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Here comes the snow: A survival guide

Well, here it comes: the big one. It seems like years since Washington was socked by a sizable blizzard, but that's exactly what we're looking at. Forecasters are predicting anywhere from 7 to 14 inches. Old Man Winter has us in his snowy cross hairs. Now is not the time to panic. Preparation is the key. Follow these simple guidelines and you will be able to survive the 14 to 20 inches expected to fall on Washington this weekend.

Purchase milk, bread and toilet paper. No one wants to be without these staples. Drop what you're doing and head to the grocery store now. Note: In the event you run out of toilet paper, any soft, semi-absorbent material may be used: pages torn from the "Twilight" saga, PhD theses, newspapers (just try that with a laptop!).

Make sure you have an ice scraper for your car, along with a snow shovel and some ice melt. These essential items are available at most hardware stores and in your neighbor's garage.

Learn to drive in the snow. If you live in the Washington area, you probably have no idea how to drive in the white stuff. At the first flake you wildly steer your vehicle into oncoming traffic. It doesn't have to be this way. Here's a quick tutorial on how to drive in the snow:

  1. At the first sign of snow sticking to the road surface, reduce your speed. Fifteen mph is good if you are on the Beltway. On neighborhood roads, slow to 2 mph.
  2. Calculate your vehicle's power-to-weight ratio. This is a figure every driver should know. To calculate yours, use this simple formula: √A2xb/C+Vm∞, where A is the weight of your car, b is the horsepower, C is the 0-60 speed, V is velocity at impact and m is mass submerged in water to a depth of 3 atmospheres. Commit this figure to memory or write it on a Post-It note and stick it on your dashboard.
  3. If you should find yourself in a skid, suppress every natural instinct in your body and steer directly at the object you are hurtling towards.
  4. If you are driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle, accelerate slightly before reaching the turn's apex (power-to-weight ratio-2 /wind-chill factor x volume of screaming passengers), employ opposite lock understeer then double declutch and brake slightly at apogee. The reverse is true if your car is front-wheel drive.

On second thought, maybe you shouldn't drive at all.

Purchase a St. Bernard. St. Bernard rescue groups report that thousands of the dogs are abandoned in Washington each spring, purchased in the fall by people anticipating a snowy winter. Sad, yes, but, it's better to be safe than sorry. Get a St. Bernard now. It will prove invaluable in the event we receive the expected 36 to 48 inches of snow and you are engulfed by an avalanche. Note: Area retailers report they are out of the tiny, brandy-filled wooden kegs that St. Bernards wear at their throats. You may have to fashion yours out of an empty juice box or just tie a can of Bud around the dog's neck.

Invite some of your more corpulent friends and relatives over. They will come in handy if you should be snowed in. Donner party, your table is ready!

Say a silent prayer for the continued health of Bob Ryan. By the time the 96-inch snowfall tapers off Sunday morning, the NBC 4 chief meteorologist will have been up for 72 straight hours, fueled by a dangerous mixture of benzedrine, Ho Hos and pomegranate juice. We cannot afford to lose Bob.

Panic. Isn't that what we normally do?

Well, that's my advice. What's yours? Share it in the Comments section below. And join me at noon today for my weekly online discussion.

By John Kelly  |  December 18, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

It's the Snowpocalypse!


Posted by: wiredog | December 18, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

In situations like these, I follow the sage advice offered years ago on WMAL.

"ABANDON YOUR CARS!"

Also I bake cinnamon rolls by the truckload. But abandoning one's car is much more fun.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | December 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I got provisions last night. I plan to hunker down with knitting yarn and a pile of new DVDs, wine, light a fire in the fireplace and hibernate for the weekend. Oh, yeah, and I'll bake Christmas cookies and cranberry-orange bread with the radio cranked up with Christmas music. WCEI-FM is playing non-stop 24/7 until Christmas night. Life is good.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | December 18, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Seven to 14 inches? You call that a storm? Out here in CO we call that "a light dusting." Having grown up in the deep south, I have never found a CO blizzard to be as difficult as a southern ice storm. Hope yours stays snowy rather than freezing rain.

Here's my Colorado tip for your DC area snowbound: STOCK UP ON CHEAP BEER. It's amazing how much snow shoveling your neighbors will do in YOUR DRIVEWAY if you just keep beer in a snowbank. Helps stave off dehydration which is a real risk while shoveling in the cold.

Come to think of it, stocking cheap beer is good advice for any type of weather...

Posted by: outragex | December 18, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

There is no snow in my local 72 hour forecast.

However,
Due to the cold, the max temp for Saturday is a chilly 64 degrees. I might have to wear sox & long pants when I go Christmas shopping later today.

Oh to see Pat Collins on the side of the street, with a yardstick, giving hourly snowfall totals.

Stay warm & safe people.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | December 19, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

There is no snow in my local 72 hour forecast.

However,
Due to the cold, the max temp for Saturday is a chilly 64 degrees. I might have to wear sox & long pants when I go Christmas shopping later today.

Oh to see Pat Collins on the side of the street, with a yardstick, giving hourly snowfall totals.

Stay warm & safe people.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | December 19, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Where's your Global Warming now, Mr. Gore?

See:


http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/snow-in-dc-global-warming-deniers-rejoice/

Posted by: MikeLicht | December 19, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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