Monday, February 11, 2013

Storm Nemo Turned Blizzard

Why we've had so many deadly storms in the last couple of years is a question everyone's asking. Especially Connecticut residents in our area. A few months ago, Hurricane Sandy roared in and left a path of destruction we never thought we see again in our lifetimes.


Storm Nemo has caused terrible conditions in New England. Connecticut has been one of the hardest hit with the most snowfall amounts. The thin path of the heaviest snow for this blizzard is the same path where Sandy left the most rainfall and destruction. 

The blizzard started off like a gentle lamb in the early morning, then later, morphed into a snarling, wild animal by early evening.  The morning’s tiny flakes of glittering soft snow hinted that the upper atmosphere was below freezing and ripe for a Nor’Easter. We, who have grown up in the Northeast, are accustomed to at least one Nor’Easter a winter. The blue print for this one, however, sent shivers up the spine. Two major fronts colliding with each other, right in our area, might prove to be a little more than we’re used to. It was like the movie "The Perfect Storm" right on top of us.

Schools across the state had been cancelled the night before. Up until 2:00 p.m. there could have been school, but not knowing when this storm would hit full force, the towns cancelled to be on the safe side. 

At 4:00 p.m. the snow became heavier. Still, it wasn’t a threatening storm. Heavier snow and a bit of wind was all that we experienced. We hoped it would miss us. Wishful thinking. 

Around 7:00 p.m. the winds picked up and the snow began barreling in, horizontally, from the Northeast. It was like someone was blasting it out of a huge fire hose. At first, it was like any typical Nor’Easter we’ve had, so we didn’t think it would be too bad.

I went into my usual "disaster" mode and grabbed the Coleman lanterns and the radio with all the emergency bands on it, candles, matches and batteries and put them on the family room table near the fireplace. I slid one of those mini flashlights in my pocket in case the power went out so I'd have light to see, then settled down to read, all the while, wondering what morning's light would reveal. 

We have many five gallon Poland Spring water jugs in the garage (thank goodness the garage is attached to our house!) and other things we keep for New England weather emergencies. Our freezer in the basement is chocked full of meat, bread and other foods we'd need if we lost power. 

Sleet began pummelling the area around 7:30. Horizontal sleet/freezing rain filled up the northern window next to our fireplace, so much so, we couldn’t see anything outside.
It eventually turned into a block of ice. Sleet then began enveloping other parts of the house. It was hitting the front bay window so loudly, the dogs began to bark. Off in the distance was thunder snow. Great booms of thunder with lightning bolts sparking across the white out sky. 

Suddenly, all was quiet. No sounds of sleet, thunder. Was it over? I rushed to the back deck door, turned on the spotlights and coming out of the sky was snow so heavy, I couldn't see anything but the spotlight's beam revealing the snow fall.

The winds were howling. the house moaned. Knowing there was nothing we really could do, we went to bed but who could sleep?
The first morning's light.... 
We woke up and groggily grabbed a cup of coffee, then looked out the window. What we saw was like something out of a science fiction movie. We couldn't identify anything. The white world was an artist's blank canvas. Where's the street? Where's our mailbox? Where's our neighbor's car? All was buried. I kept thinking an avalanche had occurred but no.. 

The huge town snow plows had stopped early in the evening.  The snow came down so fast and furiously the trucks had become stranded. There was so much snow they wouldn't have done much good because there was nowhere to put the white stuff. 

We still had power! Calling neighbors, we learned that some had to jump out of their windows because all of the doors in their homes were blocked by 7 to 9 foot drifts.

Farmers everywhere began to appear, using their John Deere equipment and pay-loaders to try and get our roads and streets cleared.  Our heroes! We're told the main roads are only half a lane and not cleared to the black top.  

Stores and gas stations are closed. Everything is closed.

From the looks of it, our schools will be closed at least to the end of the week or longer. 

Then begins the clean up...
We've been outside every day since then trying to remove snow from our roof and deck. The deck has 7 foot high drifts over most of it, so the weight is liable to collapse it. No birds or wildlife have been seen since the blizzard. In times like this, many of them perish which is very sad. 

This is a view from our garage looking down the street. The street however, is nowhere to be found. The only indication of where it is, is the telephone pole. It's difficult to see, but if you look at the telephone pole's bottom part, to the left of it, is a black dot. It's our neighbor's head.

                        It's difficult to imagine the depth of the snow using a photo.

This is our snowblower valiantly trying to remove snow from our the driveway just in front of our garage. That drift to the left of it,  is approximately 7 feet high. If you look at the end of the gray fence, you'll a dark figure. That's another neighbor standing in an area he cleared from his driveway. 

Hopefully I'll have energy to finish this posting. We've been in 17 degree temperatures for two days.. Every day it's been a struggle. Today, Monday, it started to rain. All the drains in the street are buried in snow so there's no where for the rain to go. Our roof has about four feet of snow on top. We need to rake it soon. There's always a tomorrow.... 


  1. This reads just like a book, it could be chapter one in your best selling novel! Thank you for giving us this clear picture of the storm not from the perspective of the news. School being out that long certainly tells how bad it was. Thanks for writing this!

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn! I love to write! The last few years, we've had some terrible storms but this one topped them all. We've always had our roads cleared within a day's time, so this was frustrating. The most frightening part was during the night and the fear we might lose power. We have well water, so if we lose electricity, we lose water and heat. We were very thankful that our lights, heat and water remained on during the entire blizzard. Just today, I finished cleaning six feet of snow off our back deck. It was back breaking! I also found branches of trees that had broken off and embedded themselves in the trunks of other trees.. That just demonstrates how powerful the winds are in a blizzard. I hope this is the last of bad weather for our winter!

  2. This is just CRAZY! You guys really have been hit hard in the East. With the hurricanes in the South, maybe you should join us in the Midwest! Though, we have flooding and drought and I'm not sure any place is ideal. LOL

    I've been thinking of you and am so glad you are OK. I feel for you with the amount of work that much snow entails. When we had 2 feet a few years ago it was a lot of work and the melting of it made a mess of everything. I just can't imagine doubling that...

    Thank you for sharing your pictures, Ruth! Take care and good luck tomorrow. I bet you won't have too many kids there!

    1. Thanks Tracee!!! It's been such a tough year. The year before we had the freaky blizzard at Halloween so the kids couldn't go trick or treating for a week. All the towns decided on one day so that everyone would have their candy ready to hand out to the kids. Everyone was stunned by the ferocity of this most recent blizzard. It reminded me of a surreal science fiction movie. Since I posted this I've spoken to many people who weren't able to leave their homes from Friday to Wednesday because their roads were never plowed and their doors were covered by 9' drifts. The state sent all town and city plows to the interstate highways as ordered by the Governor, throughout CT. That's why we only saw plows on our streets until 5:30 p.m and nothing after that while the blizzard roared all around us. It was eerie. At this point, we might think about moving to the midwest to get away from New England weather! We've had tornados here but nothing like the ones where you live. Thanks for your well wishes!