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Posted at 7:15 PM ET, 02/12/2010

Politician sounds off on D.C. region & snow

By Jason Samenow

* Flurries or light snow possible late tonight: PM Update *
* Monday snow? Detailed look | Watch out for ice dams *
* Snowbound in suburbs | Wind chill factor | Mid-Atlantic snow stats *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

The Hill reports Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made the following remarks on the Senate floor yesterday:

"I first came here as a student in 1963 ... I lived a big part of my life, at least part-time, in Washington, D.C. I never could get over how people in this town reacted to snow.

"I am convinced that infants born in Washington, D.C., are taken from the arms of their loving mothers right when they are born into a room where someone shows a film of a snowstorm with shrieking and screaming so that those children come to believe snow is a mortal enemy, like a nuclear attack, because I have seen, for over 40 years here, people in this town go into a full-scale panic at the thought of a snowfall.

"We joke about it. Those of us from parts of the country that get snow and know how to live with it cannot get over how crazy the reaction is many times.

"But in fairness, this has been a heck of a snowstorm ... You had every right to be concerned. Some of the other [storms], maybe not, but this one was the real deal."

By Jason Samenow  | February 12, 2010; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  Snowmageddon, Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Break in the action continues
Next: Forecast: Calm-ish weekend, snow risk Monday



Posted by: ChickenLady | February 12, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Those are very easy comments to make when you come from a city that is equipped to handle snow. As a native of the Pacific Northwest it would be similar to me mocking someone from San Diego for hating the rain. Doesn't make much sense to me, especially on the floor of the Senate. I know that when I finally made it in to work I actually had things to do.

Posted by: dcnon-native | February 12, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

didn't your mamma tell you if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say a thing?

Posted by: panthersny | February 12, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

He's an idiot like the other 99 of them. Manassas has received 74" of snow so far this year behind only Baltimore!!! and Syracuse. This is not normal. I'd say under the circumstances we citizens have handled this extraordinary winter quite well. More rain than Seattle and more snow than Alaska in the past year. WTH is going on around this area? This constant precipitation has GOT to end soon. Doesn't it?

Posted by: j0nx | February 12, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm so over people making comments like this. When we get snow once a year every couple of years, of COURSE we're not experts in driving in it. Add to that the fact that the entire nation has coddled our children to the point where they can't even walk to the mailbox without someone holding their hand and it's no wonder that parents and school administrations are deathly afraid of letting the kids loose in this stuff.

Also consider that the United States' fabulous legal system allows every yahoo who lives here to sue whoever they want whenever they want and you've got a lot of people who are afraid to do anything that might put anyone in a situation where they can sue.

Posted by: jef3r1 | February 12, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I am one of those native Washingtonians who was taken from my mother's arms and given snow shock therapy. I don't know how Senator Durbin found out our secret.

Lighten up, everyone, he was funny. I feel the same way abut the folks in Alabama who have now closed schools over what we call a dusting.

Posted by: motc | February 12, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

But you know ... he's right. Whether we love snow or hate snow, snow is a Really. Big. Deal. around here. Which would make sense if this were Mobile, AL, but Washington actually gets snow just about every winter. And yet there is a mob-run on the grocery stores every time 2" is forecast, it's funny!

And I'm not counting myself out -- when there's snow coming, much less already coming down, that's it, I'm glued to CWG, parked with my laptop in front of the window watching, canNOT concentrate on anything but SNOW, glorious SNOW!

And he's not talking about how crazy we reacted to this month's snow, "this one was the real deal." He's talking about us in our more usual little bitty snows.

Posted by: ChickenLady | February 12, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Another numbskull from the numbskull state! Hail Illinois! Or should I say jail Illinois! Go home Illini!

Posted by: GMorg11 | February 12, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

As Fred Grandy likes to address him: "Dick Brained Durbin", the name says it all.

Besides, Chicago has what, 45" of snowfall this season, which is one of their snowiest on record, yet we have between 70"-80" around D.C. (Which btw, is not far from the 89" all-time seasonal record for Chicago). I also don't think that anyone who has personal butlers, and security teams, is in any kind of position to criticize those of us who have to actually shovel our cars out, clear our walkways, migrate through drifts to the supermarket, etc. He can sit by as his servants cater to his every need, meanwhile we have to tough it out.

I also don't see people running around screaming their heads off here. I'm a D.C. Native, born and raised here for 25 years, and I've never seen anything even remotely close to what DBD describes. He's just another out-of-town idiot who needs to stay out of our business, and as usual, he's also full of Ship High In Transit material.

Btw, go tell it to POTUS Obama, the Chicago kid who's SUV motorcade became stuck in downtown D.C. (Mother Nature always has a way of dealing with the more cocky minded of our species lol). Maybe go bash your fellow snowbelt dwellers in Toledo, OH too, where they shutdown their entire city and declared a snow emergency recently over fewer than 10" of accumulation (In a snow emergency out there, you will be ticketed or arrested for going out and driving about).

On a similar note, hahaha, Chicago's biggest single storm snowfall is 23", which we beat in 1922!!! I have to say too, what does Chicago know about a Nor'Easter?

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 12, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, I was one of the many infants born and raised in Washington, DC. I have never panicked because of snow. I have welcomed it with open arms. I like snow. I live in Columbia Heights, and I never felt limited in my daily activities in the city because of the recent snowstorms. I purposefully live near one of the many underground metrorail stations in the city, and I was able to get around just fine with most of my destinations to points served with underground rail access. Also, my electricity is cabled underground, so now power outage worries for me.

I shopped for most of my grocery items well before the snowstorms hit. In fact, I waited until the snow started falling pretty good before I ventured back to the grocery store. I can easily walk to it just two blocks away. It wasn't crowded at all, and I felt that I had the store mostly all to myself. What a pleasant experience.

Now, I wonder where Senator Durbin resides whilst in the area for business. Is it in walkable DC. Or is it in unwalkable DC. Maryland surburbs? Virginia surburbs? That answer could be telling for sure.

I live where I live in the DC area for a reason. And, it is because I can walk to the things that I need to do to keep life going. I like being around other people walking on the streets. I like urban streets.

You see Senator Durbin, I'm one of the the many DC infants that grew up in this city. And, no. I don't think snow is our mortal enemy. There are so many people that move to DC from all over the US and the world that indeed don't know how to deal with or even like snow. I really don't appreciate your generalization.

Posted by: otavio | February 12, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Agree with dcnon-native. Snow around here happens just enough to be a nuisance but not enough for people/governments/public transportation to be truly prepared to deal with it. Or to *want* to deal with it properly.

I was amazed by the number of people speeding, tailgating, running redlights, refusing to allow cars to merge from suddenly snow-blocked lanes, etc. during both commutes today. Driving in snow is hazardous enough; it's downright frightening when other drivers refuse to change their driving habits to accommodate for it.

Posted by: md150 | February 12, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

There ya go - the best way to respond to a little over-heated rhetoric is with a little more over-heated rhetoric.

Posted by: benhere | February 12, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

@ChickenLady, so from now on should we all consult DBD on whether or not our snow is "the real deal", or should we rely upon the actual Meteorologists who warn us about extremely hazardous conditions?

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 12, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I don't see the need for comments like Dick's- it's like he is bragging or something. His comments would only bother me if I respected him (and I don't).

By the way, I'm not a native Washingtonian. I grew up in Western NY in the snowbelt below Buffalo. But I live here now, and it did take me 4 days to get out of my unplowed neighborhood regardless of my "roots."

Posted by: cgang | February 12, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I like the varied nature of you all weighing-in, above. Very good & glad to read it :-) I myself want to defend Washingtonians' behavior this winter.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

While I think his comments r true, a US Senator should b worried about what's going on in this country. I've been in this area since 1954, & yes people panic over the 1st mention of snow, heck they'll clean out store over a chance of flurries. Some act like they'll b snowed in 4 at least a week or more; even with all this snow I'm willing 2 bet 99% of the people were able 2 get out within 3 days. Every1 knows this area can't handle snow, but a US Senator has better things 2 worry about, so shut up & straighten out the economy.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 12, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, people, he's specifically NOT referring to THIS STORM. So sensitive, LOL

Like motc says, lighten up!

Posted by: ChickenLady | February 12, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

DBD is from Springfield, IL, which isn't even the snow capital of that state. Here is an excerpt from the State-Journal Register of Illinois, about the latest Springfield, IL snowstorm:

"By notifying authorities, emergency crews that might come upon the vehicle later in the day will know that the occupants of the vehicle are safe, and are not in need of rescue.

The emergency comes after the Springfield area saw nearly 5 inches of snow fall overnight into Tuesday morning.

The official total at noon in the city was 4.8 inches, according to the National Weather Service."

Ooooh, wow, you're so tough there! I am in awe of your non-panic! Lol.

WOW, look at your immensely deep snow drifts!

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 12, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

YES...and I think we'll get more snow to pad our record-breaking total...models are hinting at an event Feb. 26 which may resemble the March, 1984 evening-rush thundersnow. Don't knock the models...they seem to be calling some of these events a week or two in advance.

As for a return to rainy weather, the current snowpack could hold us in near-freezing weather the next three weeks...and there will be more storms in that period.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 12, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

The senator is aptly named.

Posted by: printreporter | February 12, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Why? What's a durbin?

Posted by: benhere | February 12, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Does Senator Durbin ever get outside of his Senatorial bubble to realize that a large portion of the population of this area doesn't come from DC--that a lot of those people screaming and hiding under their stashes of bread,milk and TP are FROM places like Chicago?

And if he wishes to take money from whatever pork barrel projects he and the other 99 Senators have on tap and put it into heavy snow equipment for this area like Chicago has, I for one will cheer him on.

Posted by: librarylady61 | February 12, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing that we have any snow here at all, or that we have any flora other than of the cactus variety, given the amount of hot, dry air that emanates from Capitol Hill.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | February 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I think the comments are all in good humor. Besides, who would want to live in a place where no one gets excited over a little snow? Illinois? Borrrrring. How happy are the kids in Nebraska who get to say "It snowed today, and I went to school!" Yeah, woo hoo. This was also addressed in an article elsewhere comparing the relative amount of money communities spend on snow removal. Places that routinely see a lot of snow spend a lot more removing it, and the roads stay clear.
I'd also agree that way too many people are on the road in the snow who have no business behind the wheel of a car (especially a car that, um, can't drive through a foot of snow even if the driver knew how) - and most of the tags aren't from DC. In fact, most of the people panic stricken in DC aren't from DC. You can find the people who live in DC standing on the curb wondering when a bus will ever show up again. Which is my final point - mass transit here is incompetent. Maybe we should instead be know as the city where buses only travel in one direction in packs of 3 to 5, and where the fastest (and safest) route along metro is walking above ground (in the middle of the street, of course, if it has snowed).

Posted by: manatt | February 12, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

@VATechBob, I think that some of the "panic" is from the reality that practically half the time an Inch or two is forecasted for our area, we end up with 1-2 Ft. of the stuff. Our snowfall is very unpredictable around here, given the Nor'Easter nature of our big hitters (Will they or won't they move further inland or out to sea, or will the cold air push far enough South, will the Low strengthen or sputter?) whereas out in the Midwest they often have steady, consistent snowfall (In other words, it can be a given in the snowbelt, but it's always a crapshoot around here). Regardless, I have never seen native Washingtonians panic as DBD describes over snow, and I for one can attest to the fact that we have some really horribly great Winters here (Just ask my family & friends from New England, Upstate NY, Finland, etc., who are most certainly no slouches when it comes to the white stuff). Even my friend in Toledo, OH was kind of ribbing me over our closures from smaller snowfalls, but she ate her words a week later when their entire city shutdown over 6"-10" lol. Boy oh boy, did I have fun rubbing THAT one in :-p

The bottom line though, and I fully agree with you, is that a Senator should shut his mouth and get back to work. Why aren't we hearing any of these likewise wisecracks from our snowbound politicians up in Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, Alaska, etc? Are the Illinois-Chicago branded slick-willies just the dumbest of the bunch?

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 12, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

What a funny guy!!!! Glad someone around here still has a sense of humor :)

Posted by: lizzybeths | February 12, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

What a jerk. We get serious snow like this about once every 5-7 years. I'm tired of these loudmouths from places that get this kind of snow every year. Of course they're better equipped and have more practice navigating it. It's a regular thing for them.

Practice something like this once every seven years and see how good you are. Keep your trap shut, Durbin! Go on back to Illinois!

Posted by: shepdave2003 | February 12, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

He is an idiot. The tables are turned when it's 90+ degrees in Chicago,and the wimps who live there can't handle the heat. Yet, old blow hard I bet does not make fun of people who can't handle a little heat.

Hey DICK, nobody forced you to come to Washington, if you don't like it go back home.

Posted by: irish031 | February 12, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Durbin should shut up. We don't have the equipment to deal with heavy snow as easily as, say, Minnesotan cities. I have never seen anyone fly into hysterics at the mention of snow.

Posted by: Langway4Eva | February 12, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

If Durbin was trying to make a funny comment, it was ill-timed and therefore not funny. I think it's comments like his that are driving school systems to be determined to open on Monday in spite of the mess on the roads. In VA, VDOT has been working hard to clear roads and the end result is that bus stop corners are now piled high with up to 8 feet berms of snow. I talked to neighbors from New Jersey who say that kids in their state can share the road with the cars under similar conditions, but only because they are able to clear the entire street of snow. In many cases VDOT has been able to clear single lanes only. Forget turn and merge lanes. Our high school has sent parents a list of the non-usable parking lots and streets - including pictures - in an attempt to beg seniors to take the bus. My son's bus has to navigate a slim street that is now all ice. I'm sorry we've missed so much school and sure, I'd like to tough it out, but we've just got to face the fact that this is too much.

And excellent point about budgets. I've been trying to look up the Post article that compared per-capita snow budgets in our area with cities that get lake-effect snow. We got a few inches of snow last year. We can't and shouldn't budget for this.

Posted by: angua1 | February 12, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

@benhere, the reference is to his first name :/

Posted by: RoseVA | February 12, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Durbin's comments were in jest, but still echos common misconception regarding DC area reaction to winter storms. I agree with 'TheAnalyst'...the weather phenomenon known as the nor'easter is inherently hard to forecast accurately where the snow will be and how deep. This raises the pre-storm anxiety levels resulting in classic rush to stock up. I've lived past 7 yrs in Minneapolis metro area and see the same thing when forecast is for a big storm, even though most of the snow just seems to build up gradually over the long haul as opposed to big dumpings... Btw, I've noticed they don't drive well in the snow here either!

Posted by: dvorak9 | February 12, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Durbin is a fool. He comes from a place where they experience 5 -6 inch storms because there is usually very little moisture to work with. He is upset because his servant couldn't get his walkway cleaned in time so he could get to his chauffered limo.

Posted by: MKadyman | February 12, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I think one of the biggest factors in Washingtonians' responses to snow is that our transportation infrastructure is at the breaking point on a *good* day.

I chose to take unscheduled leave today not because I couldn't get out of my driveway or because I was afraid of a little snow on the street, but because the commute on Metro and roads would be hellish, which I hear it was.

Posted by: AlexBike | February 12, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Take away Durbin's taxpayer-funded chauffeured SUV and platoon of staff and see how well he fares.

Posted by: DagnyT | February 12, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

part one of the sculpture is done:

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 12, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Ugh - who went and brought politics into the weather blog?

Every other comments section at the Post is infected with political bashing to the point of making them useless reading.

Please, oh please, stick to the forecast and weather commentary, at which you folks are so good - lest we all break down and start squabbling like nutcases.

Posted by: i4647 | February 12, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Meh. Maybe it will spur Congress to allocate a funding mechanism for Metro. They've already used up their scotch tape and chewing gum.

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 12, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

It's comical hearing people constantly bring up other cities

Does Chicago and other cities do a better job plowing and getting streets/cities open quicker? Yes

But even those cities would have shut down if 2 feet of snow drop in near one night. There is no need to exaggerate other cities

With that said, DC was miserable at clearing the streets, imo

Posted by: Bious | February 12, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm really frustrated with the city's failure to plow. Why do they go over the same streets, over and over again? And leave so many completely untouched, even now, a few days after the storm? We haven't gotten mail in over a week.

Posted by: motc | February 12, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse


I've been waiting all day to see your does NOT disappoint. You are great! Can't wait to see more!!

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | February 12, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Walter, that's awesome! And that's only part one???

On Durbin... the only thing that gets me about it is that he made those remarks on the Senate floor. This is what our Congress has become over the past 20 years: stand-up comedy. How ridiculous.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 12, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice work Walter! And I think we're gonna need a bigger sled.

Posted by: Melewen | February 12, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Walter -- wow! That is one awesome snow shark!

Posted by: natsncats | February 12, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Dick should get to work.

Posted by: tristesse27 | February 13, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I know, I was just having fun. I guess nobody got it.

Posted by: benhere | February 13, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

He must have been at a Giant just before the last couple of storms.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 13, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse


Couldn't agree with you more. We got our first mail today since last Thursday. And after two 311 calls, I got a DC plow to come down our street today (Petworth area), but it came by with the blade off the ground, spreading salt. I shouted to the driver to lower the blade, and he yelled back "it's too icy to do that!" That, of course, wouldn't be a problem if they had plowed ONCE over the past 6 days!

Posted by: petworthlad | February 13, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Like the shark, Walter! Is the other part of the sculpture the proverbial CWG "bigger boat"? :P

RE: a car sculpture where the parking meter had been plowed... If you're volunteering... Get off on King Street metro, take the pedestrian underpass under Duke Street, turn the corner without crossing the street, look for the Chevy Chase bank. If you stand with your back to the bank and look around, you should see the parking meter.

Posted by: MKoehl | February 13, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

I have been so waiting to see the sculpture what can part II be? Do we have to wait until the CLIPPER comes through?

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 13, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh and I think the senator needs to keep his arrogance to himself.

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 13, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

The transportation director in Baltimore City was formerly the transportation director in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If anyone tells those in this area that Minneapolis doesn't know about snow......

The other night, he was asked by an on-camera news reporter if the citizens of Baltmore and the area was overreacting to the snow. His response (paraphrasing) "I've only seen a couple of snowstorms that might compare, so no, the citizens are NOT overreacting."

Posted by: critter69 | February 13, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

My house was just shaking as a giant CAT came down to plow my street in Adams Morgan for the first time. It's great to get the plow here, but 1:20 am is pretty scary. I thought there was an earthquake. Still, better than no plowing at all.

Posted by: krosseel | February 13, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

I grow weary of people from these snow belt cities of less than 300 thousand who have this superiority complex about snow. The Washington-Baltimore CSA is the forth largest in the nation with over 8 million people. We are behind NY, LA, and Chicago. If we use Dulles or BWI (I don't think DCA is a good place to measure) to gauge annual snowfall, we are on par with NYC. Chicago get around 38 inches a year. LA does not really get any snow. For this year, we are the CSA with the most snow. More than even Chicago. Taking everything in consideration, we are doing a better than average job handling this event. Can you imagine if Atlanta or Dallas received this much snow? Places like Buffalo and Syracuse are cow towns compared to DC-Balt.. We have counties in the Washington-Baltimore CSA with more people than the entire metro area of places like Flint MI and Madison WI. Years ago I was covering a school hostage situation at Lake Braddock High School in the West Springfield VA area. I was standing next to the late Larry Krebs from WMAL Radio. A fairly new TV reporter approached Larry and remarked "I had no idea so many people lived so far out" Again we were in Springfield! My point is that even many of the people who live here do not have the concept of how big we are and the recent transplants do not have no clue. If you drive 30 miles south of Baltimore, you are in DC, 30 miles west of DC is Reston, 30 miles west of Reston is Leesburg, another 30 takes you to West Virginia.Three states, one territory and 8 million plus. And, there are people living everywhere north, south, east and west. So the next time someone from upstate NY or Mich begins to pontifacate about how this area cannot handle snow, tell them they are in the "big city" now. Or better yet say, "well you know, it is much easier to clear snow in a small town". That should shut them up (unless they are from Chicago).

Posted by: ntrlsol | February 13, 2010 2:51 AM | Report abuse

Well put, Senator! My home state is Alaska and I'm continually amazed at the widespread panic snow causes here in our area

Posted by: Post17 | February 13, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

People here aren't afraid of snow. Many of us grew up in places that get far more snow than D.C. What we are afraid of is the kind of governmental incompetence that we have seen this week. For anyone who lives in the D.C. metro area, it is perfectly reasonable to worry, based on bitter experience, that after a significant snowfall, roads will remain unplowed and public transit will be paralyzed for days or even weeks. It shouldn't be that way, and in many parts of the country it isn't that way, but it is here. Does the Senator think it's funny that people have been trapped in their subdivisions for a week, or that EMS squads have had trouble reaching seriously ill people, or that tens of thousands of people were stuck today in what the AAA has aptly described as "commuter hell?" The Senator's remarks were both ignorant and insulting. Doesn't he have any real work to do? Oh, that's right, I forgot -- Congress gave itself the week off because some members found it too difficult to get to work in all that snow.

Posted by: lydgate | February 13, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse


Would you be in favor of a 10% or more tax hike to buy the equipment that is needed to handle just ONE of the snowstorms that hit the region in the last week? Maybe a 25% tax hike for equipment to handle both of the snowstorms?

Remember: The storms that hit broke records that have stood for 15 to 110 years. The expected life span of snow removal equipment is maybe 15 years. And the record broken at DCA? They used horses for transportation back then.

If you don't like the idea of increased taxes to pay for equipment that will not be used through much, if any, of it's expected life span, then do NOT complain about how the region handled/is handling the storm aftermath.

You DO have permission to castigate the PRIVATELY RUN (as in NOT government) electric utilities that still have not restored electricity to tens of thousands (if not 100s of thousands) of area residents.

And do not forget - Senator Durbin is a federal government senator who represents the state of Illinois. He is a Senator who has little to no say in how the state governments (Virginia and Maryland) handle local issues. If you want to complain to a senator who might have some sway, you might want to discuss the situation with your own state senator in Richmond or Annapolis (I'm presuming that you do not live in DC, as most DC residents understand the bad economics of buying snow removal equipment that might, might, might be needed once every 15 to 110 years).

Posted by: critter69 | February 13, 2010 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Without trying to be too melodramatic, I have to mention something which just came to my mind during this entire discussion today. There is one interesting aspect to this entire comment of Durbin's, which many seem to be missing out upon. We in D.C. and NYC faced the full wrath of the 9/11 attacks, and anyone living elsewhere at the time simply cannot begin to comprehend what is was truly like to experience it first hand. DBD mocks the D.C. area snow response as something akin to a "nuclear attack" panic, yet, we in this area already lived through and survived the closest thing to a "nuclear attack" which this nation has ever faced. We also pulled together, helped those who needed it most, and brought ourselves back from the brink of untold amounts of destruction and chaos. Until he has to ever go through such a thing himself, with family and friends within the heart of it no less, he has absolutely no right even mentioning any such comparisons as he did.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 13, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

@Post17, if you are in fact from Alaska, then you would know the major differences between the two areas. What part of the state are you from though? Some portions of AK barely receive any snowfall whatsoever, while even the medium-level accumulative zones are now behind our levels. Don't forget that AK also spans out its snowfall over a seven to nine month period, during which time you develop a hard and rather navigable snowpack. Also, the plows, fire trucks, police vehicles, and so forth are all special order and customized to the gills by shops up there. Heck, they even have locomotives up in AK that have gigantic plows on them, which resemble tunnel boring machines, and they have front-end loaders equipped with snow throwers. There are also only around 600,000 people over an area two-times plus the size of Texas, with half of them living around one coastal city (Anchorage, AK). Most drives up there are short distance too, because the distances between towns are just too darn great, and many areas don't have roads altogether. Need I also remind you that just about everyone up there has access to a sled-team, an airplane, or a snowmachine (Not to mention studded tires, chains, and so forth). AK is a different world entirely from Washington, D.C. (As a matter of fact, it's a different Universe from most of the Lower 48 anyway), but considering that within two months of Winter snowfall we out-accumulated Anchorage, AK or Fairbanks, AK, then I would say that we've done amazingly well (You sure do have us beat on temperatures though, especially in the Interior lol).

I know most Alaskans kind of rib Lower 48'ers about how easy they have it, but if you had to attempt to make it up there with the equipment available to most of us down here, you'd probably be throwing riots and lighting your governmental assembly halls on fire (For heat most likely lol.)

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 13, 2010 4:21 AM | Report abuse

@dvorak9, what you said echoes what one of my best friends told me as well. He lives up in Brooklyn Park, MN (Just outside of the Twin Cities), and I asked him about the snow up there. I said: "So I guess people up there are really used to snow, and they're really good at driving in it". His reply was: "NO, they're horrible drivers. They're worse than those in VA, because they tailgate, speed, and cut you off like crazy in the snow. They can't drive". Lol, it's basically the opposite attitude (Overly confident), but it results in the same thing (Pile-ups, crashes into ditches, etc.).

As a matter of fact, read more of the excerpt from the Illinois paper which I linked to earlier (Re: Springfield, IL, i.e. Dick B. Durbin's hometown):

"By notifying authorities, emergency crews that might come upon the vehicle later in the day will know that the occupants of the vehicle are safe, and are not in need of rescue.

The emergency comes after the Springfield area saw nearly 5 inches of snow fall overnight into Tuesday morning.

The official total at noon in the city was 4.8 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Southbound traffic on Interstate 55 north of Springfield was tied up for some time this morning after two tractor-trailers were involved in an accident. It happened at mile marker 103 just south of the Sangamon River about 5 a.m., and one lane was blocked.

State police were busy all morning assisting stranded motorists and arranging for tow trucks to pull vehicles out of medians and snow banks."

Yes, you read that correctly, car crashes and salvage rescues all due to a grand total of 5" of snowfall. You see folks, rest easy, because those who often run their mouths in mockery, are they themselves often guilty of exactly that which they make fun of. Even up in Alaska, there's an inside joke. The veteran truck drivers up there poke fun of the "greenhorns", and they always joke about them "ditching" their rigs straight into a snowbank along the side of the highway. The funny part about all of this though, is that EVERYONE has brought themselves into a ditch at one point or another, and the ones who jazz the rookies the greatest, are typically the ones who found themselves in that situation the most often lol.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 13, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

I really dont think you can argue with the man! He may not have put it as I would, but I have lived here all of my life, and we don't know how to deal with the snow, even small storms. People rush to the grocery store when it is supposed to snow 6"! Maybe this winter will change all of that!

Posted by: snowlover | February 13, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Translation...DC/MD black people are afraid of snow.

Posted by: Italiaxxx | February 13, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Durbin is quite the Dick.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | February 13, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Dick Durbin was an A**hole when I lived in Chicago in the 80's and he continues to be an A**hole today.

Posted by: Viennacommuter1 | February 13, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Seriously you are all pansies. This last snow was incredible, but people here do freak out unnecessarily about snow. Normal years when we get the two or three occasions of a few inches schools are closed, gov't closed, stores closed. I can understand if we lived in florida and get a few inches of snow, but it happens here every year. Get used to it already.

Posted by: kixit1 | February 13, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Durbin has no business judging people's response to blizzards in a usually lightly-snowed on city. Durbin probably has a driver, probably lives close to the office, probably doesn't have to work crazy hours with a boss that doesn't care how dangerous the weather is, never has to shovel his own sidewalk or driveway, never wonder why there hasn't been a plow on his street all winter, stand in line at the grocery store, worry about not getting paid for not getting into work, worry about his power going off or wonder when his kids' schools will reopen. Durbin does not really live in the Washington region. He needs to be quiet.

Posted by: krushlow | February 13, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing how you can't read the full comment. He is not criticizing for this storm, but all the other times when's there's next to nothing and you freak out. Even the Obama girls called you out when they first had school cancelled.

Posted by: kixit1 | February 13, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Interesting range of responses, especially as the poll sits at 50/50 almost exactly. Personally, I'm very annoyed with Durbin's comments towards the people of the DC metro area, as while he may have some good points about the region's snow response, it's entirely misguided.

It isn't the stafford residents fault that a week after the first crippling snow storm he has still yet to see a plow come through his neighborhood, or the Rossyln resident's fault who can't purchase basic food essentials because the grocery stores didn't start to get fully restocked until yesterday.

If you search the web, you can find tons of information where even "successful big snow cities" like Chicago & New York have complete post storm failures. It's not just DC.

And of course the wildcard that someone mentioned was just the tough nature that DC snow exists in. Is it going to be a 5 in event, or is the low going to bomb out and give the area widespread 15? (See Wed's storm). It's easier to handle when you know you are going to get a 6 in event, it's going to be light and fluffy snow, and it's going to be done in 10 hours. Hardly ever the case in DC's micro-climate.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | February 13, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Like many of you, I am a native Washingtonian. Lived here all my 46 years and, I too, love the snow when we get it. I have two observations to the Senator's comments. 1) Washington is an extremely transient area. There are many people living here that have never seen snow in their lives, nor have any business driving in it. Most of the people I know that are actually FROM here, don't panic and can navigate winter weather pretty well. 2) This is not Chicago (or Buffalo or Minnesota) and trying to compare this area to them is absurd. Even on a good day, we face continual gridlock. Throw 3'+ of snow on top of that and .. well ... good luck! Now, back to Monday's event .....

Posted by: Bworl | February 13, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Let's see Chicago get 4 feet of snow in a five-day period - they'd be begging us for federal disaster dollars.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 13, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

This is a "Chicken Little" complex that infects this area as soon as word is out that it might snow. This complex is
furthered my the local media that has to report every detail, insignificant or other, tyring to wring any significance from every aspect of the storm. It spreads to the people and creates a needless hysteria.

Posted by: jonblackman57 | February 13, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

First of all, I'm a native DC'er and I've been in Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago during snow events and let me tell the folks there are no different than here in DC. Don't believe the hype. In Buffalo, the forecast was for about 8" - 10" and folks were crowding the grocery stores and clearing the shelves. There was talk about maybe closing schools the next day. In Detroit, it was about 5" inches of snow and in the taxi ride to my hotel we passed like three car accidents and the taxi cab driver goes on this diatribe about how folks from Detroit don't know how to drive in snow. And Chicago, the so called windy city, 12" closed down the schools, stopped The L (Granted, its above ground so that's understandable), and people were buying out bread, eggs, milk, and toilet paper like there was a production shortage or something.

When people come here and say, oh back where I'm from we don't panic when it snows...Bull****. The only folks I consider hard core are people from Alaska. I went to Georgetown and a friend of mine from Alaska would wear open-toed shoes and a windbreaker in 22 degree weather. She was hardcore and yes I would believe her if she said, no one would panic in this type of weather where I'm from. Now, the only difference between those cities and ours is that, they do have better systems of snow removal.

Posted by: clark202 | February 13, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, would like to defend Washingtonians and their snow response. We are practical and don't consider ourselves superheroes. I would like to know how many times a Chicagoan would tolerate having to get together with his neighbors to clear his own street with a shovel becuase, 8 days after the first flake, no plow had appeared. They don't have to deal with that. They don't drive in snow like this. They drive and travel on properly and promptly plowed roads, sidewalks and transportation systems. We get back to normal after they clear the snow, too. In the meantime, we do what we have to do to be safe.

Posted by: readerl | February 13, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I think we respond appropriately, especially considering that we don't budget for this mess, so it is more dangerous to drive in it than it is in a snow state.

Also, alot of our population is transient because they belong to the politics of Washington, DC. Bring in a bunch of politicians, lobbyists, and consultants from many other states and countries and we have many, many people that aren't used to snow (and not washingtonians) and drive very badly in it. It's not just us in this pool, yknow.

Posted by: bentoenail | February 13, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse


Agree with your post at 6:03 pm. I just have one quibble:

You stated "{Non-native Washingtonians] drive very badly in [snow]."

Don't you mean a LOT of non-native Washingtonians drive badly, no matter the weather? VBG

Posted by: critter69 | February 13, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

This is just another loudmouth politician telling everyone how much superior he is over the "normal" people of DC. These were record storms. With all of the hot air on Capitol Hill the streets should have been clear days ago.

Posted by: ncollie1 | February 13, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Dick Durbin has been here in DC for quite some time. Why on earth would he choose NOW, the one time when a bit of snow-related panic was actually somewhat justified, to pick on us about being weather wimps?

Posted by: gmg22 | February 14, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

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