Our First Blizzard

Reader Contribution by Benjamin Baer
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You may have heard, there was a giant winter storm this past weekend named Jonas. I never knew they named winter storms; growing up in Florida I knew they named hurricanes (I saw plenty of those), but never heard of naming a winter storm until recently. Winter storms deserve a name too, I guess.

While the lower elevations in our area experienced plenty of snow and wind, the higher elevations got to enjoy blizzard conditions. It was an experience, to say the least, but we were prepared …

We did everything we could think of to make sure we were prepared to lose power or be stuck at home for an extended period of time. Made sure we had plenty of food items, filled the vehicles with gas, had plenty of gas on hand for the generator, filled our tub with water and made sure all of our flashlights/lanterns were working and 100% charged. I also made sure to have plenty of frozen gallon jugs to put in our refrigerators/freezers to keep the contents cold (I always have those on hand … never know when you might need a block of ice!). I’ll admit, living in Florida, when a hurricane was approaching I did absolutely nothing to prepare. I always expected everything to be fine, and for the most part, it always was. I never experienced extended power outages, never got stranded, it was always pretty easy (the same cannot be said for my parents who were once without power for about a week). Obviously, times have changed quite a bit — maybe it’s age, maybe it’s the fact I have a family now or maybe I’m just more fearful of winter storms than hurricanes — whatever the reason, we were ready for this storm.

I made a quick trip to the county dump early Friday morning, and about the time I got back, the snow started falling, and it didn’t stop until Saturday evening. We spent Friday trying to enjoy it, did a little sledding and walking around taking in some of the winter wonderland sights in the falling snow, but our daughter was not having it. One day she will probably be like every other kid, and will be hoping for and celebrating any and all snow days. But until then, the sledding, snow men, snow angels and snowball fights will all have to wait; as she prefers to watch the snow from the window of a heated home with some blackberries in one hand and a doll in the other. And she did plenty of that both days, as the snow was heavy at times, but steady at the minimum, thru Saturday night. The peak of it was Friday night, when if you went outside around 10pm it was a complete white out – totally unlike anything I have ever seen before. We have plenty of fog from time to time, so we’re used to mornings with limited visibility. But we’ve never seen anything like Friday night, where the snow and wind were so strong we couldn’t see the trees outside our bedroom window.

In case you’re unaware, I’m pretty sure the arms up and straight is the universal toddler sign for, “Pick me up and get me the heck out of here!”

When it was all said and done, we received 24 inches of snow and had wind gusts up to 35 mph, and thankfully, never lost power. Sunday morning we all ventured outside to start the shoveling, and of course, to compare temperature readings, wind gusts and snow measurements with the neighbors.

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