The dream of a white Christmas came four weeks late to Petworth. The snow came with a vengeance on December 22, 2016. The streets of Petworth on December 23 and 24 were covered with so much snow that few residents ventured outside their homes. With snow piled as high as four feet in places the walk around the neighborhood was a very precarious enterprise.
With comparisons to the great snowstorm of 1996, the snowstorm of 2016 came with much more advance warning and excellent reports by the National Weather Service. Area small businesses and the large Walmart, Target, Costco, Giant, and Safeway stores saw great business on Thursday as people were able to prepare for the storm with shoppers buying items needed for the days of the storm. The National Weather Service alerts allowed residents to cancel events that were planned for the weekend and the great dig out to follow.
City workers have a massive task today clearing away record amounts of snow. MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier has reminded residents that it is illegal to place cones and chairs to hold parking spaces on public DC streets. “We do it because it is unfair to work so hard to clear a parking space and then to have people who are too lazy to clear their own space take it,” said one upset Petworth resident. Although it is very hard work to dig and lift snow for hours, the city laws made it clear that no one owns a parking space on DC public streets.
MPD will ticket residents for violating the law. The department is asking drivers to remain off the roads to allow work crews to remove the snow. Residents are required by law to remove the snow from the sidewalks of their property and avoid placing chairs and cones in parking places in front of their homes on DC streets.
The National Weather Service provided excellent customer service in predicting the storm. The NWS is providing these snow removal tips to residents:
· Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
· Sand to improve traction.
· Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
· Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
· Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
· Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
· Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
· Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
· Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
byteclay.com will report on the difficult snow removal process. Stay tuned.