D.C. Gets Ready for Winter

Snow drills and skating rinks

By P.J. Orvetti
|  Friday, Nov 5, 2010  |  Updated 6:46 AM EDT
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D.C. Gets Ready for Winter

AFP/Getty Images

A man walks at the national mall wearing ski in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2010. Hundreds of emergency crews battled on February 7, to clear snow-clogged roads and restore power to thousands of homes across the US east coast before a new storm hits, aided by some welcome winter sun.

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There’s a blizzard hitting Washington this morning.

Starting at about 9 a.m., the District Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works will go into full-on simulation mode, deploying 250 pieces of equipment in a major snowstorm drill. After last year’s city-stopping storms, the District and surrounding areas want to be ready.

So while the temperature will be comfortably above freezing today, and it will be cold rain -- not snow and sleet -- falling from above, crews will be out in force, getting ready for the real thing.

Could there be another Snowmageddon on the way? While preparations are always wise, Capital Weather Gang says it’s unlikely: “We almost certainly aren't getting as much snow as last winter. Probably not even close.” Instead, the months ahead are more likely to feature “long stretches without winter storminess and, after cold air outbreaks, welcome thaws,” and overall temperatures slightly above average. The biggest storm could bring no more than 10 inches of snow -- flurries, compared to last winter -- with only about a foot and a half predicted for the entire season in D.C., according to the Gang.

The NBC4 weather team, by the way, will unveil its winter forecast in about two weeks.  But on Thursday night during a live online chat, meteorologist Doug Kammerer said:  "As of right now, it is looking rather mild with near or below normal snowfall. NO REPEAT OF LAST YEAR!"

So there you go.

Regardless of the weather, there are signs of winter descending on Washington. Most of the leaves are down -- DPW will start hauling them away next week -- and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden skating rink will be opening for the season a week from Saturday.

And this morning at midnight, the National Park Service opened the online lottery for the National Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 9.

Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC

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