Monday, January 25, 2016

Greetings From Blizzard Central

The Mid-Atlantic Blizzard of 2016.  It's been all over the national news for a week or more ... before, during, and (now) after the event.  We get measurable snow here regularly during an average winter, but this much snow, and a storm of this magnitude, is extremely rare for us.

Settle in and let me tell you all about it.

Friday ... We had a beautiful sunrise on Friday morning.  Made me think of the old rhyme:  "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning."



In preparation, we stocked up on anything that we needed in case we were snowed in for a few days.  I made a quick stop at the grocery store on Friday morning, to grab the last couple of things that I had forgotten to buy earlier in the week.  The weather soothsayers were warning that we should EXPECT to lose power, so we were prepared for that, too.

The snow was predicted to begin at noontime, and it did ... gently, at first.  The first of my snow progress photos from the front porch was taken at 12:30 pm.  I took another photo every hour as long as we had daylight.  I also planted a yardstick in the front yard, to keep track of how much snow accumulated.

12:30 pm


1:30 pm


2:30 pm


3:30 pm


4:30 pm


5:15 pm


Friday evening and all through the night, the wind blew, the snow fell, and our power stayed ON.

Saturday morning.  The wind was howling and the snow was blowing ... total on the Snow Stick at 7:30 am was fourteen inches.  At 8:00 it was thirteen inches.  All the blowing and drifting meant that it was going to be impossible to get an accurate reading of total snowfall, no matter where I measured,  Oh, well.

7:30 am


11:30 am


3:30 pm ... blowing like crazy!


From time to time, on both Friday and Saturday, my husband or I would go out and shovel our porch and the front steps.

First, shovel ...


... then, sweep.


And the snow continued to fall.







Thank goodness for a very timely post that a friend shared last week on Facebook, with a genius idea to help with providing a place for Winnie to do her 'business' during the storm.  We secured a small tarp to the ground before it started snowing, in a spot convenient to the back door.  Whenever Winnie needed to go out, we shoveled and/or swept the snow off the tarp and peeled it back, exposing bare ground.

This tarp idea was a lifesaver!!


Sweep off any accumulated snow between turn outs,


fold back the tarp, and Winnie had bare ground so she could do her 'business'.


Ruby has never minded or had a problem with snow.  She found that the snow in the area near the fence is shallower, and she runs out, does her thing, and comes right back.  She's such a good girl.





At least twice during the day on Saturday, I saw our farmer neighbor from up the road ... out with his big John Deere, doing what he could to help keep our road passable.



Saturday afternoon, into Saturday evening, it kept snowing ... sometimes to the point where it was difficult to see to the road.











Despite the fury of the wind and snow outside, the humans and critters inside were warm and safe.  Late Saturday night, the snow and wind finally stopped.  It had snowed heavily and continuously for 35 hours (from 12:30 pm on Friday to 11:30 pm on Saturday.)  No power outage ... for that, I am thankful.



Sunday, we woke to bright blue sky and the promise of a beautiful Dig-Out Day.  The Snow Stick showed seventeen inches of snow, with drifts in places that looked to be twice that high.

View through the dining room window, with a sunbeam illuminating our barn.


The ridges and rolls in our flat front yard show just how much the snow blew and drifted during the storm.


We were a little bit ahead of the digging out, having kept our porch and steps shoveled and swept like we did during the storm itself.  My husband headed to the garage to get the snow-blower, and our daughter and I started with the front walk and our cars.

The dry, powdery snow sent up quite a plume with the snow blower!




Front walk and steps, all cleared!


Next, we shoveled a path to clear the cars.





The bright sunshine soon melted any remaining snow on surfaces that we cleared.


He's still blowing snow from the driveway.


All of this activity kept Dorothy and Alice quite entertained.


With the steps, front walk, and cars cleared, I turned my attention to freeing the dryer vent ... which was somewhere down a half-flight of steps to the moat in front of our house, and underneath a five-foot snow drift.  There's nothing like knowing that I can't do something (in this case, laundry) to make me obsess about wanting to do it.


The vent is down there somewhere, but the snow is so big and so deep and so tall!




Success!  (green arrow indicates the vent).


After a lot of blowing and shoveling, which took us until mid-afternoon, we were completely dug out ... just in time to spend the rest of the day watching football.



Look carefully and you'll see our daughter in the distance, touching up the last of the snow on that end of our circular driveway.


This morning (Monday) dawned much like it had on Friday ... with a beautiful, but more gentle, sunrise.  I put on my coat and walked to the street, taking in the unique atmosphere that comes with a clear morning and a thick coating of fresh snow.


Sunrise was mostly pink and purple this morning ...


... casting a rosy glow onto our house ...


... with beautiful, diffused light reflected by the fresh snow.


Hello, Moon.


We were very lucky during this storm, to have everything prepared ahead of time and no responsibilities outside besides the potty needs of our dogs.  Our neighbors with horses and other livestock have some hairy stories to tell about keeping their critters safe ... there were even a couple of horse rescues.  In the end, we all helped each other as best we could, and everyone (and every critter) were safe.

36 comments:

  1. Those are beautiful photos, Connie. I am used to getting a lot of snow, but last year was the most ever. The total for the winter (early 2015) was 17 feet!! Now of course that didn't all fall at once but we did have a lot of days in a row where it snowed and snowed and snowed.

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    1. You are my hero, dealing with that kind of snow … no matter if it fell all at once or not. You still have to do serial shoveling throughout the winter. We usually get a few inches at a time, or a foot at most. This storm? Who knows, since it drifted and blew so much.

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  2. Amazing photos. Being a native Californian, I've never seen anything like this. Part of me is envious, as once it's over it all looks so very beautiful. But glad you and your family were all safe and warm. Not weather you'd want to be out and about in!

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    1. Have I told you that both of my parents are from California? (Southern). We haven't lived there since I was five, but I still have a lot of relatives in Ca. We have lived in Virginia since '79.

      This has been a fairly easy recovery from this much snow, even though it is much more than we usually expect, since yesterday and today were both sunny days. Get a bit of gravel or asphalt exposed to sunshine, and surfaces melt pretty well ... as you saw in my photos. We are warm, and well fed. All is good.

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  3. Such a clever idea with that tarp.
    And such pretty photos of your home.

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    1. I think the tarp idea is genius! Till now, I have shoveled and swept a spot in the yard, trying to get some sort of grassy surface for Winnie. She's SO small.

      One of the house photos may end up as a Christmas card. The light was amazing!

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  4. That is a lot of snow! I am glad you were so prepared. I am also glad I live in the south! :)
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. We are used to losing power during really bad storms, so we have a generator large enough to connect to a power switch that runs our well pump, refrigerator, freezer, and a few other things that we can plug in via extension cords. Preparing is really all we can do ... then, we hope for the best. In this storm, we got lucky.

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  5. Hi Connie! I had to grin at the start of your post -- It's the same as mine when I saw the sunrise on Friday too -- What's that they say about "great minds?" :-)

    The snowstorm has truly been one for the record books, and not one that I want to repeat again anytime soon. I'm glad you got through it without too much trouble. We did too, although we're still digging out from about 30 inches of snow. I love the idea about the tarp, I've never thought about the difficulty small dogs can have until we got Todd.

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    1. Great minds, indeed ... the sailor rhyme was the first thing that I though of when I saw the sunrise on Friday morning. A quick iPhone photo to document the color, and the rest of this post fell into place.

      I want to spread that tarp idea far and wide. It made our lives a whole lot easier for the two days of this snow storm ... Winnie's life, too.

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  6. Replies
    1. We love it here! The scenery is beautiful, the atmosphere is peaceful, and the neighbors are wonderful!

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  7. Breathtaking images! I.CAN'T.EVEN.IMAGINE.THIS!

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    1. Gotta do what ya gotta do. Planning ahead and having good equipment (and someone besides me to operate it) on hand is most of it.

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  8. Lovely pics... and you should post your jeep snow pic on All things Jeep FB! They're looking for Jeepers snow pics!

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    1. All Things Jeep? I had no idea. I guess I’ve never really been into Jeep culture … I just drive it and enjoy it like crazy. Now I’ll see what that page is all about.

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  9. Snowstorms definitely require some pre-planning. I saw that tarp idea somewhere on FB and thought how great it was. Our deck is at the second level of our house, so we take the pups under there for their potty time. The snow did not accumulate under the deck. Also stomped the snow down from that area to the wooded area at the side of the house. The snow does not fall so deeply in the woods. Oh gosh... and we are so loving the snowblower attachment on the JD tractor this year.... what a time saver for my husband. It will take quite a while for what's in the yard to all melt away. Glad to see you are doing well in these 'post snowmageddon' days. xo

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    1. Our deck comes out on the second level of our house, too. It's 11 feet high. Like yours, snow doesn't accumulate under it much. Can't use it for a potty area, though, because it's also a concrete patio (installed by some prior owner.) It's good protected access to the yard, and I am thankful for it. I saw your husband's tractor-mounted snow blower and I'm amazed. Ours is an attachment for the DR walk-behind equipment. No way we could live here in winter, with this much driveway, and survive without it.

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  10. Thank you for taking us along during the blizzard. I can say it was delightful since I am writing you from Florida. However, I remember days in Ohio when the snow was treacherous but beautiful!

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    1. This is what I love most about blogging ... sharing our regional stuff with others from across the country and other parts of the world. Glad that you enjoyed my version of our blizzard.

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  11. I love this post!
    Your house and land is SO beautiful!
    You definitely had a well-thought out plan that worked beautifully.
    I'm going to steal some of your ideas.
    The tarp is genius!
    And next time it snows here, I will shovel and sweep several times.
    Last time it snowed heavy, I wanted until the NEXT morning and it took all my strength to shove the front storm door open!
    I'm so glad you are all safe.
    XOXO

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    1. Our front steps are the hardest to shovel when they get too buried. This is the first time that I’ve thought to do it in increments like this, and it was great. Clearing the porch like we did gave me a chance to go out periodically during the day to take photos and see what the storm was doing.

      I want to shout far and wide about what a genius idea that tarp is! You have little dogs, and I hope you try it and that it works as well for you as it did for us.

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  12. Glad we all survived! Reports said we got anywhere from 15 to 17 inches here in King George. Like you, we had a lot of blowing, and we're sort of nestled into a hollow so we probably didn't have as much blowing and drifting as you all did. We're all dug out now and while we don't need to go anywhere, we might venture out into the real world today. :-) Love all the photos, especially the sunrise and house photos, Connie!

    Shirley

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    1. Recovery from this storm has been relatively painless, as Virginia snow storms go. I remember the one in the '90s where we got more than a foot of snow, then had bitterly cold temperatures for more than a week afterward. The kids were out of school because of that one for a full two weeks.

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  13. WoW! So happy to hear you were all safe, sound, and warm--I thought about you more than once listening to the TV reports.
    LUV the pics--and I STILL want your house!
    Now I'M heading out to shovel (no blower) 5 fresh inches of snow--and the plows just buried the end of the driveway for me! I WAS planning to go to the gym--alas, the "gym" has come to me I guess....sigh....
    Catherine

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    1. Snow for a warm weather girl like you must be doubly bad. See Sharon's comment below ... just call it exer-shoveling, and you'll be good.

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  14. Those last three pictures are gorgeous. Glad you all didn't lose power. We didn't either thankfully. Other than exer-shoveling, as I've been calling it, I haven't been out. Okay I did make a snow angel but that was after the work was done ;)

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    1. I wasn't expecting to see such a rosy pink light yesterday morning. iPhone in hand (er, pocket) and the moment is immortalized! I was supposed to make a snow angel and post a photo, on a FB dare ... I don't do dares, so I chose instead to post the video of the DC panda playing in the snow.

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  15. I can't imagine what it would have been like if we hadn't been out there shoveling and blowing snow the whole time during the storm. There are a few things I would do different, as with everything, we are on a learning curve. This was a lot of snow. 23 inches on my yardstick, but had up to 5 ft drifts around the house. Was super glad we kept power also, though we were ready. :) donna

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    1. We made the decision on Saturday morning to hold off with the driveway. We had planned to get out and do some snow-blowing during the storm, but the wind blowing the snow across our open property made it look like our effort would have been wasted. Fortunately, digging out wasn’t too bad … time spent with family!

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  16. Our road is still not cleared and is only one lane in most parts. We measured an average of 36" from measurements all over the yard. Luckily we were out every 2 hours or so clearing the driveway so that wasn't too bad but clearing a place for the dogs was a nightmare because of the way our deck and yard are laid out. Glad you never lost power - that was my biggest fear but we made it without even a flicker. I LOVE snow so this was a real treat for me :)

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    1. Roads here are pretty good, though neighborhoods are still a mix of clear, semi-clear, and sort of passable. No flickers here either, which was also my nightmare.

      I love snow, too ... as seen from the windows of my warm house.

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  17. Good to know you're safe and warm, and all the critters. I love how people come together to help each other during times of need. Gives me hope for mankind! Your pictures are just beautiful, and I loved the unfolding story. :) Meanwhile, we're at 63F today, and my bulbs are bursting forth, and the trees are in bud. Another year of no real winter for us - unless you count the rain, we've had more than our fair share of that!

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    1. Your description of bulbs and budding trees makes me feel as if I am looking into a crystal ball!

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  18. So much snow is surreal to me! But it creates beautiful pictures of your house. I'd stay in like the cats if I were there ;)

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    1. I agree ... I stay in, too. I love to look at snow from the windows inside of my warm house. I don't mind cold weather too much, but I really don't like to be out in the snow.

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