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Blizzard of 2009 Photos

Photos from midday....when we still just had a taste of it. I'm pretty sure we now have about 9 feet of snow. Don't listen to reports saying there are 15 or 18 inches. It's more like 80 or 90 inches. EASILY.


Just hours earlier there were palm trees here, and a Tiki hut.


I paused for some java at Snowbucks.


Snow so deep only the top floor of the two-story garage is visible!!!!!!!!!!!!


Just like Whole Foods, the birdhouse closed due to blizzard.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 19, 2009; 6:09 PM ET
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Next: Blizzard of 2009 Photos II


Could arrangements be made for snowstorms to end without turning into gale-force blizzards?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 19, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Snow seems to be slowing down. I deliberately parked my car across the street so I could have the driveway clear for shoveling. Tomorrow I will start an expedition to find the white car buried in the plowed up snow.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Cool pics Joel! (No pun intended) Sometimes I think snowstorms like this are just Mother Nature's way of making sure we, you know, take a break and, well, chill out.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"Runcible" is an excellent word that I should use more often.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 19, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for sharing the photos, Mr. A. I'm sure the palm trees will bounce back. Hope the tiki hut was insured.

Sneaks, I baked some of the cookie dough this afternoon...they are awesome! MrJS sends his thanks, too.

Back in the days when we still owned a house the path between the patio door and the grill was always cleared first. We were known to have barbecue no matter what the weather.

Posted by: MsJS | December 19, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Is a runcible spoon a spork? Runcible spoon is a much more elegant term.

Posted by: -pj- | December 19, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It is a made-up word, just like all other words in every language...

Posted by: abeac1 | December 19, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. The poor illuminated polar bear in my front yard is naught but a poorly differentiated mound of snow. I dare not even plug the poor creature in for fear of causing a malfunction.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

From The Owl and the Pussycat:
'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 19, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I thought runcible is what you yelled at Cible when she was being chased by a bear.


I think I should go shovel some snow now.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I rarely haul a comment forward, but here's one from the tail-end of the last 'boodle -
- - -
For anyone who hasn't already discovered this: More small (read: light) shovelsfull is generally preferable to fewer large/heavy shovelsfull, unless you're clearing a very short path. Might seem counter-intuitive, but it's the Word.

Speaking of the Word, I may have to re-think this whole theologically-skeptical thing. I feel silly saying this, because the pork is off the grill and ready for sandwiches, but I may have to "just say no" to the haram, and get down with the kashrut. There's something very appealing about the viewpoint that if God didn't have a very good reason for wanting two feet of snow on my sidewalk, It wouldn't have put it here, and I probably shouldn't mess with the Plan!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 19, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The sidewalk will be clear eventually, Deo volente. Inshallah, baby, inshallah.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 19, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

MsJs, I'm sorry but are you sure it's my recipe? I don't remember a white chocolate chip recipe - of course, I am old, so it's possible I shared it and forgot it...

abeac, about your comment on shoveling from the last Kit, if you take breaks to throw snowballs at people, it eases the pain, gives you an improved aim and just plain feels good!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 19, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you like your car yello?

Posted by: Boko999 | December 19, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I like my car just fine, but it doesn't have garage privileges, so the the snow removal task is all about keeping the driveway clear so my wife can get her car out of the garage if and when school ever opens.

My car is tough. It stays outside in the parking space across the street covered in snow until I have to work, which is usually later the same morning, when I brush all the snow off and dig out two tire tracks so I can pull out into the plowed circle. Then when I come home, there is a fresh clean driveway to park in.

During the last big blizzard, I had dug out the 24 inches of the driveway to the street. I then had to wade across the street to my car. My dog who was completely devoted to me had to come along and he dolphined his way through the snow just to help me out. Despite being a roan cocker spaniel, he kept disappearing into the snow only to resurface. It was the most hilarious show of canine loyalty I have ever seen. I miss my dog.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I took time to throw lots of snowballs at my kids and their buddies who ran down the hill to play.

I have two superhero-type powers. One, I can spot the typo on any page during the first ten seconds I look at it. Two, I have super-accurate aim. Both powers annoy students at school to no end.

Posted by: abeac1 | December 19, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi, all. You East Coast boodlers sound like you're enjoying your snow. I look forward to our first big snow in the Midwest. Yello, I had an old dog once (she was old when we got her) who absolutely loved snow. One big snow that year, the year we had her, I could just see a moving hump through the deep snow against the fence, all around the back yard, as she barrelled through it completely submerged, at full speed. She found it rather exhilarating.

I have a question for those who know Latin - I've googled and can't find an answer: what does per ipso mean? Someone I don't much like has used it in writing to me, and I can't figure it out and don't want to ask him.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I am very impressed with those powers, abeac, and wish I had them! My aim is not very good, and typo spotting is very hit or miss with me. Why do I have a vision of you bopping a student with an eraser from across the classroom? ( I know you would never do this, and only partly because they'd try to sue)

Posted by: badsneakers | December 19, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, it is highly contextual. In a raw way, it means "by means of yourself" "because of you" or "on your account" but changes depending on the rest of the words and syntax of the sentence.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

That is a great story. Chessie loved the snow as much has hated water. It was this weird energy he would get as soon as the snow started falling.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you have access to a spot across the street, yello. I thought you might have left it on the street where it was vulnerable to passing caterpillars. I don't know exactly how snow savvy you guys are down there.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 19, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki. Abeac, I love the idea of you with those superpowers, too. I must admit to being a little jealous of women who usually have someone to shovel for them - I've really always done the shoveling, for various reasons. Luckily, I always need the exercise and it leaves you feeling virtuous. And then you make a batch of cookies and eat 4 or 5 with impunity.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I am trying to get my head around the idea that eating 4 or 5 cookies with impunity is a justified indulgence, rather than preposterous self-restraint.

Nope, can't do it; it still sounds like crazy-talk to me.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 19, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The ScienceSpouse has conveyed to me a report from Simpsonville, MD on the National Weather Service web site that they -- we, because that is our area -- experienced 21.5 inches of snow (so far). What is odd about that is that Simpsonville doesn't really exist any more.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 19, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the long soak in a bathtub full of hot water, abeac! That, Advil, and a good night's sleep should do the trick.

We're back from family Christmas party. As I was washing the dirty dishes, Geekdottir commented that these affairs are never long enough. You know family is a good thing when the younger generation feels that way.

I was surprised to see cheese straws left when I went to pack up the leftovers. But they were snapped up by the cousins, one of whom promised her snowed-in son to bring him some.

When we got home, we had an email from the neighbors of the mountain place, with pictures. A good foot or more of snow at our house, and 20 inches on western slopes, they said. Mr. T is dying to be there in the middle of it. Me, not so much.

Posted by: slyness | December 19, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Mmm. Hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps. The latter measured out with a shot glass from the National Museum of the United States Air Force located at the Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. I dimly remember being sent there in the late 1990s, but I do not remember why. The whole trip is a blur. Perhaps this has something to do with "Hanger 18." Or, maybe I'm just getting old.

So let's go with "Hanger 18."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Badsneakers, MsJs, I copied that recipe for White Chocolate Chip cookies and see that it was posted originally by: km2bar.

Posted by: nellie4 | December 19, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy I have always shoveled snow, as my mom did, mom was never a wait til Dad gets home kind of woman, I am sort of like her that way.

Another thought - schools are not closed for the holidays already?

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, I suppose the good news is that all six football pickers were unanimous in their wisdom. Unfortunately, Dallas is kicking their wisdom all over the field.

Have any of you guys seen a strange, haunting South African sci-fi movie called "District 9"? Just watched my son's copy of it (on his humungo hi-def TV). Wow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 19, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Nice pictures Joel. Nice bird house too. Who knew? You, a lover of cats.

Hope everyone in DC land is having fun! How about some snowman or snow angels pics next.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 19, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Love the pictures, JA, all that white stuff is mesmerizing to me. And the photos on the WaPo website are fantastic. Glad to hear you all are doing okay in the great blizzard of '09.

Sounds like everything is shut down until tomorrow. I'm sure the stores are all very disappointed to miss out on the biggest shopping Saturday of the year. :o(

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 19, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness Nellie, I thought I had lost it even more than usual and had made cookies I didn't remember making and if I had, where did I hide them or did I eat them all in my sleep or something.

I have always shoveled too. When I was married, we lived on a hill for many years and I had to at least get started on it so that the ex could get the car into the garage. Now I shovel for fun and exercise. But we don't have a large driveway here and the snowblower does most of the work but I enjoy getting out in it.

When I was growing up, my dog and I would play in the snow for hours. He loved jumping in it and chasing me up and down snowbanks. He had long fur so when we came into the house, my job was to get all the balls of snow off the fur on his front legs and in between his toes. I loved that dog!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 19, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. A good day with the kids in the snow (everything shoveled and cleared), productive and delicious in the kitchen, and now I'm relaxing and enjoying the Cowboys and Saints with a mug of mulled wine. [Looks like the Saints may finally lose one...]

Not sure what tomorrow holds -- likely more of the same. And I'm Ok with that.

Have a good evening, all.


Posted by: -bc- | December 19, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I made the mistake of trying to go to the post office this morning to buy stamps - hah! There were 20 people in line before me to use the automated stamp dispenser, at least 50 in line to get human help. Unless all of those people were merely hanging out there to get warm before resuming their hobo tramping, the economy has not yet ground to a halt. They looked fairly prosperous. I decided my bills and such could wait a few days to go out.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

That reminds me, my last year of high school my parents rented a house for a year so I could finish school before they moved out of town. This house was just outside the built up area of the city. it had a long drive and big front lawn. That year we got a lot of snow, one storm that brought maybe a foot of snow, but this house was in the countryside and the winds made drifts three to four feet high, packed hard enough to walk on top of at times. Crazy cold windchill but my dog at the time a sheperd/lab mix loved bounding through that snow, also remember boyfriend at the time getting his car stuck in the driveway, and having his ear drum burst from the cold trying to get the car unstuck - think he had to stay at our house that night.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I know you, SciTim. You're that guy who always mentions breezily "I went on a diet last week - lost 11 pounds! Let's go out to lunch!" when I've been dieting and exercising for 6 weeks to lose a measly 10 pounds.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Ah, memories of storms. That house on the hill that I mentioned, we owned a snowblower but at least once every big storm the shearpin or something that controlled the turning of the wheels would break at the bottom of the hill and we never had a spare and we'd have to lug it up the driveway and shovel instead. We could never find anyone who would plow it, not a lot of 4 wheel drive trucks around at the time. And there were stone walls on either side of the driveway which necessitated a certain precision in plowing technique. The best thing about moving from that house was being able to hire someone to plow the driveway.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 19, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

That's horrible about the boy's ear, dmd. Was he able to get it repaired or was he doomed to a life of no swimming? My uncle has a permanently ruptured eardrum - kept him from being allowed in the Navy.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I hit the Post Office today around 3:30--no line and only 1 other person came in while they were taking care of my packages.

Looks like the snow has stopped here.

Driving around today brought back fond memories of living in Ohio. Seems like we got more snow there and I always liked it.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 19, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The snow has started here and the wind is howling. Windy, if the snow's consistency is right for it, I'll try to get "S" to help me build a snowperson tomorrow. An angel should be easy.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 19, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

No permanent damage that I know of Wheezy. As I recall wasn't until a day or so later it was discovered.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm sitting in an air-con room. I'm envious of your snow.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 19, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Several of the neighbors around me had chipped in on a snowblower. One person was asking around about who had custody, but nobody knew. I suspect it went with the guy who just moved to Louisiana. It's not going to do him much good there.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

The Bob Dylan 'Must Be Santa' video got featured on All Songs Considered blog and I can't figure out how many ways I love that video.

1. Accordions rock.
2. Great costumes
3. Bob doesn't even pretend to lip-synch.
4. No idea what the plot line for the guy running through the house.

And finally:

5. Awesome auto-defenstration.

In case you missed the link the first time around:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I can never remember what recently expanded hours are at the Post Office, so I still always try to get there before noon on Saturday before they close. Maybe it's a stealth way to determine who's in premature dementia - only the mentally fit can go to the Post Office at 3:30 on Saturday because they're the only ones who remember it will still be open then.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Run, Cible!

Thanks to all you snowy Boodlers, and Joel, for the pictures and snow reports. From a distance it looks and sounds great.

We have the tree set up, though not decorated, and the floor has sacks with presents and addressed Christmas cards. The rabbit is beside herself; she doesn't know what to chew first. Christmas is a high-maintenance time of year for rabbit ownership around here.

After staying up too late caroling at a party last night, today has been a blur. The Boy rehearsed for tomorrow's church Christmas pageant (he's an instrumentalist) while I addressed etc. Christmas cards. Then the whole family did Christmas shopping for almost everyone on our gift list (with a little random caroling mixed in), got Ivansdad new glasses, picked out & set up the aforementioned tree. I also did grocery shopping, cooked dinner, and baked peanut-butter Hershey's kiss cookies. The Ivansguys are doing laundry while watching Cowboys.

Boy, I thought I was tired before typing that. Now I'm going to bed.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 19, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Saints are no longer unbeaten. Ivansdad must be a happy camper.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 19, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, I have to look it up every time.

I noticed today that 2 Post Offices which were previously open on Saturdays aren't now.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 19, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I also love the names the reindeer get in the Dylan video.

And my car can be seen in the background of this video clip parked safely out of the range of any marauding bobcats or caterpillars:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Lots of ways to love that video, Yello, in the same way that I love the original "Little Shop of Horrors" or truly awful B-movies. Catchy little song, though. And lots of perky young women jumping up and down, which doesn't really move me but I've heard it can be a draw. Is it supposed to be in New Orleans?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

And if you click through to the original image size of this picture, you could read my license plate number if it weren't obscured by snow.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I keep getting a 1920-30s vibe out of it. There is so much unsaid that just intrigues me.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

OK, so an un-uniformed cop walked into a massive snowball fight in D.C., and ended up pulling a gun. That's definitely a Southern boy at work. Everybody who's ever been in the situation knows that if you get into the middle of a massive snowball fight, and all you brought was one piddling pistol, you are not going to like the outcome. You may be able to take out a few folks on your way down, but down you're gonna go.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 20, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Never bring a gun to a snowball fight.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I call them sporks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 20, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

(The previous comment was intended as satire, a prediction of how the story is going to end up running the 'nets.

Actually, it seems that the snowball crowd was being rather jerk-like [perhaps, in places, even butthole-ish], and the constabulary responded pretty much as well as could be expected.)

Posted by: bobsewell | December 20, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I love the Dylan video too. I hadn't even noticed the reindeer names. I have to go watch Enchanted now, but I'll be playing the video over and over.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 20, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

"Enchanted" is charming.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 20, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Satire is much like a joke, to my mind, bobs. If you explain it, the force is lost.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I had missed this

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 20, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Jumper, me too. I love Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 20, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all....I suspect the Dawn Patrol is fast asleep and although this is not your usual Sunday Morn Christmas music, I still enjoy "Wizards in Winter"

Joel, your photos are very nice. It seems to me that every window in every house, in every neighborhood is a very nice photo this morning.

I am extremely grateful that our sometimes finicky power was stouthearted through the storm. Rashers of thick applewood smoked bacon and egg & sharp cheddar casserole on warmer in the ready room, come and get it, coffee too!

Posted by: VintageLady | December 20, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Also, "Christmas Canon Rock"

Really beautiful, those Trans Siberian folks.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 20, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

New kit. Even more photos.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Runcible work at the Bailey??

(sarcasm) Congrats to the Saints on getting that monkey off their back so they can concentrate on the playoffs. (/sarcasm)

Sneaks, we had a long driveway that curved up a hill, and Dad was the only one trusted with the snowblower attachment for the 'ol Gravely... While shoveling, we would often attempt building a mini-bobsled run out of the piles of snow on the side of the driveway. And often fail. :-)

There is a simply darling photo on the Local home page of two crazy kids who plowed ahead (pun intended) with their wedding downtown, despite the storm:

RD_P might want to abstain -- the scene includes red hair on bare shoulders. :-)

*time-for-one-more-cup-of-carbohydrate-loaded-coffee-before-attempting-to-rescue-the-car-and-wondering-if-the-grocery-store-will-be-open Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 20, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Great video, VL. We went to see them a few years ago but I spent the whole time keeping my son's lips off of his girlfriend's. Young love, sigh.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!

Snow stopped overnight. Maybe I'll make it to Wake Forest today. Only if I can raise my arms high enough to finish packing and pull down the box full of Hanukah presents from the top of the closet. Advil, bath, wine, sleep, all helped, but not enough. I'm a mouse potato...

Yes, I threw erasers, but mostly, I threw candy. Sometimes to get someone's attention, sometimes to reward correct answers or interesting comments. Now that I usually teach kids with computers on their desks, I keep the throwing to a minimum.

Ipso: I always thought it meant "on its own" or "by itself" the way we use "solo" in Spanish.

Posted by: abeac1 | December 20, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

My favorite Jr.H teacher threw erasers. Some parents tried to "deal" with this. We wrote letters to the PTA describing entire Mr. Mac* experience, which softened their blows enough that the eraser play continued.

I don't throw erasers; however, I can -- when absolutely necessary -- speak in perfect Munchkin and sing entire swatches of WoO songs.

I have yet to cackle-croon the "I'm melting" scene. But I am ready, so ready, to say something about my "beautiful wickedness" and melt into the floor.

Here is the classic moment:

Last night's highly colorized (improved?) version was too too jewel-toned.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 20, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Most of Washington's palms should be pretty well insulated by snow this morning. They'll include needle palms (native as far north as central Alabama and Georgia, over to Beaufort SC), Sabal minor (native as far north as Currituck County NC), and a Trachycarpus (from China. They live happily in Tokyo, London, Seattle).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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