Washington, D.C. has had a long stretch without at least one inch of snow. In fact, it has been over two years since such a storm hit. The last significant snowstorm was on Jan. 3, 2022, or 740 days ago when D.C. proper and the immediate suburbs were hit by up to one foot of wet snow, closing local schools for a week. Given the timing of winter break, students often had three weeks off instead of two!
On Jan. 3, 2022, the Washington Wizards also played a home game against the Charlotte Hornets, winning 124-121.
That’s correct. The Wizards played a game in front of fans on the same day as a major snowstorm that caused miles-long backups on interstate highways. Va. Senator Tim Kaine was on the interstate then and drove 27 hours instead of two to get to the Capitol from his home in Richmond. Also, stranded drivers received bread from a bread truck.
Why would the NBA be so “mean spirited” during a snowstorm?
Back on Jan. 22, 2016, I wrote on this same topic. In short, the NBA schedule depends on arena schedules, which aren’t very flexible considering when you add other teams like the NHL, college basketball, concerts and travel time. Rescheduling professional sports games is pulling teeth for both teams and all venues involved.
And since NBA teams have chartered flights, they have a better chance of flying without delays, so they get a leg up on doing whatever it takes to keep these games played, even if that means some very sparse crowds on a snowy day.
All an NBA game needs for it to be played are the players, essential coaching staff, officials, timekeepers and building staff. Fans aren’t essential for a game to happen if push comes to shove.
So, let’s get to that Jan. 3, 2022 home game for a second.
Since the Wizards were home that weekend following their Jan. 1 game against the Chicago Bulls, they had nothing to do except commute to work after the storm — or perhaps stay at a nearby hotel and walk to Capital One Arena if they wished. The Jan. 3, 2022 snowstorm hit during the early to late morning hours that day.
The Hornets played a home game against the Suns on Jan. 2, 2022. After the game, the Hornets just had to take a charter flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling or Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport overnight to beat the storm.
If the Hornets or a West Coast NBA team were traveling from the western United States to Washington, a postponement could have been a bigger possibility. But I still think the game would have been played, given that this particular snowstorm was out of the DMV in the afternoon.
When was the last time a Wizards home game was impacted due to inclement weather?
Jan. 23, 2016. This was when the Wizards were hosting the Utah Jazz, but a blizzard dumped about two feet of snow in the D.C. area then. The NBA announced that the game would be postponed a bit late in my opinion.
When was the last time a Wizards road game was impacted due to inclement weather?
The last Wizards road game to be postponed was on Feb. 1, 2023, when they were to play the Pistons on the road that night. The Wizards were on the road in San Antonio just two days earlier, but a major ice storm created hazardous road and runway conditions, forcing the delay.
Finally, could the Wizards have a home game postponed this season?
Until another major blizzard slams the DMV, or a city where the Wizards have to travel from to get to D.C. at the right time, I just don’t see a home game getting postponed this season.
Even though the TV meteorologists and the folks at NOAA in Sterling have predicted a wet and potentially strong winter in the Mid-Atlantic region, long range forecasting isn’t the same thing as preparing for a storm on a particular day. Sure, the DMV has received a very wet last several weeks, but the DMV just didn’t get the cold temperatures needed for an assembly line of blizzards to hammer the region, like in 2010. And it’s very hard to predict snow in the Washington area due to its proximity to both the ocean coast AND the Appalachian mountains.
The current weather forecast indicates that there are some snow showers possible on Tuesday, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But as I wrote earlier, the chances of postponing an NBA game for snow showers are as good as none.