Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzard 2011 - Part 2

Ohmygoddess!  It's really really REALLY nasty out there right now.  It's 9:19 p.m. as I'm starting this blog entry.  I tried to take a few photos - haven't downloaded them yet, not sure if they turned out at all.  As far as I could tell, all I got was big white blobs, LOL!

I found this photo at the website for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, and I think it catches the essence of this storm - and this was taken this afternoon when it was still light outside and the winds weren't gusting over 40 mph!  Credit to Rick Wood.

It is snowing hard, but worse is the wind, whipping out of the east/northeast off Lake Michigan at sustained 25 mph in Milwaukee, with gusts up to 50 mph.  The snow is horizontal, in other words, and I saw something tonight in my driveway that I have not seen the entire time I've lived here - 21 years.  The wind is so strong it has actually scrubbed away all the snow in a large swatch of driveway!  That swatch in front of my garage door from this morning is also still scoured down to concrete, and my front stoop, except for about a foot of snow right by the door where one would step out, is also scoured clear of snow by the wind.  Looking out the windows - which are now building up snow crusts and that has only happened a few times the last 21 years - the air is so saturated with blowing snow that it looks foggy outside.  I thank the goddess I am warm and safe inside tonight, and worry about those who are not.  Shelters and churches open for the homeless and those who have lost power in such storms and offer a meal, and a warm, dry place to lay one's head for the night, but now getting to the shelters is, itself, a major issue.

The entire city is shut down tomorrow - schools shut; courts shut; airport, which our intrepid plow operators were able to keep open earlier today to get at least some flights out (not many were coming in), is also shut down tonight, the plows cannot keep up with the blowing and drifting snow; there are no flights in or out; government offices shut, except for essential personnel, and good luck to them trying to get around tomorrow, damn!  White out conditions are the norm. The worst of the snow hasn't even got here yet.  It's forecasted right now to fall between 10:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, as much as 4 inches an hour. 

9:39 p.m. - okay, downloaded the photos I took.  I'm not very good at this sort of thing and I don't understand how to ajdust the settings on the camera to get better shots.  Anyway, only three turned out, sort of.  The first two are looking toward the southeast from the front porch - well, as much as I could get out to the front porch.  The wind was so strong from the east/northeast that it kept shoving the storm door into my elbow as I was trying to hold the camera out to snap these shots, LOL!  In the first photo you can see the bare patch of concrete that the wind has scoured clear of snow.  In the second photo the idea was to try and get a shot under the street light on the corner nearest my house to show more of the blowing snow, but all I got was a lens full of snowflakes and the side of my porch alcove.  That foggy look - that's actually what it looks outside right now, that's how much snow is blowing around.

This is a photo of the backyard - not from the deck, I wasn't brave enough to attempt to step outside, which would, in any event, have involved getting boots on and cold-weather gear.  Nope, I only opened up the patio door and clicked away.  This is the only image that turned out enough to actually see something other than white blobs in front of the lens!

I expect that the office will be closed tomorrow, so I'll get a "free" snow day in addition to the one I took today - am SO glad I did!  It was horrid outside well before 3:00 p.m. although the snow from "Round 2" as this storm is being called locally, didn't really start up until after 4:00 p.m. but, to be honest, it was hard to tell because of all the blowing/drifting snow off roofs and the ground!  All I can tell you is that whenever I stuck my face outside I got a face-full of snow, LOL!  And why, you ask, would I be so foolish as to stick my face outside in this weather?  It was to throw out hands-full of almonds for the squirrels who still managed to show up between 4 and 5 p.m.!  They had to grab them fast because they were quickly covered with drifting snow.

Okay - now 10 p.m. and the latest forecast is on.  We are now in moderate snow fall of 2 inches per hour, until about noon tomorrow.  Plus we have lake effect snow.  Great, just great.  The official measurement of snowfall thus far is impossible to get because of the winds. All the forecasters can do is guess.  We may have had up to 7 inches yesterday in the Milwaukee area.  Perhaps 11 more inches today, thus far.  Estimated another 3 to 4 inches tomorrow after the worst of the storm has passed.  Ach, I could deal with that, except for the winds and we're to go into the deep freeze tomorrow after the storm passes.

And taxpayers will be coughing up more money next assessment round to balance the city's budget as it will cost well over a million dollars, when all is said and done, to clean up from this storm.

The wind is howling, things are smacking against the house.  It feels cold in here despite the thermostat saying every time I look at it that it's 65 degrees F, and I'm thanking goddess I have a brand new furnace (cha-ching!), which will be chugging all night to keep up with the air infiltration caused by the non-stop strong winds into this rather air-tight house!  I will shortly be snuggling under a heavy down comforter trying to get some sleep, but I don't think I'll get much rest tonight.  But maybe, tonight, I won't be woken up by night sweats!  I'm too cold!


adam porth said...

I can say that I don't miss those Wisconsin winters.

Jan said...

I'm with you! I can't wait to retire to someplace warm and dry!

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