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Posted at 8:10 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: Snow. Get used to it.

By Lori Aratani

Good morning. Wait, let me check something. Oh yes, still cold, still windy. And yes, there's snow in the forecast. But there are also plenty of headlines today, including a renewed focus on the health care overhaul given a Virginia federal judge's ruling on Monday that a key provision is unconstitutional. We explain what it all means. Closer to home, it looks like they're may be another one of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's appointees may find employment in the Vincent Gray administration. Read on.

Up to an inch of snow? Something tells me we'd better get used to this: There was a winter weather advisory in effect this morning for much of the D.C.-region. Up to an inch of snow accumulation is possible in some areas, with temperatures expected in the upper teens to lower 20s.  The Capital Weather Gang says it'll be cold, snowy and windy. Temperatures will be in the high 20's to low 30's. The cause? It's something called the "Greenland Block."

Winter commute advice. No matter what the forecast is, few of us have the option of simply staying at home -- so Dr. Gridlock offers these tips for navigating your way around town during a winter storm whether you're driving or riding the bus or Metrorail.

Coming up:

Montgomery meets on budget cuts. Newly sworn-in members of the Montgomery County Council will have their first informal meeting today with County Executive Isiah Leggett, then will get down to business. The Council is expected to take action on Leggett's proposal for $36.2 million in mid-year reductions designed to close a projected shortfall of more than $300 million in the Fiscal Year 2012 operating budget. Newly-elected Council President Valerie Ervin -- a former union organizer -- now finds herself on the other side of the microphone and already has become a target of criticism by the county's union leaders.

New snow tool in Montgomery. Montgomery County officials are expected to unveil a new tool in the snow clearing arsenal today -- one that will allow residents to track the progress of snowplows online.

Today's headlines:

Va.'s health care lawsuit. A federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that a key provision of the federal health care overhaul, which requires individuals to buy health care insurance, is unconstitutional -- setting the stage for a battle that will likely land in the Supreme Court. The Virginia case, filed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is one of two dozes pending in federal courts around the country. Monday's decision by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, however, does not invalidate the entire law or force federal and state officials to stop its implementation -- but it does give opponents significant political ammunition.

Lanier to remain as chief? Sources say that Cathy Lanier likley will remain on as D.C. Police Chief in the Gray Administration. It's possible Mayor-elect Gray could still change his mind (neither he nor Lanier would comment for The Post story.) Unlike Mayor Adrian Fenty's controversial schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, Lanier enjoys an 80 percent approval rating among D.C. residents. But her tenure has not been without controversy, including opposition to her plan to establish checkpoints in the Trinidad neighborhood -- a plan that was later declared illegal.

In short. Virginia officials have approved a plan to build a new hospital in western Prince William County (Post); the lone survivor of a 2008 Medevac crash in Maryland has filed a $50M lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (The Gazette); leaders in southern Fairfax County as pushing for a new seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Washington Examiner).

Other items:

A new look for the Boardwalk? Something warm to think of today: Officials are expected to propose a plan to reconstruct Ocean City's Boardwalk. The project could give the area a whole new feel, they say. (WAMU)

That's it for now. Be sure to check back for more weather updates as well as news and headlines throughout the day. If you're on the go, you can get your local news updates via Twitter. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

By Lori Aratani  | December 14, 2010; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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