a car, Mercedes is nice, but consider whether you'll be making a lot of unnecessary trips in the middle of a snowstorm.
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Men, are you wearied just by the idea of shoveling 22 inches of snow? Got a bad back? Speak Spanish? Then do what we did, and pay some men visiting the North lands from their home country to shovel, drag in firewood, and brush off your cars.

Worth every penny.

Good thing they aren't in playoff contention...

The Redskins have canceled practice because of the snow.

Water Main Break

Dr. Gridlock sez...
Arlington County reports: There is an 8" water main break at Wilson Boulevard and N. 10th Street. Best to avoid the area.

Snow Panic Goes International

Trains are breaking down in the Channel Tunnel due to winter weather.

Abandon All Hope

The Washington Post's Redskins Insider (Cindy Boren) just tweeted:
Oh! Oh! Channel 4 just made the first mention of people abandoning their cars on the Beltway!!!

Your Parents May Have Been Looking Forward to Graduation Your Entire Life...

...but if you're at UMCP, no graduation ceremony for you! (At Frostburg State, you just have to wait until Monday.)

That's What She Said


Seven and quarter inches so far.
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Create your Own Emergency

Yesterday, at Lowes Home Improvement in Laurel, I was waiting to ask the greeter where to find kindling. He was trying to help a senior citizen who was looking for snow shovels. "Sorry," I overheard him tell her, "we sold out this morning. We have spades, but no snow shovels."

She seemed shocked, and murmured that this was the second store she'd visited. He apologized to her, and turned to me.

"Do you have any Fatwood? It's a type of kindling."

"Well," he said, "let's see." Perhaps to get away from the freezing wind at the front door, or maybe to stretch his legs, he offered to walk me through the fireplace section. On the way, I mentioned that it was surprising they had sold out of shovels so quickly. "If you live here, don't you already have one from the last storm?" I said as we passed the fireplace grates and pokers.

"People were buying them six at a time, just grabbing them by the armload," he answered.

So, people are either trying to make money by supplying friends and charging people to scrape the walkways of those who didn't get to buy one, or reselling them at a premium.

Entrepreneurial, or hoarding? You decide. Email us at jon@snowpanic.com.

All quotes in this story are paraphrases.

News Channel 9 Reports on Snowplow Activity

Andrea Roane on Channel 9 News, at 6:13 am:

It’s a treacherous morning, and this is one reason why … if you can stay home, don’t leave: Route 50 at 201 is closed this morning. It is closed because one of the snow trucks trying to help us get around hit a light post (and) brought down some (power) lines. Again, that has closed Route 50 at 201.

I got.. Sss... ssst.... Oil heat.

Snowpocalyptic problems continue to frustrate early risers around the nation's capital. Homeowners in older areas of P.G. County may wake to find themselves not only snowed in, but lacking a working heat source as well. The colder weather over the last few weeks has depleted oil reserves for in-home tanks, and may yet cause electrical outages as ice forms on power lines.

Emergency drops of 10 gallons, which will postpone if not alleviate the shortage, will likely not begin before streets are plowed much later today or tomorrow.

Said one wife: "It's my husband's job to check the oil, and he did that before his trip to Tokyo 2 weeks ago, but not since. In retrospect, that was a mistake. At that point we had at least half a tank, but now we're down to nearly zero. Thank heavens for our space heaters and fireplace!" said Christina Grantham, of University Park.

The Great Snow Panic of '51.

The Baltimore Sun has an article about the 1951 snow storm.

Women who should have been home by 5 p.m. were trapped on public transit vehicles that maybe delivered them home at 8:30.

In 2009, we call that "rush hour".


This is a dangerous, severe storm. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

The Washington Post warns its readers.

Beltway Cam

Thanks to this link from the State of Maryland, you can watch people try to drive on the Beltway in the snow. It's strangely compelling, especially when someone stops and starts in the middle of the road.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Virgin America Cancels All DC Flights

This Examiner story might be more impressive if the reporter managed to notice that Virgin America only has six daily flights out of Dulles.

Game on!

The first images are appearing on Flickr...

Take That, Virginia and DC!

[Maryland Governor] O'Malley says he has not declared a state of emergency...

On the other hand, he's urging everyone to stay indoors, and he has the National Guard on standby.

We Have Contact

The Post reports first flakes in DC as of 9pm. Also, on Twitter they say, "Snowfall rates through va far outpacing expectations, make of that what you will..."

I don't think he won for observations like this...

There is, for example, the apparent belief that if your car is stuck, you respond by spinning your wheels until you grind down to pavement...

A description of DC drivers in the snow that would be unexceptional if it didn't come from a Nobel Laureate

Either that, or Joe Lieberman...

Will the snowpocalypse kill health care reform?

It's Official

Snow emergency in DC as of 7am tomorrow.

Cars off the Road

Thank you, North Carolina, for providing the first images of cars running off the road due to what looks like about 1/2 an inch of snow

Storm Sends Hordes to Stores

At a Giant Food on Rockville Pike, shoppers have been stuffing shopping carts all day. It's like Super Bowl Sunday or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, ABC 7's Julie Parker reports: "absolute chaos!"

Sounds about right.

John Kelly's Tips for Snow

Over at the Post, John Kelly has some ideas...

  • Purchase milk, bread and toilet paper.
  • Make sure you have an ice scraper for your car, along with a snow shovel and some ice melt.
  • Learn to drive in the snow.
  • Purchase a St. Bernard.
  • Invite some of your more corpulent friends and relatives over.
  • Say a silent prayer for the continued health of Bob Ryan.
  • Panic.

That last one is what we like to hear at snowpanic.com