Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Record Snow Event

We had a record snow event here today.

The forecast was bad enough where people were planning to work from home before leaving the office last night. I was one of them. I made sure that I had my laptop and power cord before I left. As long as the electricity and Internet stayed up I'd be able to work.

It wasn't snowing when I went to bed last night.

I slept in a little bit this morning, since I didn't have to catch the early bus. I got up at 6:30 when the dog started flapping his ears and whimpering to let me know that he needed to go outside. We both had a shock waiting for us when I opened the back door to let him out: 18" of snow had fallen overnight, and it was still snowing hard! Somebody had a cold, wet tummy when he came back inside.

I made some tea, ate a quick breakfast, and headed outside to start clearing off the driveway. I didn't have plans to leave, but I knew that I'd need a couple of passes on the driveway to keep it clear.

A year ago I finally broke down and bought a Honda snow thrower. I had cleared my modest driveway and sidewalks with a shovel all my life, but a December nor'easter convinced me that I should spare my back and get some help. I was happy with my purchase right away, but today it was a life saver. The snow spilled over the top of my 18" tall snow thrower when I started. It was still a chore to push it through all that snow, but it kept up nicely.

A modest snowfall would usually require 45-60 minutes of effort with a shovel to clear off the driveway. Today it took me two hours, even with the help of the thrower. The stuff that was packed into the end of the driveway by the snow plows was truly heart attack snow. I don't know that I could have gotten through it without mechanical assistance.

The snow was falling so fast that there were 2" on the part where I started by the time I was done. I had to do a second pass right away! But the worst was over.

I went inside, fired up the laptop, and drove revenue for my employer all day. I went out again at dusk to take another shot at it. A fresh 6" had fallen since morning, bringing our total for the day into the neighborhood of two feet of snow.

Yes, it's a record for this area.

If winter ended tomorrow, and we didn't get another flake of snow until next winter, we'd already be over the average snowfall for the year.

The last memorable years for snowfall were 1995-1996. They were two record totals in a row. We seemed to get a fresh storm every week, usually in the middle of the work week to maximize the inconvenience. Our kids had to attend makeup days almost until the Fourth of July.

It looks like 2011 is poised to challenge them.

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