My First “Snow Day”

On Tuesday this week, I experienced my first “snow day”. It is a common precaution here that the federal government as well as public schools are closed for safety reasons in case of ‘inclement weather’, mainly due to the risk of icy roads. Many non-governmental organizations follow the lead of the federal government, including the American Red Cross national headquarters, so also our office was closed. These snow days are warmly welcomed not only by school kids but also by adults as they are extra paid days off. Many people have particularly fond memories of the Snowmageddon a few years ago when DC got a thick snow cover and the government stayed closed for days.

US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the authority to decide whether the weather is ‘inclement’ or not. In addition to their website, they give updates on their Facebook page. On Monday night, OPM posted: “We are working closely with transportation authorities, the National Weather Service, and the Washington Council of Governments to monitor the weather, road conditions, and closures. Based on all feedback, we will be able to make the best decision for the operating status in the early morning hours. We are committed to announcing any changes to the operating status for the DC area by 4 a.m.” This triggered 100 amusing comments from the general public, some panicking, some sarcastic, all eagerly waiting for the verdict. When OPM confirmed on Tuesday morning that the federal offices in the Washington, DC area will be closed, they quickly got 514 likes!

Before moving to DC, I had never heard the word ‘inclement’. It took me a while to calibrate what it means. Since realizing that the criteria is a few inches or so of snow and/or temperature dropping close to the freezing point, I’ve been entertaining my housemates and other friends with stories of Finnish winters. For example, when I went to school, kids had to spend all the breaks between classes outside, rain or shine. The only exception was if the temperature dropped under -15 Celsius/5 Fahrenheit! In Finland and other Nordic countries it is also totally normal that babies nap in sub-zero temperatures.

To keep up the reputation of crazy Finns, I delighted my housemates by going for a morning run in the “snow storm”. Here are a few shots from my adventure to give you an idea what was going on:


Only ducks kept me company in Rock Creek Park.


In Woodley Park I spotted a brave family sledding – or at least trying to as there was not really enough snow on the grass.


The basket ball court in Adams Morgan was deserted.


But there was some action at the playground. I actually should have run to ask them if they were Finns, too!

2 responses to “My First “Snow Day”

  1. Enik Rumpf

    Hihi – best post! You are making my Friday – thanks so much for sharing, my favorite crazy Finn! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Charity Hack of the Week? | Miss with a Mission

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