Submitted by thereadingbri t3_10nskzq in washingtondc

I’m a soon to be transplant to the area from the southern US. How does the DC area react to snow? Where I’m from, just the threat of snow is enough to cancel school, close daycare, empty grocery stores of bread, milk, and eggs, and for everyone to start driving like idiots. Is the DC area similar or is snow more of a “just another day in the winter” thing. Additionally, how necessary is it to winterize my vehicle? Thank you!



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alizadk t1_j6anavx wrote

Slightly better than you're used to, but not by much.


celj1234 t1_j6alkew wrote

Very poorly. Luckily it doesn’t snow much at all


ProperWayToEataFig t1_j6b65vf wrote

But when it does oh man is it great. Quiet. Love walking down to Rock Creek Park. But within 24 hrs. Major roads such as Conn Ave are clear.


DCRealEstateAgent t1_j6aotnu wrote

They follow the federal government here for the most part. If the fed closes, everyone else closes unless your employer is a jerk and they make you drive to work or take it as a vacation day.


ifoundacouch t1_j6au7iw wrote

I'm from a place where it doesn't snow, so I don't have experience with any place more snowy than this. But I'd say that every time it snows here, it's like the first time it ever happened. Everything seems to shut down until it's over. Still, no need to hoard bread or anything like that!


oxtailplanning t1_j6bk1ny wrote

The hoarding bread thing is so weird. Like folks, it's not the apocalypse


lurkinislife t1_j6bwolf wrote

My ancestors learned long ago that those with the toastest are the mostest.


Cool_Story_Bra t1_j6f7tfr wrote

Milk, eggs, and bread, because French toast is perfect snow day food!


Administrative-Egg18 t1_j6allod wrote

We're a bit more accustomed to snow, but not much. It doesn't help that half of the people here always say, "Where I'm from up north we get tons of snow and it's no big deal, but no one here knows how to drive in it except for me."


9throwaway2 t1_j6audwo wrote

do not drive if there is the possibility of snow. people lose their minds. they go bananas.


walkallover1991 t1_j6b3vti wrote

Grew up in Upstate NY (Albany suburbs) and lived in Charlotte for a few years.

Markably better than Charlotte does, but nowhere as good as it was in Albany, where we would be in school on time even if we had a foot of snow overnight.

I haven't been here for any major blizzards, but in the 6ish years I have been here (the max might have been 5-6 inches) I thought the DC government cleaned the streets up fairly quickly. Some narrower roads deep in certain neighborhoods took longer to clear, but major thoroughfares were clear.


Snow_source t1_j6jgcwy wrote

I grew up relatively close to where you did over the border in MA (the Berkshires) and moved down here about 8 ish years ago.

The 2016 Blizzard was pretty poorly handled. Any snow over 3 inches everybody freaks out and forgets how to drive.

Also most people only have all-season tires so it turns into a dangerous shitshow as nobody actually has snows.

The amount of salt they use for even a light dusting of snow puts Upstate to shame. Seems like overkill for a place that will have 40 degree days right afterwards.


walkallover1991 t1_j6kqzg5 wrote

To be fair, most people in Albany didn't have snow tires, either...we didn't. Always had all-season.

Berkshires are beautiful btw. My family has a cabin on the NY/MA border in New Lebanon.


SuperBethesda t1_j6c14wg wrote

Same as where you’re coming from.


Blu_Skies_In_My_Head t1_j6ancom wrote

You’ll feel right at home. Except for the driving like idiots part, most people just won‘t drive in it at all.

There’s no need to winterize your vehicle, unless you work in a hospital or some other on call occupation that doesn’t close. There’s usually only a few storms a year, but they can deliver significant snow when it happens.


shibby3388 t1_j6apz8u wrote

It’s so refreshing to see someone asking about D.C. and snow who isn’t a sanctimonious northerner complaining how a large, spread out metropolitan area, with multiple jurisdictions, with varying winter weather budgets, that only receives about a foot of snow per winter could be lacking in its snow handling ability. You’ll be fine. No snow tires needed. Just enjoy it.


realNoahMC t1_j6arcn0 wrote

I am from Michigan. Be prepared to get fucked here not by the amount of snow but by how people react to it. Especially the fucking car drivers...


app_priori t1_j6dbe9g wrote

Very poorly.

When I moved here in January 2019, it snowed like crazy compared to previous years. I was riding a bus in NoMa hoping to look at some rooms I saw advertised on Craigslist when it started snowing.

The bus driver then looked at me and said, "Get off son, this bus is going back to the depot."

I was perplexed. "Why?"

He pointed outside. "It's snowing."


NPRjunkieDC t1_j6az8fx wrote

Lived in 20009, seven years, and unlike everyone on here, no complaints.

DC cancels schools and works extremely fast . Usually, around 4 a.m., even if the prediction is it will be OK to drive

My son's private school decided not to follow the DC guidelines. Too lax


overnighttoast t1_j6i0zlk wrote

Yeah im not sure what the complaints all are.

It usually pisses me off that we clear the roads so quickly.

I lived in Seattle for a little bit and they wouldn't even put salt down.


jfenbaz t1_j6brc54 wrote

It doesn’t


alexmarcy t1_j6cv0c6 wrote

They don’t.

City will shut down at even a dusting.


ekkidee t1_j6al83w wrote

We have snow?


uknownick t1_j6ap0rn wrote

Like once in a year, fall to the grounds and then melt into water right away

One in 3 years, we might get something bigger than that.


Sparqman t1_j6aomd2 wrote

It doesn’t.


knee3_ t1_j6arlfx wrote

You get a snow day if you work for the government or for the public school system.


Evening_Chemist_2367 t1_j6fisjc wrote

At least they have plow trucks now. I remember the "snowpocalypse" - people didn't even have snow shovels and I literally saw someone trying to dig their car out with a big wooden salad bowl. When the snow plows finally showed up they were all from out of state. Now the city has a fleet of plow trucks, which are also used as security, they fill them with sand and park them blocking streets when the streets are closed for pedestrian traffic, so that nobody can try to ram pedestrians with a car.


mwbbrown t1_j6lb9al wrote

Not really great, but better then the south.

Here is the interesting thing about DC. When it snows, most cities want people to stay home and chill out, while the roads get cleared. But no one has the power to shutdown private companies. So you get the mayor on TV say please stay home and some schools close but nothing changes.

In DC, the Office of Personnel Management(OPM) can close all federal offices. This will keep more then half the people who go into DC home. It will keep the roads empty until crews can clean the snow away. It will keep thousands of people from getting stuck in grid lock, it will stop a dozen people from getting in accidents while trying to drive in the snow, and it might even save a couple of lives from those accidents, or from heart attacks of people rushing to clear snow before work.

This has created a scapegoat for every office manager who knows it's right to close the office, but doesn't want to look lazy in front of the boss. So not only does OPM close the federal government, a ton of med to large size companies just follow OPM's guidance. No other city has this type of massive, organized "call a snow day" system.

OPM knows the power they have, and they err on the side of caution, especially with DC on the line of rain and snow so often. If West Virginia and the edge of Maryland is going to get a ton of snow, OPM has to worry about those workers doing the long commute. So they shut down everything in the DC area.

It's cool as an employee, because you get more snow days (assuming it snows, F U 2022/23!) but it does waste a bit of resources on these mixed days.


Outside of OPM, big storms can shutdown the city for a week. When we get 20+ inches the only thing they can do is push it out of a few lanes of the road and wait for it to melt. They don't have the equipment like Boston to haul it away across the entire city. Also, 20 inches is like knee height, but in the city, where 80% of the ground is street, they plow it into the sidewalk, and you end up with 5 foot berms of snow. If you hear about a 20+ inch storm coming, then be ready to hunker down for a week. (good news is this happens like once every 10 years)


keyjan t1_j6aqus5 wrote

Badly. Next question?

Anyway, all weather radials on the car; make sure you have a snow brush and ice scraper; make sure your heater (defroster) works and get the strongest washer fluid you can. This “good down to 20 degrees!” crap is crap. Look for 30 below if you can find it.

Your best bet is to just not drive if you can avoid it. Power failures have been getting better and better, though. Heavy snow used to knock out power for days. That hasn’t happen for a while, though, knock on wood. 🤞🤞🤞 Ice storms are the worst for that sort of thing. You don’t need to hoard like a prepper, but make sure you have a few days worth of shelf stable food if they’re calling for a big storm.


PerspectiveTime2019 t1_j6brsoh wrote

People drive like they know how to without the know-how. Even if you are fine in the snow, maniacs are about.


BansheeLoveTriangle t1_j6c2j2x wrote

I’m from somewhere with lots of ice/snow - I refuse to drive in snow here because people are so awful and it’s been a while since I’ve had to drive in it much myself

The city does a crappy job handling it, but I’ve seen far worse, so I guess I’ll give them a C grade, maybe a B- since it’s not that common


kilod0g t1_j6dk3xr wrote

I moved to this area from the Deep South back in 2020. I had never driven in snow and had only seen snow in real life a hand full of times as a kid. I went through two winters with the same summer tires I had when I lived in the South. I’m not recommending you do that but I’m just saying that the winters aren’t bad here. Also, the schools the other day in some areas closed over the threat of snow/ice. It just rained. Which is whatever. It happens. Hopefully that gives you an idea. As many others have said already.


titansdc12 t1_j6ehwkd wrote

This is all true BUT one big exception is usually the court system. I’ve had days where all nova/dc schools are closed but courts are still open or just have a delayed opening, so if you are a lawyer or court personnel, better learn to drive cautiously in poorly plowed roads (coming from a lawyer who thankfully grew up in Boston and can drive in snow, but thought many times incorrectly my trials in VA would be cancelled)


sparkycat99 t1_j6fba2q wrote

Lots of road salt, few municipal snowplows so no snow removal. It hasn’t accumulated and been a bother now for a few years. If we do get snow it’s wet, watch OPM for work at home/school’s out, mostly melts in a day. No one shovels. If it freezes, it can get messy.

I miss the snowapocalypse fun.

I don’t think NYC has gotten any yet this year.


ZonaPunk t1_j6fyyd1 wrote

It doesn’t… but it doesn’t snow here anymore. So you are good.


CriticalStrawberry t1_j6gui0b wrote

It barely snows at all here. So when it does, we basically just shut the city down and wait for it to melt off.


bearface93 t1_j6ho0n1 wrote

I grew up in NY so the DMV’s handling of snow is terrible compared to what I’m used to. I-95 was shut down for a couple days last year over relatively little snow because they didn’t/couldn’t properly pre-treat it. Based on what I’ve heard from relatives who moved to the Carolinas though, snow handling here is great.


Malnurtured_Snay t1_j6ampfq wrote

Pretty much the same thing. The local CBS affiliate even does a "bread meter" when snow storms are a serious possibility.

Now, having said that, it's pretty rare these days -- or at least it seems to be -- that we get more than one or two "snow events" and most of them are pretty milk as long as you have bread and TP too mild.


Oudeis16 t1_j6aplkm wrote

They do not handle snow at all. Roads will go unplowed for days. People will never shovel their walks and will just wait for it to melt away. Everything will shut down. We have had the entire school system closed on the threat of "we think it might snow half an inch overnight" and nothing ended up falling.

One winter we had some snow. I stayed up until 2am shoveling every hour or so until the snow stopped so my walk was perfectly clear.

It was not expected to snow again for the rest of the week. I woke up to see that my housemates had decided to "help" by taking the entire full jug of snow-melt I had purchased and absolutely carpeting our dry-as-a-bone walk. The full jug.

Taken either as the city of DC and it's government or just the individual inhabitants, they have no idea how to handle snow and they never will. The barest dusting will cripple this entire city.

The plus side is that this entire winter long we're not expected to get more than an inch or two.

EDIT: To the people downvoting me, is there one single thing I said that's other than fully accurate? Or are you just throwing a tantrum because you don't like hearing ugly truths?