Saturday, February 06, 2010

Snowmaggeddon Has Left The Building

Silly me for being so skeptical!  Snowmaggeddon dumped a lot of snow on us.  A LOT.

It started slow, but finished with a punch!

Yesterday was a quiet day.  I was up early, something about a snow day that always makes me get up early, even when I don’t have to! 

It was very cloudy and cool most of the morning.  Temps were in the mid-30s.  Not a flake was falling.

Around 10 am the snow began.  The NWS had said “Snow likely, mainly after 10am” – so I was impressed with their accuracy!

It was also around 10 when the NWS upped their prediction – they were now calling for 20-30”!  With 15-21 of them falling overnight.  Damn.  That was a lot of snow. 

Just as I was settling down to read for the afternoon, there was a knock at the door.  I actually answered it, thinking maybe it was one of my neighbors.  Turns out it was a neighbor, only it wasn’t a neighbor that I knew – he lived on the other Court. He was asking if he could dig my car our for me after it snowed.  Really?  You want to do that huh?  I thought that sounded like a great idea so I told him to sign me up.  He said it would be $30 to dig my car out.  I’d gladly pay at least double that to not have to do it so I agreed.  We chatted a little bit and I discovered that he works for Fairfax County Public Schools in the School-Age Child Care program! SACC does before and after school care right in the schools.  It’s a great program!  I have met lots of SACC teachers over the years, and they are all great!  He promised he’d come by on Sun and dig me out! I was pretty excited!

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading – finished a whole book – and watching the snow fall, but not stick. I kept refreshing the NWS page and The Capital Weather Gang’s blog and they kept saying “It’s coming, it’s coming.”   I was IMing with Andy who suggested that it was “The calm before the storm” – I said “It’s been the calm before the storm for 3 days, this storm needs to shit or get off the pot!”  I was very tired of waiting.  It was time for some action. 

It was 5:30pm before the snow started to stick. Once it started sticking, it started piling up. 

By 8:30 we had 4 inches.  Because so much was expected overnight, I went out and shoveled.  It was funny being out shoveling snow in the dark! Not only that, I wasn’t the only one on my court!

By about 10pm I was getting Twitter updates from Capital Weather Gang reporting thundersnow & lighting, snow rates at 4” an hour, and power outages.  It was around this time that the “AUX” heat kicked on – I was unsure what that was all about and hoping that it didn’t mean my heat pump was broken (it’s not, it’s working just fine now).  Things were getting kinda scary!  I was nervous about the power going out – all our lines are buried so we generally keep power when others are losing it, so I was hopeful.  Still I kept the iPhone plugged in the whole time so it would be fully charged, slept with a flashlight close, and ran my sound machine off batteries, just in case.

About the time all hell was breaking lose in DC I stuck my head out and didn’t see snow, but there was something falling – it sounded like sleet. Turns out we did have some mixing – but it didn’t last long.

At midnight I decided it was time for bed – I looked out and got one last measurement – 5 inches since I’d shoveled (and it was sleeting/raining/freezing rain) so grand total so far was 9 inches. 

I got up around 7:30 and went to check how much snow had fallen.  Someone had walked up my front steps since midnight! I couldn’t figure out why – later I was talking to my next door neighbor and he said that some other neighbors of ours had been at their house and had gone home for more beer and he must have gone to the wrong house! LOL!  Prob time to lay off the beer!!!!  Anyway, the tracks in the snow made it hard to measure – I found a decent spot and measured 8 inches – add that to the 4 before I shoveled and we were up to a foot! 

I went out to shovel at 8:30 and I’m pretty sure we had more than a foot – prob more like 14-16”.  I shoveled the steps and Mike (next door) and Lisa (across the CT) and Kristen (at the bottom of the court) were out shoveling too – they all had their dogs out, and the dogs were LOVING it!  They were leaping over the gigantic piles of snow and rolling in it! Kristen’s 2 Golden Retrievers were eating snowballs off each other! :-) 

After I came in the snow started falling super fast.  A few times I looked out and it was “pouring snow”!  We got almost 9 more inches during the day today. 

Late afternoon I decided that I had to shovel the deck.  There was a serious amount of snow out there and it is very wet and heavy, I was worried about the deck collapsing. 

Before I hurled the snow from the deck to the pristine backyard I decided that I needed to measure the snow back there.  I took 1 step into the snow and could go no further! It was over my knees! I’d brought the tape measure and measured in a few places – all were right at 24”.  Looks like my count was pretty accurate!

Then I went up to shovel the deck.  But not before I measured the snow that had piled up on the deck rail – there was almost 19 inches there! Crazy!  I could hardly walk on the deck, the snow was too deep.  I finally got maybe 1/4 – 1/2 the snow off and I gave up. 

I then went back to the front.  I know the SACC teacher guy is coming tomorrow, but, I also knew that if I dug the snow from where the plow piled it and tossed it into the road the plow would push it away when it came back through.  I dug out just the front of the car – took me about 45 mins – glad that was all I was doing!

As I was finishing up the shoveling the clouds began to drift away and the sun was trying to make an appearance.  The sun succeed, just as it was setting – it was a beautiful sunset!

I just stuck my head out the door and the sky is crystal clear – tons of stars!  The storm has finally gone, but it left us quite a mess to clean up!

In the last few minutes I have been hearing some strange “thunder-like” crackling noises coming from outside.  It sounds like a glacier. I’m wondering if the snow on all of our roofs is “calving” like glaciers do?  It’s going to be very cold – 11* – tonight – the snow was very wet, and the roofs are probably fairly warm – is it all freezing up?  Will big chunks of snow slide off our roofs?  Maybe, Snowmaggeddon isn’t done with us yet!

Check out all my pics from today and yesterday!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Snowmageddon* Eve

The end of the world is coming. 

Tomorrow.  Around noon.

It will be white, fluffy and cold. 

That’s right folks, it’s going to snow.   It’s going to snow a lot.

The official NWS forecast is calling for a 100% of snow from Fri – Saturday night, with storm totals potentially in excess of 16-24 inches.  They issued a winter storm warning this morning around 10 – 24 hours before the onset of the snow.  This is craziness. 

The media hype is off the charts.  It’s like a bad car wreck – you don’t want to watch it or get caught up in but you just can’t help it.  The panic level is through the roof.  This evening the gas stations were swamped.  The parking lots at the grocery stores were full.  I bet there isn’t a loaf of bread to be had within 100 miles. 

All the hype and all the “preparedness” is actually making me very nervous about the whole thing panning out as forecasted.  DC has a reputation for getting weather forecasts and no actual weather.  We frequently experience the hype and panic of a snowstorm only to end up with a cold 34* rain.  It’s very depressing living here in DC in the winter.

I have been watching this storm very carefully all week.  My “friends” from the Capital Weather Gang do a great job with detailed forecasts and explaining the science behind the weather.  I’m really not sure who they are, but they have great info!  The best info is in the comments on their blog posts, that’s where all the weather gurus weigh in and post model runs and stuff.  A lot of it doesn’t make sense to me, but if you read enough eventually it all makes sense.  The comments are getting a bit bogged down with what I consider to be hype, but it’s still informative. 

I’m not the only skeptic around here and many people have voiced their feelings that this might end up being the biggest bust yet.  Every single time the weather guys at Capital Weather Gang have come back with scientific evidence of why this is almost a sure thing. But, still, I’m not counting any snowflakes until they fall.  I have been around the block way too many times around here. 

Naturally we were all concerned about the onset of the snow and when it would occur and if school would be closed. We spent a lot of time today discussing this at school.  What would happen if school was closed – when would we make up the day (we used up our freebie snow days back in Dec)?  Would they do an early release?  What if it gets really bad really fast and we get stuck?  Would we go all day?   As I was driving home I pulled up to a stop light and pulled out the phone to check Facebook – I’d just gotten it loaded when the light changed, as I was locking the phone and putting it down my eye caught the top status update.  It was from FCPS – all I caught as I put the phone down was “closed Feb 5”.  WHAT????  I pulled over as soon as I could to read it for real.  It was amazing but true, Fairfax County had announced at 4:30 pm that they would be closed the next day.  Not a flake has fallen and not a flake is forecast to fall for another 18 hours at the earliest.  

I’m glad they made the call they did.   It’s not worth the risk.  Way to go Dr. Dale! :-)  I’ll happily make up the day no matter what happens.  That being said, the fact that school is already closed for tomorrow furthers my feelings that this is going to be a bust.  Nothing ever lives up to expectations.  

Those in the know seem to disagree, every model run shows more snow on the way.  I hope I’m wrong.  I hope we get every flake.  I want to see 2ft again.  But I’m not ready to get emotionally attached to the idea. 

Despite my skepticism, I am prepared.  Yesterday I went to Wegmans (we very conveniently had a snow day, which should have been a delay because everything was fine by 10 am) and stocked up on pretty much everything.  It was prefect because the real news of the storm hadn’t quite hit yet and the store was very quiet! I have gas in the car.  I have toilet paper.  I have a huge stack of books to read.  I have a cross stitch project and a crochet project.  I found a few movies to TiVo (oddly enough Comedy Central is showing Balls of Fury**, Meatballs, and Spaceballs – sensing a theme there?).  A few days just hanging out at home watching it snow will be nice.  Assuming it actually snows.



*Snowmaggedon is the “official” internet name of this storm.  The Dec storm was “Snowpocolypse” – yes, it’s been noted that Snowmaggedon should have come 1st to be keeping with the end times.   There are some other great names for the storm floating around:



"Snowpocalypse 2: The Sequel"
"Snowpocalypse 2: Son of Snowpocalypse"
"Snowpocalypse 2:Son of the Mother of all Snowpocalypses"

**A few weeks ago I saw a preview of Balls of Fury and it looks hysterical – I’d never heard of it before then so I was pretty excited when I found it on this weekend when I was going to be snowed in! :-)