Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 137: Late Autumn Blizzard

If you read Wednesday's post, you know that we experienced the blizzard of the century here, two weeks before winter officially starts. Here's a bit about my day...

* I am currently sitting under a foot and a half of snow. Okay, maybe not physically out under it, but Wisconsin was buried with a late autumn snowfall Tuesday night into Wednesday.

* The snow started early Tuesday morning, stopped briefly mid-morning, then started again just after noon. A 9pm newscast said the snow was falling at half an inch an hour, and we already had a few inches on the ground.

* How much snow you received seemed to depend on which side of the lakes you live. The "official" total at the airport, located on the northern edge of the city, is 14.1 inches. However, those of us on the southern side of town (below Lakes Monona and Mendota) measured 17.9 inches (this is the total The Weather Channel has been reporting).

* The two-day total may not have been a record -- only the sixth largest storm overall -- but we did set new records for daily snowfalls both Tuesday (7.1 inches) and Wednesday (7 inches). Oh, yay...a third consecutive year of setting new snow records. I can hardly contain my excitement. Really.

* I was rudely awakened before 6:30 this morning not by snow plows, but by inconsiderate neighbors loudly stomping their feet outside my apartment. I swear...some days I wish I could install a trap door in front of building entrances for such morons. Maybe landing in the basement every time they stomped would teach them a few manners.

* When I tried to turn the TV on to catch an update on road and weather conditions, it was to find that the cable was out. The heavy, wet snow and fallen tree branches had taken out power and cable lines throughout the city, and it was out for a few hours. Thank the gods for radio!

* Of course, losing cable for a short time is nothing compared with the hardship of losing all electricity, as many on the east side and outlying areas of the county did. Thousands are still without tonight. Thankfully, I did have power, and was able to hole up in my warm and cozy apartment.

* Virtually the entire state was closed, including schools and universities, malls, banks, buses, even grocery stores. People were encouraged not to go out unless absolutely necessary. Which meant it was mostly medical/emergency personnel, snow plow drivers and newscasters working Wednesday.

* The last storm of this magnitude to hit the area was December 1990. Local news reported 100 buses were stuck in the snow that year, which may explain why Madison Metro decided not to run today. I was away at school then, and it was a snow day for us -- the bonus of attending a small, private college.

* One local hospital reported several snow blower incidents resulting in finger amputation, and there is always a rise in heart attacks (about 30%) this time of year, as people tend to forget that shoveling is hard exercise. You can never emphasize safety enough in this kind of weather.

* UW students took advantage of the first snow day in school history with several snow activities. Tuesday night one set of students built a giant snowball ten feet in diameter at Francis St and University Ave (it took several people to roll it and has been featured on The Weather Channel), while another group built giant the middle of Gilman Street. Okay, I know the snow plow drivers and police were probably not amused, but I think it's kind of funny. Hey, at least they were having fun without being destructive!

* The student fun continued Wednesday as a large snowball fight was organized on Bascom Hill, with a few thousand students taking part (also featured in national news coverage). Others borrowed trays from the cafeteria for a bit of sledding. We did that one year my junior year in college. Borrowed trays, that is, though our dining hall was not as understanding, even if trays were returned later. Ah, the memories...

* While the snow has stopped, temps are falling and they have now issued a wind chill warning from 3am through noon Thursday. The high is only supposed to be 7F, with wind chills as low as 20 below. I think I would have rather braved the snow Wednesday and stayed home Thursday, LOL.

Due to Wednesday's snow day, Thursday is going to be a busy day at work. If I don't get round to you today, I will definitely visit over the weekend!

(Please leave your link if this is your first visit!)

Alice Audrey * Stephanie Adkins * Journeywoman * Andi
Adelle Laudan * Storyteller * Mary Quast * Inez Kelley
Shelley Munro * Ella Drake * Paige Tyler * AJ Chase
Jennifer McKenzie * Nikki Memmott * Jeanne St. James
Cate Hart *

You can find more Thursday Thirteen participants HERE.


Journeywoman said...

Hope the digging out goes all right.

Happy TT.

Alice Audrey said...

Mr. Al was out doing research for me and said it was eerie because of the lack of motor traffic.

Shelley Munro said...

It's hard to imagine all that snow when we had a hot, sunny day here in New Zealand.

Stephanie Adkins said...

Ditto what Shelley said. We get snow maybe once a year, if we're lucky. Stay warm! *Hugs*

Inez Kelley said...

I love blizzards! I know, I am weird.

Ella Drake said...

Wow! That's a lot of snow. One thing I like about all that snow coming down is how quiet it gets.

Jennifer Leeland said...

Oh man! I need to call my sister. She lives in Madison.
Wow! I haven't been paying attention to the news at all. Stay warm and stay safe, Heather.

Paige Tyler said...

Yikes, that's a lot of snow!


My TT is at

Heather said...

Journeywoman ~ I must say, one of the (few) benefits of living in an apartment is not having to dig out yourself. *g*

Alice ~ I can imagine how eerie it must have seemed. Did he go up by the university?

Shelley ~ Yeah, yeah...rub it in, LOL.

Stephanie ~ As big a hassle as this much snow can be, I have to admit I couldn't imagine living somewhere it never snowed. I just wish we didn't get quite so much of it at one time!

Heather said...

Inez ~ Actually, I think the energy and intensity of storms can be fun, it's just a matter of being prepared and being comfortable being cooped up inside a while. They actually had thundersnow just to the south of us, which I always think is cool, even if it does mean 3x the amount of snow.

Ella ~ It definitely has a muffling affect. At least outside the building.

Jennifer ~ Bad sister! I bet her kids were thrilled with yesterday's snow day. *g* One of my favorite quotes from the Weather Channel yesterday was, "if you're thinking of driving I-94 from Chicago to Madison, just don't." Says it all...*g*

Paige ~ Just a little bit, LOL.

Mary Quast said...

We sat hypnotized watching the storm play out on TV. My 3 sons kept whining that they wanted to live in MN, WI or even Iowa! We live in MI... I told them that we'll have our storm some day we just are getting missed now. Perhaps we'll go north this weekend.

Hugs... enjoy some hot chocolate!
Happy TT

storyteller said...

Wow ... what a LOT of snow! I heard about this on the news but reading your account in here and in the previous post reminds me why I live in Southern California near the ocean. Palm fronds in the streets make for hazardous driving and some parking problems (which is why some folks dragged them onto the parkway after Monday's storm). The weather's been clear since Tuesday morning but apparently we're getting two (possibly three) rain storms one right after the other starting tonight so there will be more palm fronds on the ground to clear away next week. I'm not complaining because we NEED the rain desperately. Thanks for dropping by Happily Retired Gal ... hope you stay warm and safe ;-)
Hugs and blessings,

Alice Audrey said...

I mostly wandered around Jennifer and Spaight. I wanted to be sure the neighborhood around Suzie's house hadn't gone condo or something.

He said the near West side was the area that changed the most, but I have very little set there - except when Vin got shot - so I wasn't too worried.

Alice Audrey said...

I mean HE wandered around, not "I". *shaking head at my weird typos.*

Heather said...

Mary ~ Oh, I bet your boys would have loved that snowball fight at the university. Here's hoping they get their snow day soon!

HRG ~Hearing about such a major storm definitely pales in comparison to living it, lol. Glad you are enjoying some much-needed rain!

Alice ~ ROFL at your pronoun slip. Wishing you were here with him by any chance? lol

AJ Chase said...

Omg just reading this literally makes me cold. I live in New Mexico. We got like a half an inch of snow the other day and school was canceled because we lost radio contact to the school buses. So not kidding. I don't know how people can stand being that cold. Y'all are brave lol.

Andi said...

I'm in Calgary, Canada and we've had the same kind of rotten weather. Hang in there, Spring's only 4 months away!

Heather said...

AJ ~ LOL...I actually don't mind the snow so much as the frigid below zero temps. It was only -3 with a windchill of -19 when I got up this morning. Doesn't exactly make you want to get out of bed!

Andi ~ The irony is that we had only received 2 inches of snow prior to this, whereas we had several by this time last year. Which means we more than doubled the deficit in one storm. So not fair, especially when you can get snow as late as early May. *whimper*

Nikki M said...

My goodness, sounds like a rough couple of days! We had a doozy of a couple weeks here in the NW last year, but nothing like that all at once. I hope you got a lot done at work and that the weekend is a restful one.

colleen said...

We got snow in Virginia too. 4 inches!

Heather said...

Nikki ~ It was a busy, non-stop work day, but I did get a lot done. Hopefully Friday will be a bit calmer!

Colleen ~ Only four inches?? I think I win! *VBG* ;)

Alice Audrey said...

Yeah, actually. Regardless of the weather, I wish I could have gone. We're hoping to maybe make it out this summer.