Remember those lovely winter days, huddling around the radio, waiting for the magic words to come: "[Your school] is closed today due to snow." Ah, the baited breath while the radio man announced your school's name, the resolution and elation that came with confirmation of closing, the joys of the unexpected day off, and occasionally, the hatred and bile directed at the paltry two-hour delay.
Well, Washington, DC is kind of like that everytime there's a bit of snow. In other cities, when the weatherman says "blizzard," he means something like 6+ inches. In DC, he means a dusting which may or may not stick. Of course, rampant speculation then ensues about whether the federal government will close down for the day. And when the snow does fall, citizens panic.
Now, I've heard it explained away by the fact that, because DC temperatures fluctuate right around the freezing point, snow melts and freezes constantly, forming large patches of black ice. I've heard explanations that, while DC may not be hit hard, traffic in the suburbs is thwarted by the presumable mountains of sleet, hail, and other "wintry conditions" (i.e. about 2 inches).
I am inclined to stick with my original speculation, which is that:
1. We all fondly reminisce about snow days, and the Office of Personnel Management (government HR department) enjoys allowing us to personally relive those moments.
2. People in DC are horrible drivers, which only spurs on OPM to let everyone go early.
3. Too many Southerners who just don't understand snow.
That said, this year was better than most, as OPM only let us out a little early on Tuesday and had a 2-hour delay on Wednesday. But I definitely give cars and DC drivers a wide berth as I walk around trying not to step into newly-formed frozen lakes of slush.