To say this supposed winter storm has been a let down so far would be an understatment. But the same people who claimed it'd be snowing furiously throughout today's wee early morning hours are still predicting a bunch of icy nastiness this afternoon through tomorrow. So the following are a few reminders and neighborly suggestions (copied largely from the D.C. Emergency Management and D.C.D.O.T. websites) to keep your excitement at the prospect of going home early today or of not coming in tomorrow grounded:
1. Clear snow and ice from sidewalks and steps next to your property. This is required by D.C. law within the first eight hours of daylight after the snow, freezing rain or sleet stops. Spread sand if ice can’t be cleared.
2. Clear snow from fire hydrants and catch basins.
3. Put all cleared snow (if we get any . . .), such as from parked cars and sidewalks, in the “tree box” between the curb and sidewalk, not in the street.
4. Help elderly and physically challenged neighbors who may find it difficult to clear snow and ice from around their homes.
5. If a snow emergency is declared, DO NOT PARK on Snow Emergency Routes (indicated by red and white street signs on each block along the routes). Parking is banned on these routes to provide unimpeded curb-to-curb plowing. Illegally parked vehicles are subject to a $250 fine and/or towing to a nearby non-emergency street.
Listen to the media or call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center (202-727-1000) to find out if a snow emergency is in effect or not.
6. Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, consider the following:
+Travel during the day and keep others informed of your schedule.
+Stay on main roads; avoid back roads and alleys
7. Take care of yourself and your loved ones! Watch for signs of hypothermia (shivering and numbness, confusion or dizziness, stumbling and weakness, slow or slurred speech and shock) and frostbite (skin appears white and waxy, numbness or no feeling in that area and/or possible blisters). If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of hypothermia or frostbite go to a medical facility immediately. Also, avoid overexertion (a major cause of death during the winter, often associated with snow shoveling).
8. If you notice a homeless person in the cold, call the Hypothermia Hotline, 1-800-535-7252. Designed to prevent hypothermia deaths among the homeless by providing District citizens with a hotline number they can call to have homeless persons who are outside in freezing temperatures picked up by a van and transported to a local shelter. Vans will transport homeless individuals to a shelter.
Email me pictures (or links to pictures uploaded to Flickr) of beautiful snow/ice scenes in Shaw and I will post them on this Blog! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.