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snOMG freaks colleges out

snOMG.jpgMeteorologists are calling for an epic snow storm in the D.C. area this afternoon: A foot or two of snow falling at the rate of one or two inches an hour.

snowplow.JPG Snow has just begun to fall from the sky in the District (that photo is from another storm, at the University of Nebraska).

But since last night, local colleges have been canceling classes at rapid speed: University of Maryland, Catholic University and College of Southern Maryland didn't even open today. (Here's our full list of snow closures, delays and early dismissals.)

University of Mary Washington closed at 10 a.m. American University, Prince George's Community College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Gallaudet University, Montgomery College, Northern Virginia Community College, Trinity University and Howard University are all closing at noon. George Mason University is closing at 12:30 p.m. And Anne Arundel Community College, closing at 1 p.m.

Our neighbors to the south -- Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia -- have also canceled (although, in their defense, snow has been falling since last night).

The newscasters keep saying that this snowstorm -- this blizzard, this snowmageddon, this snowpocalypse, this snOMG -- could rank in the Top 10 snowstorms of all time in Washington. (Hey, go back and click on "snowpocalypse." Seriously, it's hilarious. You really need to click on it.)

D.C. residents are responding and frantically preparing. Hoarding. Canceling. Twittering.

Last night Whole Foods in Logan Circle was transformed into a parking lot and war zone. I stopped into the Adams Morgan Harris Teeter but left when I saw the two-hour-long lines.

Again, I had yet to actually see any specks of snow until just now. It's not even sticking yet.'

I hail from the Midwest, where cold-weather-hardened administrators refused to cancel school unless the storm reached truly epic levels -- like double-digital negative temperatures, thick ice and, you know, flakes falling from the sky. A shortage on Puffins cereal at Whole Foods did not, in my college years, count as an emergency.

I can only think of a handful of times when class was actually canceled because of the weather and once when it was canceled the night before. (That night, the newspaper staff hung out in a bar near campus, watching the news and waiting for the big announcement we were sure would come. If school was canceled ahead of time, we wouldn't have to put out a paper. As the night dragged on with no news, we began to worry. Luckily, the chancellor did call it.)

I will soon be trekking from my warm, cozy apartment to the office -- fighting my way through the thick anxiety that hangs over the city, armed with a box of sugar-free hot chocolate mix. I wish I could have a snow day that's not really a snow day.

So, for all of you college students sleeping in -- let me live vicariously through you. Especially when this storm gets going. Email and tell me about snowball fights on U Street, sledding in Rock Creek Park, hanging out in the dorms, building snowmen at George Washington University or hitting up some of the bars that have bravely decided to stay open.

Good luck out there. Stay safe.

Follow Campus Overload all day, every day at http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. Check out our new Higher Education page, follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  February 5, 2010; 11:49 AM ET
 
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