On Sunday 26 January we were all aware of the coming Winter Storm Juno. The US Weather Service had issued warnings and everyone was out getting their bread and milk. “Impossible and life threatening driving conditions” were predicted for Tuesday 27 January, so class was cancelled. Well, actually, everything got shifted to the right, but right now, I’m off and looking out the window planning a walk in the snow and the wind.
Firstly, what is a blizzard: it is “a severe snowstorm characterised by strong sustained winds of at least 56 km/h (35 mph) and lasting for a prolonged period of time, typically 3 hours or more;” thank you Wikipedia. And that is what we had. The dangerous part of a blizzard is the wind. It blows power lines over, blows snow around and would also make driving “impossible …”
We had class on Monday, and during our meeting we were told that the school would be closed for the next two days. I organised a shelter on Sunday already; 22 Bateman Ave, Shanan and Steve’s house. They have a gas stove and gas heating, so if the electricity went out we could keep warm. Well, more importantly, we could still make tee.
The City of Newport set up a warming centre in town for people whose electricity goes out. I guess that I understand the need for gas and oil heating better now. As people were texting this information to each other I was having a condescending chuckle, but of course, I was the wuss that had seeked out a shelter on Sunday already.
Monday evening was uneventful. We watched some Netflix and waited for the storm to come. Snow started falling at noon already but it was still very little. By that evening it started picking up. There was about a foot of snow on the ground by the time that we turned in to sleep. Mercifully, the power remained on during the night (the power actually remained on during the storm).
During the middle watch (midnight – 4am) we had the worst of the blizzard with the heaviest snowfall and winds in excess of 56 km/h. We took barley for a walk at 10 with a wind chill of -19C.
Getting ready for our walk.
Shanan, Steve and I dressed in multiple layers (I had 3 pairs of socks on because gumboots freeze after 15 minutes in the snow) but Barley was having the time of his life in nothing but his birthday suit!
This guy would have his work cut out once the blizzard stops. On the right is Steve and Shanan’s house with their cars outside. Shanan’s car would be covered in snow up to its side mirrors by the end of the blizzard.
We started playing a game of Monopoly that afternoon, but that game takes sooo long that we went for another walk as a break
Flopping down in the backyard. The snow is so soft, it feels like a feather bed. The snow there was over 3 feet high against the fence.
There was a break in the wind so we shovelled the sidewalk clear. If you keep shovelling it make it easier to see the sidewalk and less work once the storm stops. Besides, you must shovel your sidewalk within 4 hours after daybreak or after the storm stops or you get fined!
Barley was enjoying this snow as much as we were:
This was, by the way, the first time that I had played monopoly until someone won. Usually everyone just gives up, but Shanan thoroughly beat us.
The State of Rhode Island imposed a travel ban for Tuesday. They still cleared the roads though for emergency services to be able to move around. The police can fine you if you are found driving without a good reason. An example of a good reason would be Ran and Osman whose wives’ due dates were both on Tuesday!
NY City also had a travel ban; above left is 10th Ave emptier than its been in a long time. Some areas were hit worse than others; right is Nantucket Island.
Later were heard about the USS Providence that was severely damages in Newport Harbour.
Earning my keep (totally posed). Thereafter Steve and I helped the neighbour get her car out of her driveway and then I was off for my walk home.
Snow blowers make clearing sidewalks easy, but digging cars out is another story – and the most snow is underneath the car.
Some sidewalks are easier to clear than others.
Come rain or snow, beer gets delivered.
I walked straight to Empire where I am now writing this blog. I was both surprised and happy to find them open. While working here I got news that Osman and Deniz’s baby was born this morning, and both mom and daughter are in good health.
The blizzard was nowhere near as epic or as “historically crippling” as the news predicted, or should I say, as the sensationalist media predicted. But there is a lot of snow on the ground. The parking lot at my apartment has over 4 feet of snow! – that’s piled up from ploughing but it’s impressive nonetheless. We have a maximum of 2C predicted over the next 10 days and sporadic snowfall, so this snow is going nowhere.
The ugly side of snow; brown-grey slush puppy on the roads.
I had a good laugh at myself when I took my umbrella out walking. The snow is so light that it comes from all directions and an umbrella is absolutely useless.
It is amazing how cities function in the cold. They have to plough snow, so that costs money, and then salt gets spread everywhere. The salt melts the snow, absorbs some water and provides grip but it also damages the roads and buildings very badly. And Rhode Island has it easy; Minneapolis for example has snow and -30C for about 4 months.
Oh, I only saw 1 vehicle with chains on its wheels. I did see some a-holes driving too fast and sliding all over the place, so I was very careful when walking around.