“Snowpocalypse” Stopped Being Funny at Some Point

Lady Bird Swims Through the Snow

We’re in the midst of getting a metric pantload of snow. There are 17″ of the powdery stuff on the ground here in the northeast corner of Albemarle right now, which seems to be the average in the area. This is the biggest December snowfall here in recorded history. The National Guard has been called out in response to the states of emergency declared by the state and the county, with dozens of them currently searching for stranded motorists along 29S and 20S. Twitter is full of people reporting that they’re trapped in their cars, most of whom have been stuck since last night. Hundreds of cars have been abandoned on the major roads alone. Rescue crews are trying to get to these people; many are being sheltered at the Monticello and North Garden fire stations, and a new shelter is being set up at AFC. Dominion’s map shows hundreds of homes without power (a number that might start to look pretty good). The city, putting Twitter to great work in the past 24 hours, has called for volunteers with 4WD vehicles (who know how to use them—your Subaru Outback doesn’t count).

If you’re looking to go anywhere, don’t. If you haven’t bought all the stuff you need to for Christmas, don’t—you don’t need it that much, and everybody else is in the same boat. Everything is closed, anyway.

69 Responses to ““Snowpocalypse” Stopped Being Funny at Some Point”

  • Just saw someone drive their Subaru oh-so-gingerly past my house, then go back the other way a minute later. Smart move. No secondary roads in the City have seen a plow yet and I bet they won’t til tomorrow. Even a real 4WD vehicle won’t help you in this when you get stuck behind somebody else’s stranded car…stay where you are!

  • A Hook commenter makes some good points about why this is so severe, other than the depth of the snow. It hit on a Friday, during rush hour, the weekend before Christmas (the busiest shopping weekend of the year). When it started, it started fast.—between the first snowflakes and truly treacherous roads, only about 45 minutes passed. Thirteen years have gone by since the January 1996 storm, meaning that there are thousands of transplants who have absolutely no idea that this sort of weather is possible here, no matter how many times we told them. The last of the students were leaving UVA (exams were this week) while local kids were coming home from college.

    There really is an unusual confluence of factors here that make this particularly serious.

  • I feel for those who are stranded, but I’m very happy to see some real snow. Of course, I need to go shovel out a toilet zone for the poodle, who is not keen on squatting in snow that already comes up to his chest.

  • Hey Waldo, here’s the scene from last night just North (uphill) of the Franklin Drive turn-off on Route 20:

    * http://i.imgur.com/e7ibN.jpg
    * http://i.imgur.com/ge6u1.jpg
    * http://i.imgur.com/DmnLn.jpg

    First two pictures show (left to right) a UVa Medical van in the ditch, a stuck snowplow, a stuck car, and a ditched car. Foreground are random folks helping direct traffic. Background are waiting southbound drivers. Third picture is from opposite direction, looking downhill and South.

    We had to walk a mile in the snow to get home after parking in a nearby subdivision. Good times!

    (I’m having a blast, actually.)

  • I believe Buf. Girl borrowed heavily from my list in the “Botched Commute” thread at 11:41 yesterday. I also added our transportation network which has not been updated to accommodate the influx of residents. It will be interesting to see how (if) this storm will affect the transportation and infrastructure debate here in Virginia. While I believe roads were part of the debate, I have always believed that just this type of situation would unfold with the lack of funds at VDOT.

    Perhaps this storm will help bring the transportation back alive and make our politicians understand why this is a statewide issue (rather than just a Hampton Roads and NOVA problem). Then again, perhaps there is nothing VDOT could have done with any amount of money or restructuring that would have made this situation any better. It’s not like the state really has any money anyway.

  • C, you remind me of when VDOT shut down 87 road maintenance facilities across the state three years ago. Those are the places where they keep plows, ice, salt, etc. My mother raised hell about shutting down the Free Union facility, and it was spared. That’s lucky, for reasons that we’ll see in action over the next few days. VDOT’s plan was to have the roads in the northern half of Albemarle plowed by a crew from Stanardsville. That’s why Free Union was spared, as I wrote at the time:

    The final nail in the coffin for the proposed shut down of the Albemarle location was probably when Ann Mallek, of Earlysville, pointed out to Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer that the only viable route for snow plows to get from the Stanardsville maintenance facility to Earlysville required driving across the Advance Mills bridge — you know, the one that was shut down for many months this year because it’s crumbling, the one that has a three ton weight limit. This was news to VDOT, who was not aware of their own weight restriction, and apparently hadn’t even thought through how they were going to get their equipment from point A to point B.

    Ann was a rock star in all of this. If it wasn’t for her figuring out that VDOT’s plan was utterly unviable, not only much of Albemarle be right and truly screwed right now, but she wouldn’t have been elected to the BoS (or perhaps even run).

  • Smart lady! I applaud her for being able to teach government officials something without it being the “hard way.” Unfortunately for much of the rest of the state, people may have to learn the “hard way” what happens when you neglect transportation and infrastructure for so long.

  • Weirdest thing I saw was a guy panhandling in the middle of the Meade/Market intersection last night at 8:45. At least, I think that’s what he was doing. He was holding a cup out, and a certain driver was very concerned about slamming into him, as steering and braking were vague at best. Nearby was a car stuck trying to go uphill… the little hill on Market not the big one on Meade.

  • This is the first real serious snowfall since that one in Jan ’96 as was pointed out. Lets all of us safe at home be thankful, and a few prayers for those stranded would be a good idea too.
    Reminds me of growing up in the country off a backroad, when we’d get snowed in for days, sometimes no school for a couple weeks at the time.
    But rural folk in those days knew how to prepare for snowstorms, plenty of food laid in(including those canned vegetables from the last summer’s garden),wood stoves-no real worry if power goes down. Only real challenge was going out to tend any animals or poultry.
    Hal Borland, who wrote an outdoor column for the New York Times for many years, often spoke of how those he called countrymen were better adapted to handling a snowstorm than were urban dwellers. Get snowbound, they rode it out much nore easily than those totally dependent on modern technology.

  • Tim McCormack, you must live near me…I had multiple friends report that they had to abandon their cars near the intersection with 250 and walk to Key West.

    If we want to think of ways in which this could have been worse, let’s reflect that it started AFTER kids were out of school and, as a weekend storm, there are far fewer people who have to try to get to their jobs.

    Still, I don’t know how anyone could have paid just two minutes of attention to the weather reports and NOT have drawn the conclusion that it was going to be a whomper of a storm. There was zero basis for a “oh, another false alarm” conclusion if you looked at the radar.

  • I left work a couple of hours early, about the time the forecasts stopped coming in inches and moved to feet. Thursday night was when it was pretty obvious that things were going to be bad.

  • Most people weren’t willing to even take this seriously until it was too late. I left work early on Friday for a number of reasons and tried to encourage my co-workers to go home early as well. Nothing but eye-rolling resulted. ‘It probably won’t hit until 5 or 6 and won’t get bad until tomorrow.’

    Even though I left at 12:30, with the lines that I encountered I didn’t get through with stopping at the grocery store for bottled water and picking up emergency kerosene until about 3:30 pm. Anyone who thought that they were going to take care of those preparations on their way home from work at the usual time was doomed.

    This kind of attitude is why there are still hundreds of cars stuck in or beside the roads in Albemarle County right now.

    Meanwhile, all I can do now is leave my lights on tonight so that anyone stuck out there can see where a house is.

  • Those of y’all with heat pumps will want to dig around them—otherwise snow will get sucked into the sides, ice, and you’ll run out of heat pretty quickly. And if you have a furnace, make sure that the exhaust pipe isn’t covered, or else everybody in your house will get very sleepy and never, ever wake up.

  • Cat had to be rescued. he jumped off the porch into the snow and immediately sunk almost covering him up. Crying and crying. So obviously I had to go get him and the snow was past my knees.

    My heart was pounding so hard I figured I was going to have a heart attack.

    It’s scarey out there.

  • Oh, Jan, that’s so sad. I’m glad you rescued the little guy. :)

    For folks who want to know what the roads are like, I recommend check out VDOT’s traffic cameras. A few cameras on 81 just show parked tractor trailers as far as the eye can see. The cameras around Charlottesville (a few on the bypass, a few on 29, a couple on 64) show a lot of cameras covered in snow, and the ones still working show mostly empty roads, entirely-snow covered, often with abandoned vehicles visible. I’m surprised at how fast that cars are going. Last night everybody was crawling—somewhere between ten and twenty MPH was the norm as of ~6:00. Maybe things have improved, or maybe the people who are out there just aren’t real bright.

  • I wish I was back home to see all of this but unfortunately I am visiting my parents in Montréal. Around this side of the globe we tend to buy snowtires for the winter season and it actually helps. I have them installed for every winter. They will last a while because I only use them for winter whatever that means in cville. All of this to say that sometimes you have to make sure you can actually drive before taking the road.

  • Waldo- he’s the same little scoundrel that you fostered. I adopted him and his sister. He’s a mess and now he thinks it’s time to go back out. NOT.

    500-1000 STRANDED ON I-81 I heard.

    This is one big mess.

  • Waldo, I totally agree “If you haven’t bought all the stuff you need to for Christmas, don’t—you don’t need it that much,”

    I’ve had more fun today going through the piles of stuff around my house and wrapping it to give as Christmas gifts, not good for the economy, but great for my wallet, and worth the huge smile on my husband’s face; he hate shopping and all the money that gets spent and makes January a tough month every year.

  • Who predicts we’ll have a white Christmas — be it residual white, refreshed white, or otherwise?

  • Bloom,

    I will call it. It looks like there is a chance for a “refresher” on Thursday night (Christmas Eve).

  • A few photos from our place in Sugar Hollow:


    The driveway is 1/3 mile, and I parked one of the cars near the bottom last night. We went down to shovel it off this afternoon (won’t get plowed until tomorrow or Monday, but might as well do it early). I had forgotten how just plain awkward it is to walk through waist-deep snow. We were at 23″ last I measured, but since then probably 3 inches have fallen.

    Any thoughts on the best places to share and gather info on the state of the secondary roads as they begin to get cleared?

  • Since we’re all homebound in the same boat here, I’ll share a few links that I’m finding helpful now. Many of us have time on our hands and an eagerness to get gifts for friends and family. The solution is to make some. (In fact, I’m roasting some almonds for some gifts now…but I won’t say what for, because some of the recipients will read this. :)

    In “50 ways to make your holiday gifts homemade,” author Amy Scattergood writes:

    Not only are homemade gifts less expensive, they also capture the spirit of holiday giving in a way that purchased gifts simply can’t. And if you consider the ubiquitous traffic and holiday crowds, a leisurely morning spent baking breadsticks or whipping up a batch of homemade marshmallows seems positively Zen-like by comparison.

    She’s got a good list there. But, in addition, there are a couple of Metafilter discussions: “What non-food consumables can I make for holiday gifts?” and “Giving the gift of deliciousness.”

    I am not a fan of “artsy-fartsy crafty crap,” as one Metafilter poster puts it, but there’s no reason why a great Christmas gift doesn’t have to only be great because somebody knows you made it.

  • Skiing time for sure. Cross-country skiing is great exercise. Neat way to get to the 7-11 for an RC, a moon pie, and a scratch off.

  • I watched one guy in a pickup truck try repeatedly to drive up the nearly vertical hill on Druid Ave. this afternoon. He kept backing down to the bottom of the hill and trying again but he never got more than a quarter of the way up before he’s start sliding.

    I just answered my door to a neighbor who got locked out of her house in her bare feet. We gave her boots and socks and a crow bar.

    I’m worried because I have to get my daughters to the Richmond airport by 6:00pm tomorrow. What do you suppose the odds are we’ll make it and that their flight won’t be delayed?

  • Boy cries wolf explains some of the lax attitude about driving, in addition to the last storm being 13 years ago, student traffic, etc. Even if the governor had gotten on the screen yelling and jumping up and down, “don’t get in your cars after 3pm,” most people would just give it a grain of salt and tarry on with their busy schedules. Especially since he really meant *5*pm. We have so many weather emergencies every year, it’s hard to sep. the wheat from the chaff.

    People do not even know the diff between a NWS watch and a warning (the NWS should really rename them so they don’t both start with W)… much less such salient facts as that the roads are worst in the very first hour or so after the snow starts to stick.

    In addition to the boy cries wolf problem is the surfeit of overprotective advice like stay in your stranded car and run the heat once an hour. You’re not going to freeze in a parka and good boots when it’s 31 outside, although you may get run over.

    That dog in that picture is a brave one. Mine always turned around when the snow got head high.

  • I saw cross-country skiers in the Woolen Mills today, and kids have been a-frolicking on the slopes at Meade Park. Saw a mini firetruck backing all the way down Chesapeake towards Meade. I’ve also been watching VDOT’s traffic cameras. 81 near 64 looks brutal.

    Hope the roads will be safe by the Monday commute.

  • We live in town in Oxford/Rutledge area. Lots of kids out trying to sled/snowboard on Rose Hill. They have to repeatedly stop b/c these idiots who have 4wd think that it is a good time to go riding around. I have a Jeep. I love it. But there is 2 f***ing feet of snow on the ground and you don’t need to interfere with the fun of kids Mr. dark green range rover and brown jeep by riding about looking at the snow. It is white. and it is everywhere. If you want to ride around go pick up some poor bastard on 64 or 81.

  • That dog in that picture is a brave one. Mine always turned around when the snow got head high.

    That’s Lady Bird, and that’s also the first time that the word “brave” has ever been used to describe her. :) This afternoon I carved out a walkway for her and her sister:

    Mostly she’s hidden.

    Hidden Beagle

  • Yeah, God forbid people in cars drive on the roads….

  • Loved the video Waldo.

  • Oh, and the peeping dog, too! I wanted to make a greeting card using it until I realized I didn’t own it.

  • And the first one looks as though the dog is swimming. Loved your choice of namefor Lady Bird.

  • I urge people with 4 wheel drive to call this number 434-979-INFO. Doctors and health care workers are desperate to get into the hospital, to care for extremely sick children and adults, and to relieve the workers who have now been on call 36 hours. Please help if you can !

  • I wanted to make a greeting card using it until I realized I didn’t own it.

    Actually, that image (like most of mine) is released under a Creative Commons license, so you’re welcome to do whatever you like with it!

  • Thanks. That’s good to know.

  • Thanks for putting that out there city resident. My husband and I are both nurses for UVA. Luckily we live less than 2 miles from the hospital so my husband walked to work Saturday and today and I’ll be walking tomorrow, but most likely I’ll be walking in the road since the sidewalks are completely impassable. Drivers–watch for pedestrians in the street. At the very least, refrain from screaming obscenities or actively trying to kill people who are walking–which happened to a friend of mine walking to UVA this morning.

  • Danpi-
    “Yeah, God forbid people in cars drive on the roads….”

    Um, I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but are you sarcastically accusing people of being authoritarians for recommending that nobody drive anywhere? Seriously?

    The reason people are advising others not to drive anywhere is so they DON’T GET KILLED. The unfortunate deaths and injuries that have so far occurred because of this snowstorm are largely because of people who are underestimating the danger and driving recklessly, i.e. going too fast for icy conditions, not wearing seatbelts, etc.

    I’m really hoping I just seriously misread or misunderstood your post.

  • Greetings from New Jersey! I left Cville on Friday to visit relatives and am so sad to be missing all the snow. I’ve been watching Twitter and the blogs with envy. We only have about six inches up here and today was just another day (the roads were fine).

  • Jeannine, don’t be too envious; this storm has caused significant hardship for many people. Small potatoes, compared to the real tragedies from this storm, my walk ended yesterday with a fall, luckily nothing broken. There is some serious ice under the snow in the streets, so even walking is going to be a challenge.

    Oh, to be a kid again, dreaming of sugarplums and new fallen snow.

  • transplant from new england

    re:”meaning that there are thousands of transplants who have absolutely no idea that this sort of weather is possible here, no matter how many times we told them”

    Apparently, whoever is responsible for clearing the roads in Charlottesville/Albemarle is similarly ignorant of the area’s history. Too bad “we” couldn’t have told “them” that “they” might need to stock up on sand and salt and be just a little bit proactive in their efforts to keep the roads clear (or at least passable).

    I imagine quite a few local businesses were banking on this weekend to help them through this very challenging year. I imagine these business entities may well wonder what it is exactly that they are paying for when their local business tax bill comes due.

    Having learned to drive in snow long before I moved to central Virginia, I was able to get where I needed in my front wheel drive sedan. Somehow, despite never having heard one of these wise warnings from the natives, I knew enough to park my car and walk the last mile or so. This was not because I didn’t think I could make it, but because I knew one of these oh-so-experienced locals would crash into me.

    The ineptitude of the regional VDOT should not be blamed on those wishing to use the roads VDOT is paid to maintain. Yes, this storm presented an unique set of challenges. But it is quite clear that whoever should have prepared for this didn’t.

    Those in a position of authority should be held responsible. Blaming those that haven’t lived here for longer than 12 years (I moved here in ’97, btw) is disingenuous at best.

  • @transplant from new england, in recent years things went pretty smoothly. This year the city, for example, have used very little of the ultra-expense de-icers that we have been using in recent years. I have seen very little activity on my street this year. The city and state must do a poor job on services in order to make a case for raising taxes. I’ve seen it time and time again. Don’t you think there’s a reason why the buses, all but the trolley and Rt. 7, are not running today? It’s because the heavy buses help to keep the streets from icing and more cars will run and help keep the streets clear.
    BTW, I don’t believe the city allows sand to be used on the streets.

  • Also, you should have been here thiryt years ago when the town would have shut dow for a week with a blizzard like this.

  • “transplant from new england,” gripe all you want, but don’t pretend that it’s in response to anything I said. My assertion was only that people who have not lived here for long (at least since January 1996) are under the mistaken impressions that we always have balmy winters. I never said that people who live here have the faintest idea of how to drive in the snow, or that VDOT knows how to deal with snowy roads. I simply said that folks who aren’t from here often don’t know that we can have bad storms in the winter.

  • Well, I’m a transplant to Charlottesville who has lived here a little over 7 years. I grew up in New Jersey, and lived in Northern Indiana/downtown Chicago (read lake effect snow) for 14 years.

    One of the problems that happened here is that most people should have been home and stayed there by 4:00 to 5:00 pm on Friday. I know there are lots of exceptions (students on their way home, seriously ill persons, etc.) but the biggest problems is that most residents did not appropriately assess the severity of the oncoming storm.

    Why is that? I have to believe that part of it was a lack of communication from both local and state officials. People can die when they sit in car all night, you know?

    Now let’s talk about post-Friday events. I have never seen such pathetic news coverage in my life. For many people who could not leave their homes (e.g, me) there was simply no way to evaluate what was actually going on. The most useful information I found was from VDOT’s VA511 site. Why no targeted information to Albemarle, Nelson, and Charlottesville residents about what was happening though?

    And why on Monday evening, December 21st, is Albemarle virtually the only county in the state with all roads still listed in severe condition? Did we really get that much more snow than other areas? Or is it more related to incompetence and/or misallocation of resources?

  • “Or is it more related to incompetence and/or misallocation of resources?” I have already answered that. The localities have shown a great deal of competence good use of resources in the past and those who were in charge are still in charge.

  • Can’t believe they are only running Rt. 7 and the free trolley again tomorrow.

  • I really wish drivers on city streets would SLOW down. Plenty of folks are out digging out vehicles, clearing sidewalks, or walking. And those of us trying to walk up to places of employment or local businesses often must walk in the street. Cherry Ave had about a lane and a half clear this morning, with a few inches of slush. For god’s sake, if you see a pedestrian, slow down and stop throwing slush 15 feet. I shouldn’t have to dive into a snowbank with my kid on my back just to keep from being hit or soaked.

  • Agreed, Jocelyn. A Cintas Uniform truck almost mowed me down this morning on Cherry Ave, although I was wearing a reflective vest. I had to jump into a snowbank.
    And as for blame for general unpreparedness–maybe a tiny bit goes to the local news media for hyping up every local storm so that when a real storm is coming, many of us are so jaded we assume another mountain is being made from a mole hill. The Boy Who Cried Wolf Award for last year, and for the past several winters goes to NBC 29.

  • I must say, I wish there was a way to report drivers who insist on driving as if things were normal. Last night I was heading up Fifth Street to the Food Lion. Normally, there are two lanes in either direction. With the snow, there were no shoulders and no sidewalk. So, I went right up the middle going maybe 15 miles an hour in a car with front-wheel-drive.

    Safe. Easy. Confident. Competent. Smart. Respectful of pedestrians who had no other way to go.

    However, my faith in humanity dipped a little bit when people in bigger trucks insisted that the 45 mile per hour speed limit was still valid. Tailgated, I had to pull over to the right and almost wound up being pushed into a snow bank. Keep in mind, the road was still packed with snow.

    Still, hopefully everyone is okay and people can learn lessons for the next one. I have a feeling this is going to be an active winter. I’ve already canceled plans to take my kids to my parent’s house in Lynchburg for Christmas.

  • Sean Tubbs, you know that the majority of drivers in Charlottesville drive more recklessly in bad weather and driving conditions. You’ve noticed how they speed up and take unnecessary chances when it starts to rain. You know. You’ve been here long enough. I would rather drive in DC during rush hour than drive down W. Main when it starts to rain. I feel it’s safer to drive here at 3 in the morning on black ice than at three in the afternoon when it is snowing.

  • I don’t know if I can make those generalizations. For every bad driver I saw lots of people slowing down and taking precautions. It’s just that the bad eggs make for better writing.

  • The snow removal gripes miss a few points. The first is that you do not build a church for Easter. The world cannot afford for us to have snow removal services that can handle a storm that really only occurs once a decade. The last storm such as this was 96 and the city was completely shut down for days. THis time I had three snow plow passes at my house by Sunday AM and was able to DRIVE to my business to check that everything was okay.

    The second point is that the storm hit at the worst time possible with many cars on the road. Tough for plows to remove that first 3-4 inches of packed snow with traffic at a crawl. To really get into the packed snow the plows need a bit of velocity, and that could not happen with the cars stopped and even abandoned in parts of the roads. By then its to late to get ahead of the curve.

    As a transplanted driver from New Hampshire and MInn in 4 wheel drive my only problem was the fact that people decided to treat the streets as if they were two way sidewalks and do nothing to allow traffic to pass. Really, people are going to walk three abreast on Rose Hill on the hill by the school? Walker school, Washington park, Burley, Mac park all have great hills for sledding…and no snow plows, emergency traffic or other vehicles.

    Oh…and if you were born south of the Mason-Dixie line you should have a special driving license for the snow! :-) To many people braking on corners or uphill. Too many people not realizing that the snow does not really stop you from going fast….it just stops your from stopping fast.

  • I don’t know where you live, but we have only seen one plow on our city street and it is impassable, as are most other streets in our neighborhood. Sand and salt sure would help, because the street is solid ice under the snow and people can’t even walk without falling. I’ve heard the city ran out of both sand and salt, and hope this is a lesson for the future, the economic loss could have been lessened if people could get to work and get out and shop. I did call the City help number but one plow pass didn’t help. I wonder if the kids were in school, if it would have made a difference, and the city would have cleared the roads in a more timely fashion ?

  • We are paying a guy to dig out one of our cars. He says there’s not a lot of call for exterior painting, so he needs to fill in the hours somehow.

    I might try to dig out the other car later. I need to clear three spaces total–folks in law are coming down this weekend. I don’t plan on driving, but I might need to go buy dog food.

  • transplant from new england

    Fair enough, Waldo. I thought I detected some “see we told you so” smugness in some of the comments. But it’s probably a projection of my frustration.

    But I would like to clear up a common misconception people seem to have here about driving in the snow. This misconception is that it’s better to slow way down. That is how you get stuck.

    If you driving in snow, you need to maintain momentum so that in the inevitable event that you lose control of your car for a brief instant, it keeps moving in the proper direction. What often happens is that in that moment of loss of control, people panic and overcompensate by either lurching the steering wheel too hard, slamming on the breaks or both. Then, once your wheel stops slipping, you all of sudden are zooming in the wrong direction.

    Basic Newtonian physics will tell you that a car traveling 30 mph will get stuck in the snow less often than a car traveling 15 mph. If you aren’t able to stay calm and make quick decisions in these moments of chaos, don’t drive in snow.

    So this is why some people are driving quickly in the snow; they know this is how to get from point a to point b. Their lack of patience for those driving slowly is the impatience that the competent feel for the incompetent.

    Mind you, I’m not saying everyone driving fast knows what their doing, but simply that those that know what their doing are driving fast.

    Driving on ice is a different matter. I’ve found the only effective way of driving on ice is by putting the car in park, engaging the parking brake and turning off the ignition.

  • Danpri, the issue is that yesterday, every road in Albemarle listed on Virginia’s road conditions website (http://www.va511.org/RoadConditions.aspx?j=Albemarle (County)&r=1) was listed as severe condition, while every other county I looked at, including Augusta, had most roads in mild or moderate condition. A friend of mine told me that he drove from Lynchburg back to Fairfax yesterday, and things were fine until he hit the stretch of 29 through Albemarle, and again fine once he got into Greene. 29 functions essentially as an interstate up through Virginia and for it to be in poor/impassable condition in one stretch can affect, for example, whether a store in North Carolina gets its deliveries on time. I know that this kind of storm doesn’t happen every year and that perhaps the massive amount of rush traffic we seem to have compared to our neighboring counties probably affected VDOT and the county’s ability to get ahead on things. But I’d like to hear an official explanation instead of just having to speculate.

  • A slight correction to my previous post — MOST roads were in severe condition, much of Route 53 was closed. And yes, while many people can and should stay home for several days after an event like this, there are some people who just can’t — health care workers, police officers, SPCA employees who feed the animals, and anyone who does a job that has to be done and can’t be done entirely from a computer.

  • “…the snow does not really stop you from going fast…” It should.

  • Snow should stop you from going recklessly fast. And you can’t accelerate quickly in snow and hope to keep control of your car. But NE Transplant is right (IMO) that going too slowly in snow can be a problem, too. Two winters ago we had a similar quick/heavy-onset snow event and I was driving up Stony Point Road in my AWD Subaru. The line of cars was just creeping and crawling so slowly that it eventually came to a standstill. One after another, each car would attempt to get going again on the snowy incline, and if a car had no AWD, it just spun its wheels and eventually slid into the ditch. Then the next one would take a try. I managed to get home, but barely, and I prayed the whole way that the cars in front of me would just please not stop. And that was in a much lighter snow.

    @Sean Tubbs, I admire the way you drive, but you are not in the majority, alas. As far as drivers v. pedestrians go, well, I DID jump in snowbanks with my child when we walked in the road in our neighborhood. I felt like the drivers had their hands full navigating a narrow, snowy, icy road without also having to account for the unpredictable movements of two pedestrians. If I were driving (slowly, like Sean Tubbs) down such a road and I saw peds in the street, I’d be very, very concerned that despite my best efforts, I might slip or skid and hit them.

  • I was out Friday, doing some last minute shopping, when the storm hit. Bad timing on my part… should’ve left for the store an hour earlier. I quickly left the store, only to find that the road I normally take home (Earlysville Rd) was completely shut down. Still don’t know what happened there. Had to turn around and take rt 29 north. Every time I had to stop, and then start moving again, I began to slip and slide. It was extremely annoying, but nothing I couldn’t recover from. rt 29 became a one-lane road, because of abandoned cars. And still, you’d get somebody who for some reason, comes to a complete stop. And on a hill, no less. I was so happy to get off 29. I was able to handle 2 round-abouts near the airport with no problem, which leads me to believe that if people would just slow down (but not stop unless you’re turning or at a light), the commute would have gone much smoother.
    I’m glad I made the shopping trip, because I bought a lot of canned tuna, sardines, and kippers which we had to eat when we lost power for 24 hours. No TV or internet, so we played in the snow, and then put together a train set by the fire. Went to bed early under warm comfy blankets.
    Cable company called this morning to tell us our cable service has been restored. It wasn’t. We’re finally dug out now, but our cul-de-sac hasn’t been plowed yet. Tonight our cable and internet were restored, so life is good.

  • another good reason to have more roundabouts.

  • I’m thinking it’s going to take a few more day to get that Victory Shoe Store window fixed back up right with all of this weather.

  • Thanks for all the updates on this entry. I just got home from NJ/NYC yesterday. The drive down 29 was smooth until I got down near the airport, which I was expecting after reading comments here and watching the local news online.

    By the way, while taking the dog on a walk to the Downtown Mall last night, I was surprised by how hard it was to stay on the sidewalk for the entire walk. The worse spot was in front of the federal building. Does Cville not hire temporary workers to dig out the fire hydrants, storm drains, and crosswalks? Other cities do that so the Public Works crews can focus on the bigger jobs.

  • Charlottesville : Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS)

    On Thursday, December 24, Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS) will operate regular service on all daytime routes, with the exception of Route 2B to Southwood, which will be detoured on the southern end of the route due to icy road conditions. All CTS bus routes will be fare-FREE on Christmas Eve as advertised, with service ending during the 4:00 pm hour.

  • Thank goodness. Thanks Cville Eye.

  • Okay I first saw the word “Snowpocalypse” here at cville.com.

    the Hook used it and linked to their photo slide show instead of the origination of the word which should be this post.

    I am calling foul.

    The hook has traditionally been bad about giving credit where credit was due.

    This seems to be no exception.

  • The word came to me last week, on Friday morning, when I used it on Twitter. Two hours later, I saw it everywhere. Figuring I must be a genius, I searched Twitter, and found uses of it all over the country in the prior few hours, predating my own use. At least one of those was from a prominent local Twitterer (I can’t remember who). I hadn’t read the tweet in question before, so I came to the conclusion that it was probably an inevitable portmanteau for anybody writing humorously about an impending blizzard.

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