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Avalanche Danger! by Leah Jean
It is so wonderful when it snows.

* The brisk fresh air!
* The beautiful whiteness.
* The peacefulness.

Okay, lets try that again.

* The brisk fresh air! It is truely at its briskest and freshest when winds are blowing at blizzard speeds.
* The beautiful whiteness. And I do mean white! Almost everything was covered completely! Even the mailbox had snow just about to the bottom of its compartment. But that depth was probably amplified due to the road being plowed. ;-)
* The peacefulness ... except for the occasional crunching sound of the snow removal crews maneuvering their behemoths thru the amassed mounds. The sounds they create are really noticeable at 2:00 in the morning.

Soooooo yesterday afternoon (Saturday) about 3:00 when the snow was beginning to taper off, I put on my heavy weather gear and boots with snow shovel and broom in hand and went out to do battle with the (not so) fluffy whiteness. I'd been periodically looking out of my windows Friday when it started and during Saturday too trying to mentally grasp the magnitude of it all. You know, it is one thing hearing about it in terms of feet (yes, the weatherguy said he was no longer using inches) and actually facing it head on. As I opened my front door I literally gasped! The snow blocking the entrance to my porch came up to around the bottom of my butt! [I'm about 5' 5".] But then I had to chuckle. Fortunately I have a descently long covered porch so I could get out of my front door. And I just had to smile at Mother Nature's glory! Of course, it was a little drifted up against the northwest side of my house ... but not a whole lot.

I think it took me about 15 minutes just to shovel off the snow from my tiny little sidewalk to get to the driveway. I was taking it easy considering that it took about 3-4 shovels full of snow just to work my way to the ground in one 1.5 x 1 foot area, this was a lot of frickin' work! Plus I would stop periodically to shake the snow from my outfit. If you don't have waterproof clothes you have to get that stuff off because when it melts it makes you a whole lot colder. Also I had to remove the slush that accumulated on my snow shovel with the broom. No point in making the shovel heavier. I noticed that the shovel "magically" got heavier over time anyway ... so no point in making it worse. After that I only did about 1/4 of my driveway because I didn't want to overdo it. There's nothing worse then living with overtaxed chest muscles that come from manual snow removal or the collection of tons of leaves in the Fall. Those are about the only times of the year that we normally use those muscles at extended lenths of time. It can be sooooo uncomfortable.

It is kind of strange when a heavy snow first takes over an area. Hardly no one can get out of their houses let alone out on the roads. The quiet is a bit eerie. And the animals are having a real fun time finding something to eat. I noticed that deer tracks amassing around a few bushes in my front yard. They were getting desperate because they'd been trying to eat those evergreens that they usually don't touch. But then one person had told me that when deer get desperate they will even eat spiky tough Holly leaves. Ugh.

The real beauty though is this morning. The sun is out and the skies are an amazing blue! This is in large part due to the cleansing effects of the high winds and the snow flowing thru the atmosphere, not to mention the dramatic drop in the pollution from cars, trucks, etc.

The state of Maryland came very close to and broke some records for a single snow fall. Where I live got about 32". That's 4" short of 3 feet!
The total all time record of snow accumulation for our area was pretty much reached. Another 3-6 incher is slated for Tuesday though. [Gag.]
It will probably take about a month for this stuff to completely melt, especially considering that the temperatures are to remain pretty stinkin' cold.
It took about 1/2" of rain to produce all this stuff.

I kind of wonder how many Super Bowl parties are going to be happening today? A lot of shops will have difficulty opening for making those party platters ... not to mention the difficulty of picking them up. And the liquor stores? Parking could be REAL interesting given that most streets only have the bare minimum of plowing done on them (so where do you put 2 feet of snow?) for cars to get thru. And a lot of people are going to be stressing their bodies quite a bit getting the snow cleaned out of their egresses. Plus this is not the type of snow that will give up its territory easily by using personal snow blowing equipment. The snow depth is higher then most intake nozzels.

Now the problem is going to be the snow on the roofs. The 2+ feet of wind driven accumulation is just hanging over the edges of gutter ... over driveways ... and just waiting to come sliding down. I may come out and find that the entrance to my garage (that I so diligently already shoveled) no longer exists. One gets the feeling that one of those big furry dogs that mythically run around the Alps with a small keg of "nourishment" under his neck might appear around here. Because I'm afraid that someone is going to be under one of these roofs ... and the coefficient of snow-to-roof friction will decide to release ... and the mass will come racing down ... to cover the poor unsuspecting slob below. Avalanche! I will be keeping one eye peeled skyward while around the house.


p.s. Yes, Jeff. I'm sure you are sitting up there in the mountainous ski resort area of Aspen, Colorado saying, "So what?" ;-)


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