After battering California with severe thunderstorms and destructive waves a few days earlier, a major winter storm trekked across the United States and left in its wake snow and ice from Texas to Delaware. While parts of the south and Ohio Valley reel from a destructive ice storm that froze people in their tracks, most news coverage focused extensively on the massive snowstorm that was set to impact the Washington D.C. area.
Snow forecasts predicted doom and gloom for the Washington D.C. area. NBC 4 predicted 6-10", WUSA 9 predicted 8-12", and yesterday the National Weather Service predicted 10-14" of evil white sky death.
As of noon on Monday, roughly 3" of snow fell on Washington D.C. and the immediate area with more falling west and south of town. The heaviest snow moved farther south than anticipated and dry air helped to further cut down accumulations, causing accumulations to fall on the low end (or below) most pre-storm forecasts.
All schools and government offices in the region shut down in anticipation of the snow, but as always, the few people who had to venture out onto the snow-covered roads had a hell of a time getting around.
As word of this impending doom spread to the national media, all eyes shifted away from the storm's impacts elsewhere in the country and focused on the I-95 corridor. A wire feed story about the storm from the Associated Press focuses almost exclusively on the storm's impact in the D.C./Baltimore areas while largely skipping over the ice and snow that impacted the rest of the country. A story from NBC News only mentions the Midwest once in its opening sentence before the author gleefully notes that New York City is spared. Hallelujah!
This isn't the first time the national media got burned by hyping up a storm that fell short. Around this time last year, a predicted megastorm in Washington D.C. turned out to be a complete bust, leading to clever Twitter hashtaggers to dub it "#noquester" (as it happened during the heated sequester debate) and gave the internet this famous picture of a sad, baffled Jim Cantore standing on a snowless Capitol Hill:
Outside of the all-important Washington D.C. area, the storm left a very real impact on parts of the central and southern parts of the United States. Precipitation fell as mostly ice from Texas to Kentucky, leaving nearly 100,000 people without power according to The Weather Channel.
Up to six inches of sleet (which are frozen raindrops) fell in parts of the south, along with up to half an inch of ice from freezing rain, shutting down most schools and government offices and making it virtually impossible to walk or drive.
If you're sick of the snow or the media hype (or both!), don't worry — the National Weather Service expects temperatures to gradually warm up after tomorrow.
[Image via AP]