We heard about it for days on the news. The weather reporter’s dream was about to come true in the Northwest. They could hardly contain the drool at the thought of it. This was not just any snow; this was the first big snow of the year, maybe the decade.
It isn’t like Northwest newscasters have tornadoes or hurricanes to report like in the Midwest or the South. The Northeast has its Nor’easters and the Southwest has the Santa Ana winds. We have mild winters, mild summers, and the off chance one of the volcanoes will blow. BUT, once every few years, the perfect storm arrives. This one came with a rock star name: Snowmageddon.
Snowmageddon called upon the very winds to converge the right mix of storm clouds upon the land with all the vengeance of an invading army, Hell bent on religious conversion. It’s plan was to infiltrate South of the Olympics, then over the Cascades, where it could spread unchecked targeting the Heartlands and the deep South.
The day started off calm enough. The news of snow in the air had me thinking I should stop at the grocery on the way home to stay warm and toasty dry while the unprepared ran around in the mess that was sure to follow. The store was not overly busy. No one was taking the news in our neighborhood very seriously. Milk, bread, eggs and I was finished. Time to go home.
Home was only 10 minutes away from the grocery, but the first band of snow showers hit. It was so pretty. By the time I got home, the snow showers turned into a snow downpour of enormous flakes. I had never heard snow hit the ground before. The snow stuck fast, covering the yard, the trees, and the asphalt in a mere 10 minutes. An hour later, the band moved on leaving regular, quieter snow to take its place. Only the tallest blades were visible through the now white lawn.
The news reported the worst was yet to come. 8-10 inches were expected the next day. I had been through deep snow before. This was not going to interrupt my workday. It would be a good reason to work from home and join the pajama crew. I always get more done in my pajamas anyway.
Morning came and a little more snow was on the ground. Meh. It was only about seven inches. We usually get that when the big cities report their two inches. It was nothing more than a mere nuisance. Until..
Snowmageddon was not finished with us yet. This beast was just getting warmed up. By the end of the day another four inches fell. The storm eased momentarily and one of our dear neighbors decided he would take out his big farming tractor and clean up our private drive of a street, but the snow began to fall again and kept on coming.
Our relative’s power went out early in the day and stayed out the rest of the evening. I coaxed them into coming over to our place where we have alternate heat source and currently, electricity. Minutes before their arrival, our electricity also went out. Thankfully they made it to us safely and supper was finished cooking simultaneously with the power outage. No half-cooked fajitas for us. That night was kind of fun, sort of like camping out in our living room. The next morning was not quite as much fun.
I looked out the window for signs of rain the forecasters promised to wash away the snow. Instead, I only saw the roads were shiny with an icy glaze left from the night before. The snow was so thick. Trees were heavy with snow and silence filled the air. Work being downhill, I resolved to plug in my laptop for another day in pajamas.
I signed on, then took a walk to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I daydreamed a wish where I could be like a kid and have a real snow day, one where I did not need to work or drive anywhere. The coffeepot gurgled itself to life and the aromatic drip made its way to my nostrils. Time to go back to work while this brews.
Too late. The electricity went out. I would finally get that wish to have a snow day. I had so much to do at work, but I was still thrilled. I only wished the power could have waited for me to finish brewing my coffee.
My thrill did not last long. The sound of a gunshot rang out followed by the sound of a mass hitting the snow hard. I heard another, then another. It was the trees. Snowmageddon had finished with the small artillery and now it was calling for bigger guns. Trees now joined forces with the winds and clouds against the humans.
The rain we expected was not rain at all. It was ice. The ice fell, sealing in the already heavily snow laden branches, causing them to break off or teeter to the point of falling entire trees. Ice enrobed everything it touched. Tree tops fell from their 80 foot perches, targeting their human enemy below. Little birds cowered under porches, chirping quietly in fear.
We walked to the neighbors to check to see that everything was okay. Just as we passed, a tree took aim and missed by a mere moment. The sounds of nature attacking could not be drowned out with the drone of generators. It was serious now. We hunkered back down into our homes for the rest of the day, watching as trees continued their barrage well into the night.
The lights came on, then off again. That was the pattern. Wind blowing hard, snow finally melting with the promised rain we patiently waited for. We had not chopped enough wood for the winter this year. We took the chainsaw to the post I bought last summer to go at the bottom of the stairs when the lights finally came back on. The relatives were not so lucky. They would go without electricity 6 days before getting heat again.
The snow of Wednesday was followed by the ice of Thursday. Friday, the winds began. More trees fell. I did not care if I was in danger. I did need my massage appointment kept. I was cooped up too long, besides how much longer could this possibly last?
The ride was strange, to say the least. I saw a tree leaning over the road. I punched the gas to go under it, just in case it decided to fall at that moment. A downed line crossed the road a little further up. Did I really want to turn around and have to go under the tree again? Not really. This time I let go of the steering wheel and closed my eyes before I punched it.
I heard the storm has reached all the way to Georgia. That is one badass Mofo of a storm. Snowmageddon 2012 - One to remember.