Winter storm closes GW

Not even a foot of snow that forced GW and much of the metropolitan area to shut down for two days could stop Tuesday nights at Mister Days.

It was very busy, said Carol Shivener, the day manager at the bar between 18th and 19th streets, who stayed after her regular shift.

Shivener said the bar was not busy until about 10:30 p.m. – a little late compared to other Tuesday nights.

But the bar was running a little low on beer.

We were running low on bottled beer, she said. I didn’t have any beer deliveries since Friday.

She said the bar ran out of Miller Lite but still had other kinds of beers to serve patrons.

The busy night at Days came despite a fierce storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas of the District and resulted in the cancellation of classes Tuesday and Wednesday.

The University was open Wednesday but operated under a liberal leave policy for employees, said Barbara Porter, director of Public Affairs.

We hardly ever close, she said. Porter said the University would open on time Thursday.

GW did not make its decision on whether to open and have classes until about 5:30 a.m. Porter said GW administrators felt the weather information could change overnight.

The storm, known as a nor’easter, began wreaking havoc on the Carolinas Monday and headed up to the Mid-Atlantic states late Monday and early Tuesday morning. Forecasters admit they were caught off guard.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that many meteorologists cited some of the worst predictions by the computer models, which resulted in the lack of advance storm warning.

Most weather agencies did not get a real grasp of the storm’s movement until late Monday evening, hours before the storm set its sights on D.C.

According to The Post, one weather expert, a Virginia climatologist named Patrick Michaels, wondered if forecasters ignored a specific weather model out of fear.

He told The Post that one of the computer models forecasters look at, called Eta failed to predict the large amount of snow. The model Eta predicted the blizzard of 1996, according to The Post.

GW tried to make riding out the unexpected storm comfortable for students. Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said the Marvin Center’s fifth floor Hippodrome was open and serving free hot chocolate Tuesday.

J Street was almost fully operational except for the pasta area, he said. J Street closed around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. As far as any problems at GW’s campus as a result of the storm, Porter said things were pretty quiet.

The storm brought the largest amount of snow since the blizzard of 1996, weather officials said. In January 1996, more than 24 inches of snow blanketed certain areas of the Mid-Atlantic region, including Washington D.C. The latest storm closed the federal government and most public schools Tuesday and Wednesday.

Metro-area residents now must deal with the cold and wind chill effects. According to the National Weather Service, high wind-chill factor increases the possibility of frostbite and hypothermia. The National Weather Service advises people to wear layers of lightweight clothing, a hat and mittens.

-Francesca Di Meglio contributed to this report.

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