Our First Blizzard in North Carolina
To read about an ice storm that occurred two years later (with links to some pictures), go to ice storm 2002.
Monday night the forecast was for snow, another 2" - 4". After a grand total last winter of 1/2" of the white stuff, we had already had 4 snowstorms this year including one last week which shut down this part of the state for several days (we each missed two days of work). And so when we went to sleep on Monday it was with the knowledge that there would probably be some slick roads to deal with the next morning. Little did we know what was in store for us.
I awoke around 3 A.M. and noticed the alarm clocks had stopped so I figured the electricity was out and crawled out of bed to feed the fire a bit since we are heating the house this winter with the woodstove in an attempt to save a few bucks. I didn't even look outside although I could hear the wind howling as it had been doing all night.
Imagine our surprise when upon rolling out at about 6:00 A.M. we found the snow had covered everything, there was a lot more than 4" of it out there and it was still snowing like crazy. I got dressed so I could go outside and survey the situation. I tried the front door, but a huge drift was against it and it would not open, so I went around to try the back door. It too was blocked by a large drift of snow. I eventually had to lie on the floor and use my leg muscles on the bottom of the door to push it open enough to squeeze outside.
I had had enough foresight to place my shovel outside the front door the night before, I expected at the time to use it only to clear a few inches of snow from the front porch. Instead, I spent about 15 minutes clearing enough snow to allow the door to be opened and went back inside to get the dogs who had not yet been outside. They had not seen snow prior to this year but took to it like malamutes. Zeus especially, went absolutely bonkers and leaped from drift to drift, running in circles around the house. Lisa joined him but at a slower rate of speed.
I found what I thought was a spot where the snow was of average depth and measured it at between 18" and 20" and the end was not in sight, still falling at a rate of 2" to 3" per hours. The roads were totally impassable and I expected it would take a few days to even get the cars out of the driveway - remember, this the South, so of course I don't own a snow shovel and with a garden spade I could see this would be a lot of work.
After stoking up the fire we got dressed for the cold and went out for a walk down to the main highway, about a 1/2 mile away. A few brave souls with 4-wheel drives had broken the trail to the highway, but some others who had tried to make it in minivans and cars were stuck in the ditch. We decided to call in to work and tell them we would not be in. We could see from the local news on television that even had we been able to exit out subdivision, the interstate highways were impassable, blocked by dozens of jack knifed big rigs.
|Since we still had no
electricity, Flora managed to cook up a wonderful breakfast of omelets
and toast on top of the woodstove
By then the temperature in the house was beginning to rise a bit but without a fan to distribute the heat from the stove, it would be a long process. We did a quick inventory of food, flashlight batteries, firewood, and drinking water and decided we were in pretty good shape. We filled some large pans with snow and placed them on top of the stove to melt so that we would be able to flush the toilets later on since without any electricity there was also no water from the well.
It was a relaxing day, no television and we rationed use of the radio to conserve the batteries. I dug into The Testament, a fairly new novel by John Grisham, one of my two favorite writers, and drank hot coffee while just enjoying the day. During the afternoon I ventured out a few times to do some shoveling and split a few more logs. All the logs were soaked from the constant storms so we stacked the split firewood, a few pieces at a time, on top of the wood stove to dry. The dogs played in the snow much of the day and would occasionally lie in the snow to cool down. They eventually settled in to sleep on their beds by the woodstove.
The power finally came back on about 7:30 in the evening although by then we were very comfortable without it. Wednesday morning found the roads to be unimproved from the previous day and again most of the interstates were still closed, many packed with cars and 18 wheelers that had been stuck there for up to 36 hours. Television was advising everyone to stay home so we called in for a second day.
During the day I cleared enough snow from our driveway to extract my truck expecting to be able to go to work the next morning. We were finally able to get down the road to town on Thursday morning and found the roads to be icy but passable. Most people were still staying home thankfully but some were out driving 2 mph and straddling both lanes so that no one could pass them, obviously lacking winter driving skills!
So now we are hearing forecasts of 1" of freezing rain on the weekend so this continues to be quite the winter. The one thing I am happiest about though is the installation of the woodstove this summer - it is every bit as nice to have as I expected it to be!
Stay dry and stay warm!
Bob and Flora