Monday, February 23, 2015

February Blizzard

A snow warning was issued on Friday, February 20th that we should be expecting a blizzard which included over 12 inches of snow in 24 hours.  Usually when I get these warnings, we know exactly what to do.  You want to make sure that you have everything that you need in your house (food, drinks, shampoo, soap, toilette paper, etc.).  You want to make sure that everything is done BEFORE the storm.  If you need to make a last minute trip to the laundry mat to wash all of your sleeping bags and warmer blankets, early on is the best time to do it.  It's the last minute shopping trip you have to make to pick up all the food necessities.  We have the normal cooking necessities that are important to have: flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, and butter. We've stocked up on soup and bread.  We have plenty of pizza for Nicole.  We have fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries.  We got together everything for salads.  We have enough frozen meals to microwave.  We have the regular things to drink: milk, orange juice, water, and lemon lime soda.  So I checked food off my list.  We picked up a 12 pack of toilette paper so we are good to go there.  I did four loads of laundry folded and put away so check that one off the list.  Try and keep up with the house cleaning because if it's a blizzard there will be all day long to do some cleaning.  I believed on Friday night that we were ready to go.  I could not have been more wrong.

I woke up Saturday morning, and was very tired.  I waited for Nicole to wake up, and she did not wake up very early because she was watching Vampire Diaries all night.  The snow fell about three or four inches already.  The snow was still slowly gaining in footage, never letting up.  We were just talking, and heard a loud boom outside, and then lost all power in the house.  All the lights turned off.  The TV turned off.  The clock on the microwave went off.  We fully expected that the power would come right back on, but it didn't.  All of the lights were off all around the neighborhood.  There were probably over 1,000 homes that were experiencing the same power outage we were. I know that my power bill is paid off so that wasn't my concern.  My concern was that something bad had happened to a power line.

Sunday is the sabbath, and Utah is Mormon country.  Most of the church goers would be to church at that time.  I thought that maybe this was a planned power outage.  Church usually lasts about three hours.  I was expecting that the power would be out for no more than three hours.  Again, I was wrong.

After the first hour, the heater was off, and we started to feel colder.  I got out a pair of sweat pants for Nicole to wear and wrapped the blanket around her.  At first we huddled into sleeping bags.  We played the Shark Evolution game off Nicole's phone battery.  The battery was running out fast so we had to put the game away.  There was no electricity to cook anything, and no electricity to flush the toilets.  No electricity to run a faucet and wash dishes, and no electricity to run a vacuum cleaner.  We just waited.  The snow kept tumbling down from the clouds.  It got colder.  I started to worry about the food in the refrigerator going bad.  If it was over an hour, chances were that the food was starting to go to room temperature.

After a couple more hours, I went ahead and made Nicole a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some Ruffles and onion dip.  I got her a soda.  She ate all of her food, and curled up into two sleeping bags.  The air was so cold you could see the vapor from your breath.  Nicole was trying to stay warm.  She laid down on the couch.  I wrapped the first sleeping blanket around her, and then put the second sleeping bag on top of that one.  She ended up sleeping two more hours.  It was almost 3 o'clock when Nicole finally woke up.  She had slept most of the day.  The power was still out.

By this time, some of the neighbors had gotten the idea that the power outage might be more permanent than once thought.  Every now and then we were hearing a big boom and crackle.  The power line was down, and was set against the watery snow.  Electricity and water are just a bad combination to have so we stayed indoors.  It was so cold.  We saw the Domino's delivery guy hard at work, as everyone was ordering pizza instead of going out.  We could hear our neighbor with their small children, and the babies were crying because they were freezing cold.  My neighbors are a married couple with kids.  The dad started yelling about the power being out.  He took off in his car, probably to complain about the power outage.  He had just got home, and he was in a rage about it.

We got into our storage in the closet and started to find some crafts to do.  I did not realize what a yarn hoarder I am.  I love to crochet.  I thought I only had a couple of bags and two plastic bins full of yarn.  I apparently had more that that.  I pulled out two shades of purple and white, and started to work on crocheting an afghan.  Nicole found some of her old clothes that she cuts up with scissors to sew rag rugs.  We worked for awhile on crafts, but the light was getting too dark.  I lit a candle.

It was five thirty, and still the power was out.  The house was freezing cold. The sky was growing darker, and the candle light was not good enough to keep the room lit.  We had a propane camping lamp from last summer.  I could not remember how to light it.  We had a flash light nearby and were trying to read the instructions.  I cranked the propane on, and pushed the button and lit the lamp.  The light was bright and filled the room.  We were in awe, "Yes! We have light..." and no sooner, the same moment, there is a big boom again outside and  the power turns back on.  I think they reconnected the power line.

I could hear the neighbors yelling they were so happy to have their power back.  It didn't take long for us.  The heater came back on again. Nicole turned the TV back on.  I turned off the propane lamp and turned on the lights overhead.  I turned the oven on to make Nicole some pizza.  Having accomplished nothing all day, I found myself completely exhausted.  I was tired from fighting the cold air, and shivering through the day.  I was dazed from thinking, contemplating what I would do if the power was out for more than a day.

The snow kept falling.  It was falling the whole time the power was out, and was only a little over six inches.  This snow seemed different to me.  It was falling in such small particles that it was compacting.  The snow was powder, but not a soft powder that blows in the wind, it was a hard compacted freezing ice snow.  This snow is the kind that sticks, and takes forever to melt by the sun.  The wind sheer of it is enough to freeze your bones in minutes.  We turned on the heat pad and got onto the recliner couch to pick up where we left off on "Vampire Diaries."  Just the sound of the TV was comforting and the sound of the heater warming the air was bliss, since the air had been so cold and quiet all day.  The day was so surreal.  I had never had a power outage last that long.  I hoped that the lights would stay on, and that I could get back on facebook and twitter just to see what everyone else was doing.

Outside in the morning, the snow trucks were busy at work.  Last night there was an accident on the I-15.  The ambulances were going all night long.  It seemed that someone skidded off the street.  The ambulance was busy going back and forth to the hospital.  Then in the morning, the police were up early, going to work in their cars in the snow.  The black and white police cruisers were the only vehicles on the street.  I can hear the snow plows going up and down the streets, back and forth.  They are pushing the slush off the road so that people can get to work and school safety.  The extreme weather conditions were about accurate.  There is not quite a foot of snow, but it's still coming down from the sky.  The weather conditions are currently still listed as blizzard until Monday at noon, but that doesn't stop life in Utah.  People are generally used to winter time snow.  Everyone is Monday morning busy again.  The power is on again.  Life resumes.

Cedar City, Utah 1937
Historic record -- it snowed 51 inches in one day.

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