Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bearing Witness to the Blizzard of 2010 - Part III

No, I'm not going to tell you we are getting more snow, although snow is in the forecast for early next week. Today I thought I'd share the aftermath of the historic snowstorms we've just experienced. Road crews have to truck the snow out of our area, especially in Washington, DC. There is just too much snow to plow to the side of the road and let it melt. It takes time for snow "removal", so the road crews have been doing a yeoman's job with plowing and trucking the snow out of town. That being said, picture this - at best there are 1 to 1-1/2 lanes of road to drive on and it is Friday and the federal government announces there will be a two hour delay in opening, but the government workers will report to work. Private industry workers are probably, in all likelihood, just returning to work as well. So, what happens with this combination of factors? MASSIVE RUSH HOURS in the morning and the evening and thousands of commuters who are very unhappy. Reports from commuters of 2-3 hour drives to/from work. If you don't have the normal lanes available to drive in, thousands of people need to merge into one lane. Then, there are those commuters who need to make a LEFT TURN when there is no turning lane. Consequently, morning rush hour lasts until 2:00 p.m. and evening rush hour went until almost 9:00 p.m.

Guess what? Saturday the 13th was no better and because Valentine's Day is February 14th, you know what that means - the malls were jammed with cars, with far fewer parking spaces to contend for because of the mountains of snow in the mall parking lots. So we now have experienced a rare Saturday rush hour. And it's musical as well, with the sounds of horns honking at every stoplight or as driver's try to merge into mall traffic lanes. And don't forget the conductors of this music - I've seen more than my share of a middle finger gesture today than I have in several decades put together.  Our news media is calling this "The Big Dig Out."

I know, people from other parts of the country who are used to getting mass quantities of snow are shaking their heads in amusement at how the people in the Mid-Atlantic states are coping (or not coping) with these weather anomalies. They wonder why our schools are shutdown for a week (although with the lack of sidewalk shoveling I've witnessed near our local elementary and middle schools, I wouldn't want my children walking in the streets to try to get to school). Now state school officials must decide what to do - do they extend the school year, add time at the end of the school day to try to make up for the days already lost, eliminate some school holidays already on the calendar, or declare a special dispensation from the 180 school day requirement? I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.

We will carry on to the best of our ability. In a few months we'll continue to relate our snow stories and maybe even get a chuckle out of this situation we find ourselves in, but we will never forget February 2010 and the power the weather has over each and everyone of us. Note: Someone needs to remind me of this post in the middle of the hot and humid summer we will have in a few short months.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bearing Witness to the Blizzard of 2010-Part II

So early in the evening on February 9th, the snow began again and continued through much of the day on the 10th and then the winds arrived. We were in blizzard conditions and ended up with an additional 12" of snow on top of the 30" we had received five days earlier. This is a picture I took during the storm looking out of our front door.

This is a view of the driveway of my car and Jimmy's car during the storm (taken from of the den window). Note: we did not clear off Jimmy's car after the weekend storm, but we had cleaned off mine, so you can see how much snow we received on Wednesday. My car is on the left side of the picture. Once the snow started, it began sticking immediately and accumulated very quickly.

Thursday we awoke to a glorious sunny day, and I decided to brave the elements (the wind was still blowing a little) and take some pictures. This is our backyard. If you look on the snow slightly to the right of the tree on the right side of the picture, you can see a twig from the rose bush that is now buried in snow.

I went upstairs to get a sweater and noticed the snow accumulation in the alcove outside one of the windows in Kim's old room. Yes, we did get a lot of snow.

This has been an incredible year for snow, and we've heard a rumor that we might be getting more early next week (it's just a clipper, the weathermen are saying; it should only be a couple of inches). That's what they said about yesterday's storm. Schools have been closed all week, and there's a holiday on Monday in honor of Presidents Washington and Lincoln. At the rate we are going, the children may be going to school through most of June. I recall a similar storm in 1979, when I was pregnant with Kim and the kids missed two weeks of school. Keeping our fingers crossed that we've seen the last of winter's calling card for this year. Another note: with the help of a good friend, I was able to place these photos where I wanted them. Hey, this publishing thing isn't too complicated, now is it?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bearing Witness to the Blizzard of 2010

We'd been warned about the upcoming storm for almost a week, but living in the DC Metropolitan area, sometimes we get complacent about the snow predictions - not this time. The storm was coming from the south and we DC natives know what that means - we can really get slammed by a storm from the south and guess what? This storm was no different. The snow began to fall on Friday, February 5th about 2:00 p.m in Bowie, Maryland where I work. I finally left work around 6:30 and realized that the road conditions were such that I would have to drive a lot slower than usual (25 mph, if that). My normal 25 minutes drive home took more than an hour, and the only time I had a problem was when I turned onto the side street to get to my garage - a little slipping and sliding before safety arriving in my driveway.

Once inside, Peter and I hunkered down for the duration. The storm was predicted to last through 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 6th, and we were anticipating about 2 feet of snow. Around 10:30, Peter decided to rev up the snowblower for the first of what would be five or six times over the course of the next 24 hours. At this point, it looked as if at least 10" of snow had fallen. We had an earlier snowfall that week, and we got about 6", but the snow was light and easy to plow through. The snow was heavy and taxing on the snowblower. Our next door neighbor was out shoveling his sidewalk as well. Peter told him not to shovel in the morning and that he would use the snowblower on his sidewalk in the morning.

A little after 11:00 p.m. the satelite dish was covered with snow and we lost TV service. It wasn't restored until Sunday morning, February 7th, once the sun was out and melting the snow off the dish. We listened to the radio through the computer as well as the radio in our bedroom, to try to keep abreast of what the weather conditions were and if the forecast was changing. It wasn't, except that through all indications, we might be getting more snow than originally forecast. We ended up with 30" in our area.

Due to the impending snowstorm, we received notice that church was being canceled (the decision was made on Friday). Sunday, February 6th began as a beautiful day, with vivid blue skies, and we ventured out to document the effects of this storm. A beautiful crape myrtle, in the front of our house, was badly damaged by the weight of the snow. A magnolia tree in our back yard was lost as well. We began walking the streets and taking photographs of the snow and its impact on our neighborhood. As you can see, we did get a lot of snow.
I'm not going to jinx myself so I'm only posting 3 photos. Since this is the first time I've posted photos to my blog, I'll have to learn the ins and outs of photo positioning in feature posts. Despite the amount, it was a beautiful snowfall. Now, are we really getting another storm on Tuesday, February 9th?