Did the City Salt the Sidewalks?


“Dear PoPville,

I was walking down New Hampshire Ave in Petworth this morning to go to the metro, and noticed that all the sidewalks were salted with the same ice melt. I noticed at first because my sidewalk was salted, and I didn’t salt it (but yes, I did clear it of snow with a shovel), and the salt extended to the stairs up to my house. Later down the street, I noticed that the salt also reached peoples’ front yards in the grass. Does DC go around with a truck and salt some sidewalks? I had never seen/noticed this before.”

29 Comment

  • SusanRH

    I noticed this too, but it wasn’t just my sidewalk, it was my entire front yard and walk that was littered with what looked like salt this morning.

  • This is actually snow, not salt. Wikipedia says that the name for this type of snow is Graupel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graupel)

  • I noticed this today, too, but I believe it was a quickly passing sleet storm, because it was on the sidewalks, on our stairs and all on the lawns of the neighbors. It was everywhere.

    • That would explain a lot. I could have sworn I heard rain/sleet early this morning but I was still half asleep so I wasn’t sure once I woke up.

  • I wasn’t salt, it was largish pellets of freezing rain/sleet that fell in the early morning hours. Looked similar to a lot of chemical ice melt pellets.

  • all of the stairs up to homes and sidewalks were salted on my street in Petworth

  • It is called snow… snow comes in many shapes and forms and sometimes it looks like dipping dots.

    • It’s graupel.

    • It DID look like dippin dots, didn’t it?
      I wonder what time it came down, did anyone notice? It must have been between 2am and 7am… I bet it was pretty to watch.

      • Happened when I walking to metro (Waterfront) and It came down around 6:15am, at least in SW. At first, I thought it was snow that had melted under the sunlight and refroze and then being blown off the trees/tops of buildings by the wind. Realized it was graupel, but couldn’t remember the actual name of it.

      • I didn’t see it but now I’m craving dippin dots.

  • Same thing on my back deck, back steps, and garden this morning. It’s what happens when snow and sleet get together and have babies.

  • I noticed this too – Thanks SuzinDC! I thought it was salt at first and then realized it had to be snow as the salt wouldn’t have made it to my front yard.

  • Others are correct. It is graupel, or snow pellets. They look different because the atmosphere above us, from which they fell, contained the conditions necessary to product the ice particles in this form.

  • It was actually little balls of ice! I tested one to make sure it wouldn’t hurt my dog’s paws. I think it hailed!

    • Do you have any tips for dealing with dog walking + salt? My dog won’t tolerate booties, and the salt really burns her feet. Do I just need to try to keep her on the snow and carry her across salted areas? Advice welcome!

      • Get something called Musher’s secret. Somebody mentioned it on here the other day and we use it, too. It’s a wax that you can put on the pads of their feet to protect them from the salt.

  • Agreed that what we saw this morning was graupel.

    That said, would it be too bitchy for me to dump a bag of salt in front of certain small condo buildings in the south Petworth area? I’m really tired of nearly falling on my ass on my way to the metro in the winter and these 2-4 unit buildings are the worst.

    On the positive side, a certain neighbor who paid $$$$$ for their new house and then proceeded to neither salt nor shovel last winter seems to have turned a new leaf after being elected ANC commissioner. I’m still angry that this person who nearly killed us all last year was elected but at least they now appear to be making an effort.

    • File a complaint on 311 under snow/ice removal. I did that yesterday morning, and when I walked by the property around 5pm, they looked to have hired someone. He was out there chipping the inches of ice off the sidewalk with a shovel. Could be a coincidence, but I’m hoping the city actually followed up with the homeowner.

  • As someone who lives on New Hampshire and had to wake up at 4 am to take her dog out, I can attest that a.) it was “snailing” – what looked to be tiny hail/snowballs and b.) the city doesn’t salt New Hampshire – I’ve actually been tweeting Metro to complain about the fact that NH & 7th’s bus stop has been a solid sheet of ice.

    • burritosinstereo

      Same goes for the bus stop at 4th & New Hampshire! This morning a poor woman with a stroller was trying to navigate the like 2 inches of solid ice on the sidewalk without busting her ass, I felt so bad for her

  • Now that is some freaky precipitation!

  • I woke up to what sounded like a quick sleet/hail storm around 4am and then saw the dippin dots/styrofoam balls on my car this morning…interesting.

  • I haven’t seen graupel since I left CO almost 20 years ago. Growing up in the high country (9,000′), graupel was pretty common in the summer during thunderstorms.

  • This is pure snow. It’s everywhere! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?

  • This snow fell in Greenbelt too. At first, I thought that the city had salted my car and yard as well.

  • I too thought it might be salt and was just thinking the city workers had terrible aim since so much of it ended up in gardens. Glad DC hasn’t decided to salt the earth just yet!

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