Mulch Boy, a native of Massachusetts, would argue that we don't have winter here in Northern Virginia, not by his standards anyway. Last year was an exception, as we were uncharacteristically buried under feet of snow for weeks, resulting in the inevitable complete shut-down of the entire DC metro area, including the Federal government. Such events, however, are rare here, and the following are the more common signs of Winter Inside the Capital Beltway.
- The parkas come out. Sure, it's only 55 degrees out, but you'd think the thermometers had dropped below zero as the natives pile on their coats and scarves and gloves against the "cold."
- Schools close because of snow. To clarify, schools close not because it HAS snowed, or because a lot of snow is expected or blizzard conditions are clearly on their way. No, the fact is it MIGHT snow a quarter inch (!) (although it hasn't yet), and the closure is a preventive strike.
- The supermarkets run out of bread, milk, and toilet paper. One of the first winters after I first moved back to this area, the local news teams were all reporting on a Thursday that it might--MIGHT!--snow on Saturday. Perhaps an inch. Maybe. Every channel was broadcasting that Thursday from a supermarket parking lot, filming the carnage inside the store where panicky shoppers stripped the shelves of basic necessities to prepare for the possible inch of snow on Saturday. Which never came.
- Schools close because of rain. Because... honestly, I have no idea why.
- Mulch Boy grills outside in his shirt sleeves and declares it's still like summer and he doesn't need a coat because in Massachusetts people would scoff--SCOFF I tell you!--if you told them this was cold. That Mulch Boy.