Sunday, February 25, 2007

Slushy Mess

The last few days have been very uneventful. We've lost a lot of the snow pack that we started out with after the last storm, the roads cleared completely, and the sun was visible off and on. Nothing too exciting to report. However, last night changed all of that. Forecasters had been mentioning that a very large storm would be hitting the center of the country this weekend, but for our area it would be only rain. A welcome change from all of the ice and snow that we've been having. However, the temperatures didn't warm as quickly as the forecast called for and so when the precipitation began to fall it fell as sleet, freezing rain, and snow.

At about 4pm yesterday (Saturday, February 24) the temperature was at 30 degrees and the first drops of rain began to fall. To our west and southwest a massive shield of heavy precipitation was moving east northeast towards us. Within 30 minutes, the freezing rain intensified putting a coat of ice on everything. Icicles were forming on the trees, power lines, and the deck. After about thirty minutes of freezing rain, the precipitation turned to all sleet. The sleet accumulated enough to cover the road, sidewalk, deck and bare patches of ground with a white coating. After about 30 minutes of sleet, the precipitation turned to giant snowflakes. I don't recall seeing snow flakes this large before. The flakes were so large that they cast a shadow on the ground in the orange glow from the security light as they fell. They were about the size of silver dollars. These snow flakes were very wet and heavy. The fell straight down and with some speed. Over the next couple of hours, the precipitation took many turns from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain. Eventually, the temperatures began to rise and the precipitation became plain rain. The damage had been done though and everything was coated with a thick two inch slushy mess.

At 9:45pm I noticed a car coming up the hill heading east. I'd seen the car in days past, but wasn't sure where they were from. Anyway, the car made it up the hill and got right in front of house when it could go no farther. I watched the car for a few minutes back down the hill to the corner and then try and head up the hill again. No luck. The thick layer of slush on the road, plus the light coating of ice underneath made the roads treacherous and nearly impassable. I finally went out to see if I could help get them up the hill. Once I got out there, they made it up the hill on their own pretty much. They stopped to thank me, but I deserved none. I felt really bad to find out that it was two older ladies and a baby. I wish I had gone out sooner rather than watch them struggle on the hill for ten minutes. It's just that the last time I went out to help someone get up the hill they were drunk. Anyway, I went back inside and watched to see if they made it up the next hill. They had trouble and I was just about to head out to help them when I saw that they eventually made it up the hill. It was not a good night to be out!!

Today, the weather has calmed down. The current temperature is 42 degrees with a high expected in the upper 40's. The county has yet to come by and scrape the slush off the road. I'm thinking that they won't. They'll probably let the temperature melt it, but then tonight it is supposed to drop below freezing. If they don't scrape it I imagine tomorrow morning will be a mess. Do I hear 2-hour delay? :-)