Washington residents prepare for what could be a historic blizzard

A light dusting of snow fell on Washington, D.C., this week, paralyzing the city. So with more than 60 centimetres forecast to fall over the weekend, residents in the U.S. capital are bracing for the worst. Here's how a few people plan on weathering the storm.

At least 60 cm of snow forecast to land on U.S. capital over the weekend

Residents in Washington, D.C., were clearing grocery store shelves and stocking up on alcohol in the lead-up to a mid-Atlantic blizzard that's projected to drop 60 centimetres of snow on the city over the weekend. (CBC)

Washington, D.C., residents are bracing for major mayhem as meteorologists predict a blizzard could dump 60 centimetres of snow on the U.S. capital over the weekend.

The city is ill-prepared to deal with what could be a historic mid-Atlantic storm. A light dusting of snow fell on Washington his week, and it paralyzed the city.

Residents in the District of Columbia are under a state of emergency.

The Washington Metro announced it would shut down for days. Schools are closed. Store shelves were picked clean by Thursday night. And long lineups are expected at hardware store checkout counters.

Residents are heeding a state of emergency call to stock up on supplies and food. Some are relishing the chance to camp out at home, while others are looking forward to sledding on Capitol Hill. Some residents shared their plans with us:

Norman Beal

Norman Beal, shopping at a Washington supermarket, said he's looking forward to some quality time with his wife in front of the fireplace this weekend. (Jason Lowther/CBC)

We're excited. Some people hate it, I don't care. It's just the idea that they're talking about not being able to get out for two or three days, and I'm happy to stay in.

Anything over eight inches around here, the city stands still anyway. Now we're talking about maybe triple that amount? And not being able to go outside? Your car's going to be snowed in, then the snowplow comes down and puts a bank of snow, so you may be digging out and fully able to move around by next Wednesday, which is comical.

We're not going to have anything to do other than look at each other and hug, so we might as well have fun. Light the fireplace, watch the snow, we're not going to have any company because nobody's going to able to go out so we're going to have fun at home. Alone!

Adam Eidinger

Aside from stocking up on food and toilet paper, Adam Eidinger bought flowers to cheer himself up as plans to hunker down in his home on the weekend. (Jason Lowther/CBC)

I've lived here for 24 years, and I've been through a number of blizzards in Washington, D.C., before and the city really shuts down. I mean, you can't drive, the roads are covered for days, it happens. We get 20-30 inches of snow and the place will be shut down for days.

I have a shopping cart with the essentials here. I'm buying a little bit more bread, a little bit more milk. I've made sure I have enough toilet paper. But I'm also buying some flowers because I want to cheer myself up as we get snowed in for a week.

I'm originally from Pittsburgh, and I feel like D.C.'s kind of wimpy with the snow. I'm not afraid of it. My daughter and I are going to go sled-riding at the Capitol!

Tory Jason

Tory Jason, who used to live in Mississauga, Ont., says she was taking the government's advice to shop early and stock up on food and booze. (Jason Lowther/CBC)

D.C. shuts down. Just everything stops and people panic, I guess, which is what I'm doing. I'm panicking because I'm nervous that I didn't have enough food, and now the grocery stores are now going to be sold out of everything, is what I've heard.

I have dual citizenship with Canada. I'm from Toronto, but I was born in Massachusetts. I've only lived in in D.C. for a couple of months, so this is the most south I've ever lived, so it's pretty wild.

I'm just buying vegetables. Maybe a little bit of alcohol. The necessities, you know.

Sophie Stevens

Bartender Sophie Stevens expects she'll be walking several miles to work on the weekend. The Metro system will be shut down due to the anticipated snowfall. (Jason Lowther/CBC)

Washington has a lot of very organized people in a small amount of space. And because of that, there are a lot of people who just want to have everything covered, so there's less of a hysteria and more of just wanting to build your stores and then be safe no matter what happens.

This weekend I will probably have to trudge miles to get to work because the metro system will be down and the roads will be closed. And I still have to go in because people will want to drink, because they can walk to their local bar. But I have to walk to that bar to serve them.

Gina Schaefer

Gina Schaefer, owner of a downtown Washington hardware store, said the shop is trying to keep up with demand for shovels and salt. (Jason Lowther/CBC)

We have sold about 15,000 pieces of ice melt in the last two days. We have more coming in, it's been incredible, obviously people are concerned and they've been preparing in advance, which is nice.

We have more salt coming in this afternoon, we hope we have more shovels coming.

People also want to buy sleds. Everybody wants to go sledding if this is going to happen. So sleds are fun, ice melts, shovels, ice scrapers, firewood, fireplace screens. I think a lot of people who haven't used their fireplaces this year have just found them.