February 12th, 2010
03:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Durbin: DC residents fear snowstorms like 'nuclear attack'

Sen. Dick Durbin said Thursday that DC residents fear snowfall like a 'nuclear attack.'
Sen. Dick Durbin said Thursday that DC residents fear snowfall like a 'nuclear attack.'

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said Thursday that he "never could get over" the way people in the nation's capital deal with the threat of an impending snowfall.

Washington residents get their fair share of jabs when it comes to their anxiety about impending snowfall, but the Democrat from a decidedly snowier region of the country took the criticism to a new level Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor.

"I'm convinced that infants born in Washington, D.C., are taken from the arms of their loving mothers right when they are born, into a room where someone shows a film of a snowstorm with shrieking and screaming so that those children come to believe that snow is a mortal enemy, like a nuclear attack," Durbin said. "Because I've seen over 40 years here, people in this town go into a full-scale panic at the thought of a snowfall."

Watch Durbin's full remarks after the jump:

Durbin thanked the federal employees who "came trudging through the snow" so that congressional offices could operate and tourists who braved the blizzard could safely navigate around the Capitol grounds.

Durbin went on to say that most snowstorms don't warrant the level of distress typically exhibited by Washingtonians, but that this was no ordinary storm.

"This was a heck of a snowstorm. You had every right to be concerned. Some of the other ones, maybe not, but this one was the real deal."

The federal government closed for four and half days and most public schools shuttered their doors all week as a result of the two storms that dumped more than 30 inches on the nation's capital.


Filed under: Dick Durbin
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    The kids used to go outside and play in the sno,now they are a bunch of wimp playing on their x boxes and blogging Rush Limbaugh talking points.

    February 12, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. susanj

    I agree with the Senator. Our firm's satellite office in Washington was closed for 4 days, while the firm in Philadelphia where I work was opened. Big babies.

    February 12, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. NSR

    We get that way, Dick, because the system isn't built to HANDLE snow like that. Perhaps you've been here TOO long.

    February 12, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Moderate Voter

    What a dumb comment by Durbin, Illinois-arrogant. It has never snowed this much in DC ever, and we have to deal with digging out and getting on with our lives WITHOUT any help from the federal government. Congress taxes us, does not represent us, and then adds jabs like that. It is a long history of Congress failing both the people of DC as well as its constitutional responsibility as a steward for DC.

    February 12, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Why not put the blame where it belongs. WE used to shovel snow – we didn't sit around waiting for the city or state to do it for us.

    Except for Interstates, the gov should NOT be your snow shoveler. (although the congress has gotten pretty good at shoveling "something" that isn't white down our throats).

    February 12, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Tre

    Some special interest group: (AAS) Americans Against Snow will demand an apology, or some mother.... i lost my son in a snow storm. How insensitive.

    February 12, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. K (DC)

    Dam he is right, almost got stampeded trying to purchase some milk and bread then drove 2 MPH behind a panic driver while trying to get home.

    February 12, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    Native American Children in South and North Dakota gravely need your help with food, medicine, shelter and many of them have no power while the horrific blizzard sweeps over their reservations.

    Navajo Background: "Centuries of abuse and neglect of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States has not ended. Our reservations are still like third world countries. When massive ice storms and high winds hit the reservations in the Dakotas mid January poor housing, weak heating systems, sparse cupboards, lack of warm clothing and health problems make it difficult to survive. Add to that a utilities infrastructure that was brought to its knees on the Cheyenne River Reservation when 3000 poles and power lines came down from 6 inches of ice weight also crippling the water system. Ongoing storm conditions hampered repair. The reservation has been without power since Jan. 21st and Federal funds are still weeks away".

    The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Home Assistance) programs ran out of winter funding in early December.

    February 12, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. DC denzian

    I grew up in upstate NY. Now I live in the DC area.

    I think the people here did a fine job of dealing with the snow – much better than normal.

    Here's a clue: IT WAS BAD. Some places got upwards of 50 inches of snow in 5 days between the two storms. There weren't enough plows to go around and there are STILL unplowed roads – that's why people were told to stay home and not go to work. People made due. Most stayed off the roads – SMART!

    February 12, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    If you've spent 40-years in the nations Capital. . . you're no longer from a "snowier region of the country".

    February 12, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Slave labor toyotas are great,hahaha

    Hows that rice burner you bought Dick?Gotta love that scab labor made junk, made in southern states.

    February 12, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is true, it is sooo true! Having grown up in NYC, and attended schools both in the midwest and upstate NY I agree 1000%. The folks in this area do not know how to drive in the best of weather let alone when any type of precipitation threatens. Add to that an almost irrational fear of running out of toilet paper, milk, bread, and eggsand you have all the makings for the pre-snow "hysteria" that accompanies every weather forecast that involves 2 or more inches of the white stuff!

    I gotta tell you though, this time I FREAKED OUT RIGHT WITH THE BEST OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!! lmao!!

    February 12, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. dc_dude

    susanj-
    I don't think you got over 42 inches of snow in Philly, in two storms over four days. Lost power completely for two of those days. If you got what we got, you wouldn't be calling us babies. I grew up in Toledo, and this was a huge two-punch of storms, the most ever in DC.

    February 12, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. tom lema

    Im from buffalo we didnt panic in 77, 84 or 2001 when we had 7 feet of snow in a couple day period' but we are used to it' . I must admit that if your not from an area that can handle it well you have every right to be a bit freaked out'

    February 12, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Will

    Actually dc_dude, we did get that much in Philly. 28 inches over the weekend and another 20 or so after that. Thousands without power.

    February 12, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Hous bin Pharteen

    My brother, I bin Pharteen and his wife, Shaif Uoorbush will shovel your driveway for a fee.

    February 12, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Sheila

    Hey, Dick: It's not the snow that scares us, it's the TRAFFIC. On a normal day commuting in the DC metro area is already a nightmare. We have roads that are filled to capacity every day. If you take a road that is, say, two lanes plus turn lanes or exit lanes in either direction, try putting the same amount of cars out there when that road is narrowed down to a lane and a half in either direction – no turn lanes or exit ramps – and see how much you would look forward to that.

    February 12, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Will

    Actually dc_dude, we did get that much in Philly. 28 inches over the weekend and another 20 or so after that. Thousands without power. Most ever for Philly this year between these two and the 2 feet we got in December.

    February 12, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. gee

    he is right

    February 12, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Mike B.

    I am usually a supporter of Durbin, but this is a stupid statement he made. Perhaps he should propose federal funding for the DC Metro area for more shovel trucks, sand and salt. Otherwise, he should use Senate floor time for more pressing issues than whining about DC being struck by a storm that it cannot handle. This is not Chicago or Buffalo or Madison, etc.

    February 12, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Jason

    What a bunch of crap. The people here don't "panic", that's just nonsense.To be relative, this would be like Durbin's town getting 10 feet of snow and then being called a bunch of wimps by the Eskimos.

    The most snow in a hundred years has consequences. The city is paralyzed because even without the snow, traffic is almost unbearable. So, throw in the loss of many lanes and the region grinds to a halt. We don't have the equipment to deal with this quickly.

    February 12, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. FnordTaurus

    complain all you want but people in LA act like this when it RAINS.

    February 12, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    As a resident of the area I would like to tell those who keep complaining about us to try to live for one hour in our shoes.
    This area is too spread out. Our transportation system is not as good as NYC (where you can probably walk anywhere). If you live in the suburbs of MD or VA, or even WV, and you work in the District the only way to get in is to drive yourself to the city or drive yourself to the Metro.
    The Baltimore area received close to 50" of snow and this winter we have had 79.9" of snow. We will break 80" with another storm this coming Monday.
    This is not just a couple of inches of snow where the SVUers think they can go out and play like silly little children and cause accidents.

    February 12, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. polly

    LOL...they don't make Americans like they used to.

    February 12, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Angela

    Amen, Dick Durbin, Amen.
    I cannot believe the ignorance of the DC people. The sad part is that they act the same way with 30 inches of snow the same with 8 inches!
    Being from the same, real city that Durbin is, I cannot understand that every time it snows it is a national crisis. In the real world, nothing is closed down – except the schools – for a day! and life goes on. The City is not responsible for plowing side streets – it will melt by May, and my goodness, public transportation is NEVER shutdown!

    February 12, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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