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Weather Fit for a Penguin...Big by even Wisconsin Standards

Kirsten Obadal
By Kirsten Obadal
Posted on Feb 10,2010
Filed Under News , Community,
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Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br />A walk around Old Town by artist-photographer Steven Halperson during the weekend's snowstorm turned up some hauntingly beautiful images and some<br />humorous.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography
Digging out.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - "Where I come from in Wisconsin this is a big storm, not just a Wisconsin dusting, which is what we call most DC storms," Father Dennis Kleinmann told his congregation at Old Town's St. Mary's Catholic Church Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />Major roadways were still receiving the usual treatment -- a saltwater brine -- ahead of Tueday night's snowfall, but as for side streets, many are still covered in ice, which render plows useless.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
Major roadways were still receiving
the usual treatment -- a saltwater
brine -- ahead of Tueday night's
snowfall, but as for side streets,
many are still covered in ice, which
render plows useless.

Snowplows, bulldozers and dump trucks worked non-stop Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday  in Greater Alexandria to clean up after "snowpocalypse" dumped three feet of snow on the city, and before the next onslaught of between 10 to 20 inches began tumbling from the heavens Tuesday night and Wednesday.  

As record-setting, unprecedented amounts of snow keep falling on the area, Metro continued to dig out buried trains and buses before another foot of snow hit the region mid-week.  

Alexandria residents flooded the Ace Hardware on S. Washington St. as well as Lowes and Home Depot to pick up shovels, salt and sand, in preparation for the next big blast Tuesday night.

The Federal government was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as were most school systems.  Metro offered only limited service, closing all stations located above ground and running trains only every 30 minutes. The threat of another, equally severe blizzard threatens to cripple the region and hinder emergency services.  

According to the National Weather Service, two low pressure systems are moving in a collision course off the North Carolina coast, creating what the TV meteorologist in "The Perfect Storm" might famously call "a monster."   

Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara<br />Photography<br />Digging out.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
A walk around Old Town by artist-
photographer Steven Halperson during
the weekend's snowstorm turned up
some hauntingly beautiful images and some
humorous.

From there, after gathering moisture, they will move north blanketing much of Virginia with yet more white stuff.  The Metro area could get another 10 to 20 inches by Wednesday, with more forecast for Monday.  The storm will bring high winds which could knock out power lines and bring down tree limbs.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has been treating the state’s highways, including I-66, Rte. 29 and the Springfield mixing bowl, with state-level resources made available by Gov. Bob McDonnell who on Friday declared a State of Emergency for the entire Commonwealth.
 
A VDOT spokesman told reporters Tuesday that if the streets in your neighborhood aren't plowed by now, they probably won't be cleared anytime soon.  "With the snow coming in on top of the ice -- that's going to be a battle, but we'll continue to work it hard," VDOT spokesman Steve Shannon told reporters.

Major roadways were still receiving the usual treatment -- a saltwater brine -- ahead of Tueday night's snowfall, but as for side streets, many are still covered in ice, which render plows useless.  "Our crews do what they can, but our focus still remains on the often traveled roads," Shannon said.

Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />Even the bikes were grounded.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
Even the bikes were grounded.

Officials have been asking commuters to be patient while crews work to clear roadways. They've also been urging drivers not to park on main roads and avoid any driving at all if possible.

Federal agencies and Congress has been shut down since the weekend, costing the Federal Government about $100 million per day in lost productivity.

"It's embarrassing that the world's largest superpower closes from a few feet of snow," Alex Krause, 23, of Los Angeles, told The Los Angeles Times. "The Kremlin must be laughing."

Fire departments across the region asked residents to dig out buried hydrants on their streets so they would be visible and usable in the event of a fire.

A family living at the bottom of a hill on an unplowed street in Alexandria needed to get their teenage daughter, who has cancer that's in remission, to an important doctor's appointment. Neighbors quickly converged, shoveling the entire street before many had even had cleared their own driveways.  Up the street, children tired of playing outside in the snow had an impromptu sale of homemade craft items to benefit victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The city remains under a State of Emergency due to the storm, and Mayor Bill Euille said the top priority is ensuring emergency vehicle and public utility access to all city streets.  

"More winter weather is on the way, and a Winter Storm Warning is in effect from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday evening," Euille said. "As of Tuesday, crews have provided emergency vehicle access to most city streets, and this will continue to remain our priority."

The current forecast says that 10 to 20 inches of more snow is possible.

Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />The snow provided a dramatic portraitscape of images, as captured here by local photographer Steven Halperson.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
The snow provided a dramatic portraitscape
of images, as captured here by local
photographer Steven Halperson.

"Many residential streets remain impassable and very hazardous to navigate," he added. "With more snow in the forecast, it will be several days before residential streets improve. Residents can help out by staying off the roads, clearing snow from their properties and around their cars without shoveling into the street, and clearing a space around fire hydrants and storm drains."

Residents may use Alexandria’s SnowReport system to report primary and secondary routes that need attention. Euille said that keeping streets clear helps public safety personnel respond to emergencies, adding that residents should be aware of many ongoing weather-related problems, such as falling snow and ice from home and building rooftops, potential rooftop collapses from heavy snow, and more possible power outages.
 
For the most up to date information from the city, log on to:  http://alexandriava.gov/Storm

The pounding snowfall is beginning to have an economic impact on the city, as many stores and restaurants in Old Town said they failed to get foot traffic in advance of the George Washington Birthday celebrations.

Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
"Where I come from in Wisconsin this is a
big storm, not just a Wisconsin dusting,
which is what we call most DC storms," Father
Dennis Kleinmann told his congregation at
Old Town's St. Mary's Catholic Church
Sunday afternoon. Here, Christ Church in
Old Town.

Dr. Stephen S. Fuller of Old Town, the director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in Fairfax, told reporters that the storm could have a withering effect on the region's $400 billion economy, but that there would be a subsequent recovery of commerce after the storms subside.

Retailers in Old Town said that they have gotten hammered by the recurrence of storms which prevent them from making up for lost business.

"Mother Nature has definitely not been kind to us retailers this season," Jen Donahue, the owner of Treat Boutique in Old Town, told the Washington Post.  "I think it's going to be really hard, given the number of Saturdays that we'd been affected."

However, some retailers reported booming business in the snowy weather. Grocery stores like the Safeway at the Belle View Shopping Center had lines snaking out the front door Tuesday afternoon as residents stocked up on staples such as bread and milk.

More residents appeared to be cooking at home than eating out. Hardware stores reported a boom in sales of snow survival items like snow shovels and salt. Area ski shops were also jammed as GS'ers who found themselves suddenly on mini-vacations took to the slopes of nearby Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia and Pennsylvania ski resorts.

Some area residents were able to find the silver lining in the cloud of inclement weather.

Old Town resident Lauren Wood, took her family on an excursion to Massanutten Ski Resort over the weekend, and reported “stupendous” skiing conditions at the popular Virginia resort.  

“It wasn’t very crowded on the weekend, but on Monday with the schools closed there were long lines at the lift," Wood told Local Kicks.  "The conditions were so good that many skiers remarked that it reminded them of Colorado, as we looked out over the mountain from the top of the ridge.  It was a beautiful sight.”

For Alexandria resident Camp Kaufman, the down time allowed him to engage in a little Haiku for his snowbound Belle Haven neighbors:
“Snowpocalypse” by Who Dat, circa 2010

Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />Four legged paws in the snow, a doggies delight. <br />
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
Four legged paws in the snow, a doggies
delight.

The flakes fell fast for a Friday,
The fireplace roared, flames far reaching.
Impromptu visit from neighbors bearing bourbon,
Whilst snow piled high in the night.

Day breaks anew, shovel staring at me Saturday.
The door opens, the dog disappears,
Sinking under a white blanket.
Whilst snow piles higher through the day.

Super Bowl Sunday Snowpocalypse
Nears its end.  
Victory in store for the Saints,
Whilst snow sits and waits for friends forecasted Tuesday.


To order photo prints featured in this article, contact Tisara Photography at (703) 838-8098 or email Steve Halperson at studio@tisaraphoto.com



Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />A few area grocery stores had lines snaking out the front door Tuesday afternoon as residents stocked up on staples such as eggs, bread and milk before the next onslaught.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
A few area grocery stores had lines snaking
out the front door Tuesday afternoon as
residents stocked up on staples such as eggs,
bread and milk before the next onslaught.



Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />Don't even think about going anywhere in a hurry.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
Don't even think about going anywhere
in a hurry.



Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />Snowplows, bulldozers and dump trucks worked non-stop to clean up after
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
Snowplows, bulldozers and dump trucks
worked non-stop to clean up after
"snowpocalypse" dumped three feet
of snow on the city, and before the next
onslaught began tumbling from the heavens.



Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography<br /> <br />Cleaned out.
Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara
Photography
Cleaned out.









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