Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

February 13, 2013

Snowmageddon 2013

First, I must apologize to everyone for not visiting/commenting on your blogs over the past few days. Blame it on Winter Storm Nemo.  This started popping up on Facebook a few days before.

I truly did not believe the wildly fluctuating predictions for what the Cape region was going to get, starting on Friday, February 8.  We were hearing 6" to 29".  Uh, just a little vague.  And based upon past experience, especially growing up here, Cape Codders take these dire blizzard predictions with a grain of salt because they are wrong more times than they are correct.  I was way more concerned about the wind than the snow totals.  

Russell had gotten home the day before, and we jetted into Sandwich to do our errands early on Friday morning to ensure that we were home by 10:30.  We had food in the crockpot and were like, 'bring it!'  It had started to snow hard by about noon time.  I was happily colouring and he was watching TV; we were as cozy as could be.  Gov. Deval Patrick declared a travel ban effective as of 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, announced after 3, and making a lot of people scramble to close their businesses and send everyone home.  The fine for anyone caught driving after 4 was $500.  

It started to pick up as the day went on, and was very wet and slushy. I was intending on documenting this storm with ruler measurements and photos with the times noted.

1:00 PM

4:00 PM

6:00 PM

It was really bad out though, due to the heavy, wet nature of the snow.  You went out and got soaked quickly.  There was no way I would be able to do this except shooting through the windows or standing in the doorway.

8:00 PM

8:00 PM

Next came the wind.  We were watching a movie and by 8:30 the power started to flicker really badly, so we went to bed.  That's when things really started to go downhill.  Quickly.  We saw some flashes and heard loud booms.  We thought it was a transformer blowing up but it was actually the very rare phenomena known as thundersnow.  I only remember one other time in my life that I saw it, and it was early 1977.  The wind was picking up and starting to scream.

Pepper was a mess.  She has always hated storms.  She accidentally clawed at Russell who awoke startled and in pain and that scared Pepper even more so the poor thing pooped on the bed.  Fortunately I smelled it before it got rolled in so I was able to clean it up, but he was furious and she was frightened and I didn't know what to do.  So I went out on the couch for a few hours, figuring that she'd follow me out there which she did.  I gave her some Rescue Remedy on a biscuit but that didn't seem to help her fear.  The power was off and on till about 11 when it went out for good.  The house cooled off very quickly and I staggered back to our warm bed at about 3.

We got up at 8 on Saturday and it was soooo dark out.  The wind was still blowing and it was hard to tell if it was still snowing.  The windows were coated with snow and ice, making the house darker.  I opened the door to take the pups outside and the snow was drifted up the door by over a foot.  So that of course meant we had to plow through it, sending snow into the house.  It couldn't be helped.  I tried to take pics but couldn't move off the porch at the front door; the snow was just way too deep.  Plus the damn wind.

I just about died shoveling this tiny area.

We ended up just going back to bed to doze off and on and stay warm, till nearly Noon.  So we finally get up and decide to try and shovel and get the car out.  That took quite awhile and thanks to the slush that fell first, the bottom half of the snow we were shoveling was a thick layer of ice.  The snow came off the car but the ice had to be chipped off all the windows and luckily the car started, so we had the defrosters blasting it too.  I'm surprised we didn't crack the windows with how hard we were chipping.  We tried to clear as much of the driveway as possible and then Russell managed to get the car to the front of the driveway where we could get out.  The roads were compact snow & ice, and the plow guy was actually kind enough to mound the snow near the telephone pole instead of the end of the driveway, so I was grateful for that.  It took a lot of tries with the car wheels spinning and exhaust fuming.  But he did it.  Back inside we took quick showers with the last of the hot water and decided to pack bags and dogs and try and find a pet friendly hotel on generator power.  It was a barren wasteland out there.  So quiet.  Only plows and a few pick up trucks on the road. We had no luck with the hotel thing, or the food thing, so we went home, rounded up all the blankets we could find, and went to bed at about 5:00 pm.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and clear.  Russell's dispatcher arranged to have his truck plowed out so that he could leave as scheduled, so I took him to the lot at 8:30.  The only place open in town that had coffee was Cumberland Farms, so we got coffee first.  He very sweetly offered to stay and stick it out with me but I told him no, he should stay on the truck and be warm and I'd deal with it here. I got the fridge and freezer food into the cooler and out on the porch in the snow, and I shoveled snow inside as well.  I took a few photos on Sunday the 10th, but it was still cold out and it's not like I could come inside to a warm house so that's why I didn't bother taking a walk.

Kitchen window

This tree startled me when I looked out the front window because I thought it was a person bent over.

 Looking down my street on Sunday morning.

It would take me five tries to back the car in, every time I came home, and that's as far as I could get it, which was just off the street.

The sun was warm and I opened all the curtains on the south side of the house that it got more comfortable, and I was able to do some crafts by daylight before my hands got too cold.  But as soon as the sun started to go down, it got freezing.  I could see my breath inside the livingroom. I decided to get warm in the car so I loaded up the pups and drove around a little bit with the heat on.  I was going to stop at one place that was open but there was no parking left; everyone had the same idea. So I drove down to Sagamore, discovered they had power and got a breakfast sandwich at Dunkin Donuts.  I lit a bunch of candles, buried myself under blankets, wore a scarf around my head and read by flashlight before giving up and going to bed around 7:30.  At about 1:00 a.m., I woke up on fire.  I thought the heat had finally come on.  I opened my eyes to the pitch dark and realized that it was me generating the heat.  Then my stomach said, 'Oh hey, you better get to the bathroom because I'm about to make this situation just that much more special for you'.  I grabbed the flashlight and darted to the loo where I tossed my cookies several times.  All I'd eaten that day the sandwich, about 10 hours earlier.

Monday is when things were really, truly starting to suck.  I remember Day 3 of the 2006 blackout in Washington as being the turning point from reluctant tolerance to despair too.  My friend Michelle had called and offered for me and the doggies to crash at her house as she had a separate apartment w/ a fireplace where we could be comfy.  She had power and hot water.  Anyone who knows me knows that I'm the first to offer help but the last to ask for it.   But that morning I texted and asked if I could take a hot shower and she said sure come on over.  She gave me coffee and fed me a blueberry muffin fresh out of the oven.  It was a miserably wet day too.  The temperature had risen and it was pouring down rain, rapidly melting the snow and causing flooding on the roads.

After my shower, I left for Sandwich to my cousin's, where my mom had been staying.  They were out of power too.  Sandwich sustained a lot of damage, especially E. Sandwich.  Sha left to go to a friend's to shower and I took mom up to her house and then to get take out food that we brought back to the house. Mom lost a lot of branches and a good part of a tree that's been on the corner of the driveway since the 1950's.

When Sha came back, I left for BBay and was crushed to come home to a cold, dark neighbourhood.  I decided to take Michelle up on her offer to stay the night because I could not cope with another freezing, dark night.  It was sooooo great to be in a warm, lit, cozy room with TV and internet.  Michelle & her family are so awesome to have taken  me and my doggies in and their generosity will not be forgotten.  Pepper & Sagan did really well being in that strange, new environment, and being able to hear her dogs upstairs.

I had to get my car fixed on Tuesday (yesterday) so I left Michelle's pretty early so that I could drop off the pups at home.  I was, again, devastated to come into a cold, dark house.  I ran into Sandwich where my car was unable to be fixed yet again due to another wrong part, which is par for the course for 2013.  This is still that broken window issue that happened the evening of January 1st.  So I went to the library to print something, then got back to pick up the pups so that I could run a quick errand in Middleborough.  Got home at 11 and was ready to tear my hair out, although I did pass two trucks right around the corner from my street so I was cautiously optimistic.  Mom called to say she was back up so we could stay there on Tuesday night if we wanted to.  I decided to hang around at home, and discovered that the sun was warmer outside than the house was inside, so I grabbed a kitchen chair and sat in the sun on the deck for quite awhile.  I went inside when a big cloud covered the sun, and that's when I heard it.  The unmistakable hum of electricity.  I steeled myself and looked at the stove.  The clock display was on. I tentatively turned on a light, it lit up.  After that I burst into tears of relief and raced around the house cranking the heat in every room.  I chilled out for awhile, then it occurred to me that sometimes they bring you online then shut you down again for a bit while they finish their work.  I kicked it into high gear and started the mountains of laundry that had accumulated.  Sheets, towels, clothes, gloves, etc.  Dishes.  I had to get all the food out of the cooler and it all seems to be fine.  A little melted, but not spoiled.  The snow inside kept everything cold.  Then I vacuumed the house and even cleaned out my car because I was on such a roll.

It was pretty miserable and I believe that NStar, our electric company, did a pretty poor job overall.  When we had Hurricane Sandy in October, the NStar trucks were poised and ready to go.  I saw them rolling through Buzzards Bay and parked in lots, waiting to restore power as it was lost.  This time, I didn't see a single one.  Saw lots and lots of plows, but no NStar vehicles except one pickup truck at the Cumberland Farms on that Sunday morning.  They were patting themselves on the back on their Facebook page, but when I stayed at Michelle's and watched the news (for the first time in eons), the lead story was the statewide frustration at NStar's slow response, so it wasn't just me getting pissed off. Those that had their power restored quickly thought the rest of us were whining.  Maybe we were, but it's goddamn uncomfortable to be without heat and hot water during the middle of winter, for days on end.  

Needless to say, we are buying a generator.  We've been saying this since the first hurricane we had the summer we moved in, late August of 2011, but we just never got around to it.  It's now a top priority.  I will not go through this again.  I just want enough juice for a space heater and a lamp.  I have to say I miss my generator and gas stove back in WA; wish I could've taken it with me.

It's so good to be back online and warm again!


  1. Good to have you back. That was quite a few days of suckiness. LOL

  2. OMG I can't imagine being without power in the winter for so long! At least we have a wood burning fireplace. When Gandolf hit us, I had the candles and water ready, but luckily we didn't get hit so bad. Hope things thaw out for you soon - at least your snow won't last till April like ours does ;)

  3. JoJo, you poor thing! Sounds like a real suckfest. Glad that all of you are okay and finally warm.

  4. Yes it was a suckfest with a capital S. It's bad enough to lose power when it's warm out, but in winter it's just brutal.

  5. See, JoJo, it's better out here on the west wet coast, but we get that wet snow occasionally, too. We had one snowfall (not much) this year. That one day, icicles fell from one of our new bridge cables and speared cars. Scary.

    They have a fix for that now, so they say. You'd think they would have considered that in the design stages.

    This post tells a great story. Power outages do make me wonder how humans would survive if it went on too long.

  6. Well one nice thing came out of this blizzard - some very spectacular photos !
    We can get power outages down here in So. Florida due to hurricanes and tropical storms. Though it's a nuisance at least we don't have to worry about freezing our tail feathers off.
    Hope this will be it for the bad winter weather . . . come-on Spring Time !!!

  7. Oh, JoJo, le major suck!!!!! I'm so sorry you had such a rough time, and on top of it, got sick! :-(

    And Holy CRAP - thundersnow?????

  8. hi, Jojo!
    Oh my, so much snow!!! But I shall admit it looks beautiful...but yes, when you have no power in the house and have to bear the'll blame nature, and not delivered services...I in India many people (including us) have generators, as sometimes the power goes off in Summer when it's like +40..
    Take care and I hope things will improve, I really wish it!
    (those hearts are stuffed with polyfill:)thanks for finding opportunity to check other blogs anyways.

  9. How awful! Although your photos of the snow look lovely it certainly is no fun not to have heat or be able to cook something warm,thank goodness for family and good friends. Your poor doggies they just don't understand,poor wee things. Hope it's all back to near enough normal now. We've had only small flurries of snow here nothing much and our country can't cope at all with snow.

  10. sounds like you had a terrible time of it. Is all your heating electric then? We haven't had a powercut in years, but our houses tend to be gas centrally heated so we don't lose the heat as well as the lights. Glad to hear you're through the worst of it now.

  11. Yes, we have electric heat. Plus space heaters to help it along. It's pretty expensive. Most of the homes here are oil heated too, which I don't like either. I loved the forced hot air I had in WA, but that would go off in a power outage as well.

  12. WOW, glad you got through the blizzard ok. A lot of snow in a little bit of no time!


  13. Glad you came through it OK! Having been through blizzards and tornado's myself I've decided Hawaii is the only safe place! Sadly..I can't afford it.

  14. I can't even imagine!!! We haven't had heat this year and I feel like I'm practically freezing to death during our cold snaps that barely go below freezing here in Florida! I could never stand it. I'm so glad your power has been restored and all is well again.