From the ABC 7 Weather team

Thundersnow ice-cream cone guy: an appreciation

January 28, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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A chat with the guy on the Washington Post's front page carrying an ice cream cone during thundersnow.

(courtesy of shoopdedoop)

Wednesday's electrifying snow is long gone but the questions aren't. Was it really unloading snow at an incredible rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour, as our instruments indicated? Did local governments drop the ball on road clearing, or were knuckle-headed drivers to blame?

But most importantly: What drool-inducing flavor would compel a person to duck outside during a raging winter thunderstorm to buy an ice cream cone?


That's the official word from 25-year-old contract attorney Zach Burroughs. He's the guy in Ricky Carioti's amazing front-page Washington Post photograph seen hauling ass across K and 15th streets with an ice cream cone. Burroughs' face is contorted with shock or rage or something in between. His pinkish collared shirt billows in the wind and he clutches the cone like it's a grenade and he's storming machine-gun nests at Normandy.

Wait for it in the Pulitzer Prize lineup.

In a phone and e-mail interview, Burroughs says that in case we were wondering, yes, it was "well worth the trip."

He also cleared up a couple of things.

First, it wasn't ice cream. It was gelato. And second, he's not insane. He simply had a craving that no amount of sleet, snow and lightning could scare away.

Here's his explanation:

"Some coworkers earlier in the day had gone down the street to Pizza Autentica to get some gelato. While I usually am not a big ice cream/gelato eater, pistachio is my favorite and I just could not resist. When I peeked about the window the snow was fairly light, so I figured I could quickly run across the street and pick up some pistachio gelato with no problem. At this point I made the critical error of deciding a coat was not necessary.

"When I got down to the lobby I found that the storm had picked up considerably. The light snow had turned into the so-called 'Thundersnow' and the wind had started to blow the snow horizontal. However, I was past the point of no return. I was getting that pistachio gelato, come hell or high water.

"I darted to the pizza shop with little difficulty but the trip back was much different. I started running back to my office while trying to dodge around the pedestrians and stay upright. Crossing the street was the worst part. At this point the snow was soaking my dress shirt and the snow was smacking me across the face. I also realized how much of a bad decision it had been to leave my coat. However, this fact still hadn't stopped me from eating [the gelato] the whole way back from the pizza shop. I finally got across the street and into the building. Mission accomplished."

Please enjoy these photos that the Internet has created in honor of Burroughs' wild run.

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