Friday, December 22, 2006

The Plutonium Shovel I

Someone wasn't careful what they wished for, for Christmas.

Granted, lots of folks up north wish to have a "White Christmas". Sometimes, they come to regret it. Lots of folks down South can only dream of one; sometimes, they -- visiting up north during the holidays -- come to regret it.

We haven't yet figured out who wished for this one; but we will. We will...

On Saturday, December 16, Denver was told by the local meteorologists to expect a wee snowmaker that would do little more than put down a 'dusting' of snow by the early part of the week. Not enough, they assured us, for a "White Christmas". One weather maven went so far as to inform listeners that, contrary to the proximity of ski resorts and the mountains, Denver only experienced the "White Christmas" gig about 30% of the time. Not a lot of hope was held out for this year -- 2006 -- to join the minority ranks.

On Sunday, December 17, Denver was told by some of those same weather folks that the snow was now due in on Tuesday, and might actually amount to 4"-8" inches in Denver. Maybe.


On Tuesday morning while driving to work, I heard that the storm was still due in, though now not until evening, but was still only bringing 4-8" to Denver.


By mid-afternoon Tuesday, however, someones' wish meter had gone ballistic: an updated weather forecast was headed Winter Storm Warning, and was beginning to include metro Denver. Snow amounts were now projected to go 6-10", with more to the west.

That wish for a "White Christmas" was becoming a reality for someone(s).

Before I left work Tuesday evening -- with clear skies still and no sign of an incoming storm -- the forecast had become more ominous: 10-20" of snow in metro Denver, with more to the west, south and east/northeast; blizzard conditions possible. The snow was projected to begin early Wednesday morning.

Eh: I've seen many a dire prediction of a major snow event go phffffft around here. I'd believe it when I saw it.

I turned in at 10pm Tuesday night; the skies were still clear. I arose at 5am and peeked out the window.

It was just beginning to snow. Light snow, with little wind.


By 7am, the picture had changed radically.

By 10am, the Winter Storm Warning had been cancelled; it had realistically been replaced by a Blizzard Warning. Denver now stood to get up to 26" of snow by Thursday noon.

Two hours later, the photo (top right) defined travel on one of the local interstates, soon to become impassible.

By 3pm, DIA -- Denver's infamous "all-weather" airport -- was completely shut down. So was I-70 from Denver to Kansas. Not that anyone would want to go to Kansas, but for those trying to flee there, they were stuck wherever they'd made it to. Soon to follow was I-25, north and south of Denver to Wyoming and New Mexico. And I-76, from Denver to Nebraska.

See the Kansas comment on that last.

Not that it bothered me much: Wednesday-Friday were my days off. I'd already visited the grocery store Tuesday. I had no reason, save for one errand, that would prompt me to venture out on Wednesday. That reason was rescheduled by 8am on Wednesday.

I was not planning to be as inconvenienced by this storm as perhaps hundreds of thousands of others would be. True, I knew I'd have some shovelling to do when the storm ended. But not that much: this is an apartment complex; they (the property management company) are responsible for snow clearance.

One thing I did plan to not forget -- unlike the storm in March '03 -- was that I had a camera, and three rolls of film. Mid Wednesday afternoon, I ventured out to shoot some photos, and assess my auto's dig-out project. While so engaged, I became involved in my first two vehicle dig-outs and assists. One -- a full size SUV 4 wheel drive -- was being dug out by the driver's wife...with an ice scraper. I graciously retrieved my trusty shovel (one of those back-friendly ergonomic designed ones), cutting a hopeless job to about 40 minutes. I would later assist a contract snow plow driver in freeing his 4x4 Dodge Ram w/plow from being high-centered in a snow pile he was busily crafting. I retired early Wednesday evening, feeling pretty good about my minimal contributions, even knowing that I still had the extraction of my auto project awaiting me in the morning.

I thought I knew what awaited me in the morning. I was wrong.

Next up: The Plutonium Shovel II.


Blogger header5 said...

Sounds lovely, Heh...

I do like snow though. Not sure I'd mind it if I didn't have anywhere to go.

22 December, 2006 16:22  
Blogger deni said...

Well, that brings back some memories, since back home it's notorious for snow like that.

I am not holding out much hope for a white Christmas here.

22 December, 2006 17:52  
Anonymous Cyndy said...

You got that right... a little snow.. a little more snow maybe...well maybe 10 inches...well maybe.....well how about something to rival the 2003 blizzard?
Just got out of my house today since Wednesday afternoon's nightmare commute home.

22 December, 2006 18:56  
Blogger Ms. Vickie said...

Hmmmm could you maybe share what is the most well most important
things to have on hand when you have a blizzard.

I have always been puzzled why here in Georgia at the first sign of
snow everyone heads for the store and buys all the bread---yep got it
and understand that one, milk ---yep got it and understand it and toilet
paper---yep got it but don't really know just why that is the third most
important thing everybody buys ----so I am now asking the expert...yes you
Skunk but wait----now see don't get this wrong that damn toilet paper is always
is always on my list as well...but why and I just realized I always have a
supply on hand. Could we be just a little anal retentive.....I'll just wait
for an answer from today's snow expert.

23 December, 2006 04:43  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

From the snow 'spert: foist, I ain't an expert on snow. See, x is the unknown factor, and spert is a drip of water under pressure. I don't think I'm that.

Now, to blizzard buying...I buy as if I may be stuck for 5 days:

Crackers (Saltine and Chicken in a Biskit kind)
Pork 'n Beans (heated or not, edible)
bread (toasted or not, edible)
Juice (chilled or not, edible)
Cereal (milk or not, edible)
Toilet paper (water running or not, wipeable)
Microwave popcorn (I'm not always a pessimist)

And I have cash on hand to call the Chinese delivery place, who's usually giving me ten tons of crap about being called to "deriver during snowstorm..yang whacka fung gu ding wa ho", or some such babble...

23 December, 2006 18:15  

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