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Thundersnow!: The D.C. snow hole is, officially, kaput. A storm rolling through the region this evening is forecast to deliver between 4-8 inches of snow in the city, and more in the suburbs, with snow piling up 1-2 inches per hour at times. Thunder and lightning may accompany the snow, which apparently means the end of the world in certain cultures. Namely, those cultures in charge of the federal government, local school systems and colleges, and just about anything else scheduled for tonight, which all pretty much shut down. The U.S. will get right back to winning the future—as long as it can wait until the roads are plowed. -2
Always Low Prices (And Civil War Graves): 147 years ago, Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant first faced off against Confederate soldiers commanded by Robert E. Lee in the Battle of the Wilderness, near Orange, Va. Which means, naturally, that Orange, Va., seemed like a pretty good place to sell a lot of mass-produced imported consumer goods. That was the plan, at least, until today, when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. backed off an unpopular crusade to build a store on land used in the battle. Opponents of Walmarts here in the District take note: Fort Stevens isn’t far away from the Ward 4 location. +1
Ladyhawk: If most businesses were trying to capture an animal on the loose in their establishment, they’d call an exterminator. The Library of Congress had access to more powerful tools, and so it came to pass that the Fish and Wildlife Service helped track down a hawk living in the Main Reading Room after several days. The hawk, named Jefferson by the librarians, was emaciated and dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. Which means, apparently, that there is not a mouse infestation at the Library of Congress. +1
Pre-Planned, Spontaneous Official Fun: Last winter’s blizzards started a new tradition in the District—snowball fights organized by Twitter and Facebook, for any myopic little twits with good arms. (And for D.C. cops with arms, period.) The tradition returns tonight: “The Official Dupont Circle Snowball Fight” is up and running. Organizers advise bringing protective gear, not throwing ice, and not hitting moving vehicles. We advise that if you need instructions on how to attend a snowball fight, you probably shouldn’t go. +3
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 43 Today’s score: +3 Today’s Needle rating: 46