Us Michiganders know that a blizzard is not only a delicious treat served by Dairy Queen but a large weather event. Winds blowing a minimum of 35mph & visibility less than 1/4 mile for at least 3 hours. Sounds delightful huh? They occur a couple of times a year for us and you ride them out like you would a thunderstorm.
Snow is by no means a stranger to us. We get our fair share although the weathermen love to tell us weekly worst case scenarios. 3-6 inches is their forecast but when we wake in the morning, there’s barely a dusting. So when the meteorologists started tripping all over themselves talking about the impending blizzaster, you can understand that we’d be a little skeptical. Would it actually become this megastorm they claimed or just a tiny toot? First we started with a little lake effect snow started the ball rolling. Who doesn’t
need some fresh powder prior to snowmageddon coming down on you?
People started referring back to the Blizzard of ’78 (our highest record of snowfall in a 24hr period). Anyone alive back then was quick to share their story. How tall the snow was, how only people in plows or snowmobiles were able to get anywhere and that our city was shut down for an entire week. A week, people! That’s a long time.
All that talk of ’78 had people paying attention this time. We were still skeptical but as we watched the radar and a giant blob of blue coming at us, we started to become convinced. The grocery stores were packed, selling out of bread & milk. Lines at gas stations & selling out of 2 cycle oil (a necessity for running your snowblower for you southern folk 😉 ). The Grand Rapids police department started equipping 4 wheel drive vehicles with computers to use during the storm. Schools started closing for the next day and the storm hadn’t even arrived yet. As afternoon turned to night, we waited. The 5 o’clock designated start time came and went. I highly doubt I was the only one looking out the window that night, curious if it would really begin. The sun went down and the wind picked up. I could hear the screen in the window next to my bed rattling as the wind howled and whipped snow and I wondered what we’d all find in the morning.
At first, it was hard to tell in the morning just how much snow had fallen. The snow had drifted and made it difficult to estimate how much had actually come down. I opened up my door and this is what I saw. 16″ of new snow.
After breakfast, we started the process of digging out. It took hours of snowblowing to get the driveway and sidewalk all cleared.
It sucks when you have to shovel first before you snowblow because the snow is deeper than your blower is tall
My van before I cleared it off
Halfway cleared off
Dan decided after looking at the roof that he needed to get up there and shovel that before the weight caused a collapse. He was greeted by 3 ft of snow up there with 4-5ft drifts. No fun task at all.
While we worked, the kids played. To them, it was a magical winter wonderland
Can you see the kids by the front door? They’re standing up!
The kids wanted to take a walk when all the work was done. Our road hadn’t been plowed and only trucks had dared to try and traverse it. Most people hadn’t shoveled their sidewalks so we walked down the middle of the road. Nearly unrecognizable from the driveways and yards we passed.
As the snow crunched beneath our feet and we passed house after house, I couldn’t help think that it was a rare moment that all of us should be home. Our entire city still. School cancelled, work cancelled, malls & stores closed down. As if Mother Nature had whispered to us all “chill… take a break” and with a collective sigh, we all resigned ourselves to do just that.