Snowzilla Blizzard Success: Car Dug Out, And No Heart Attack

It’s the simple pleasures!

It’s being grateful for the ordinary, everyday things we take for granted.

Such as living and breathing and your heart beating. Can’t get more ordinary than that. You’ve got to do it every day.My car 2My Honda Accord has been freed from the grip of Snowzilla. Took me two days  to accomplish. I consider it a grand success, anytime a male  over 60 digs a car out without a heart attack! And I do not brag. Some other folks were not so fortunate. There but for the grace of God go I. Heaven knows, it’s not because I’m so physically fit. Because, well, I’m not.

I’m delighted to report that here in Gaithersburg, MD, Snowzilla is in full retreat in above-freezing temperatures.

Thanks to all who shoveled, to all those who were prepared in advance with snowblowers, and thanks to the guys who drive those little mean, green machines.

— John Hayden

Snowzilla In The Rearview Mirror

Amazing, isn’t it, how quickly the first snowfall of winter loses its appeal as an exciting adventure? Even if it’s a blizzard?

Saturday evening, it was so deep that even the plows could hardly move. And snow continued to fall, at a rate of one-half inch an hour or more!

We were all in this together. Hopelessly, helplessly, stuck. When the blizzard finally tapered off Saturday night, the world was quiet and at peace. It was perfectly cozy, being snowed in.

That didn’t last long.

By Sunday afternoon, eager beavers were digging cars out. (Hey everybody, what’s the big rush?) Little green machines — miniature bulldozers — were doing what the big snowplows could not. Busily hauling snow away, one scoop at a time. The green machines didn’t care that they were destroying my excuse for hibernating in place.

Monday, even though everything important in Maryland remained closed — all the schools, the federal government, most businesses — people were impatient to be out and about. Even with no place to go. Turns out, there are places to go. The Giant is open, and McDonald’s.

And so, this afternoon, I have no choice but to put on boots, venture out and see about the damn car. Personally, I think  it’s too soon to declare that Snowzilla, the Great Blizzard of 2016, is over. My rearview mirrors, at least, are still covered with snow.

I hate to think about Tuesday. 

— John Hayden

Snowzilla Is a Nor’easter Along Maryland Coast

Interstate 70 and Interstate 270 reported Closed.

The state of Maryland has closed Interstate 70 Saturday evening, from the Baltimore beltway in the east to Interstate 81 at Hagerstown in the west.  Interstate 270 is also reported closed from the Washington beltway to Frederick, where it merges into I-70 going west.

The Snowzilla blizzard of 2016 is also a Nor’easter along the Maryland coast. Nor’easters often cause some flooding and erosion on Maryland’s ocean coastline and the Chesapeake Bay area.

In Ocean City, waves driven by high winds and unusually high tides were reported pounding the beaches on Saturday, continuing Saturday night and probably into Sunday. For some Ocean City streets that typically experience flooding during storms and extremely high tides, this storm was no different. Continue reading

Snowzilla Survival Plan

The Capital Weather Gang reports as follows:

“Snowzilla is just beginning to hit its stride. Conditions deteriorate into the night as heavier snow moves in.”

I’m always skeptical about blizzards and hurricanes until they live up to expectations. So often they breeze past without much trouble. Maybe not this time.

In 2050, will people still be talking about Snowzilla and calling it “The Blizzard of the Century?” Or will climate change bring us ever more amazing blizzards, piled higher and deeper?

Yes, we expect to be snowbound until Monday, maybe longer. No problem. I have a plan.

Sleep, eat, read. Repeat. Have a nice weekend.

— John

Blizzard of 2016, Snowzilla, From Virginia to New York, At Least

The Blizzard of 2016 is beginning to bury the entire Washington, D.C.-Baltimore urban area and surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs under a predicted 16 inches to two feet of snow.

One of the best sources for continuing updates on the storm is The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. The Gang has nicknamed the potentially record-breaking snowstorm “Snowzilla.”

Snow began falling in my part of Maryland, just north of Washington, about 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. It will continue snowing all night, reaching a depth of up to 20 inches by dawn Saturday. Then the storm will continue all day Saturday, into Saturday night, possibly reaching depths of two feet to 30 inches. All this according to many weather forecasters. Continue reading

The Winter of ’14 And The Promise Of Spring

I talked with my uncle in Rhode Island this afternoon. It was snowing there, of course. Maybe it’s the same snow we had in Maryland yesterday. It shows signs of letting up. Today’s snow in RI., that is. Not the winter of 2014.

My uncle assures me that this is the coldest winter in his 85 years. And it ain’t over yet. When the snow stops, he’s planning to go out and shovel his steps.

He can’t drive just now. There’s good news and bad news from the retina specialist. The fluid in one eye has gone away, after five shots over nearly a year’s time. The shots cost $1,500 a pop. Thank goodness for his health insurance plan, which pays all but a $40 copay.

Meanwhile, vision in the other eye is not so good. It’s three years since he’s had new glasses. So the specialist sends him back to the regular eye doc. Maybe new lenses will improve his vision enough  to make him legal to drive. Fortunately, a cousin lives just across the state line in Massachusetts and takes my uncle to the grocery store every week and the laundromat every two weeks.

The coming attraction is winter storm Titan. Look for it Sunday or Monday. Possible heavy snow,  not to mention ice.  How can we have reached the letter “T” in storms? What happens when we run out of letters? What if winter never ends? Let’s hope we never reach “T” during hurricane season.

Let’s wrap this report up neatly on a positive note. Only two days remaining in February. March arrives Saturday. I can hardly believe it, but my calendar claims that daylight saving time begins March 9. More amazing still, Spring is scheduled for March 20, a few days after St. Patrick’s Day.

Nothing can stop Spring. Not freezing temperatures, not snow. In case of a blizzard, school might be closed that week, but Spring can never be canceled.

I look forward to driving north to see my uncle, but not until the last snowflake falls.

— John Hayden

You Know This Winter Is Getting Old

JUXTAPOSITION:   The East Coast is taking a snow day on Thursday. Also, baseball pitchers and catchers are reporting for Spring training in Florida and Arizona, unless their flight is cancelled.

Parts of the South were sheathed in ice on Wednesday. By the weekend, all the ice in Georgia will melt to water.

Schoolchildren enjoy a season of days off and sleeping in. Many schools will make up the lost time in June.

I hope the school buildings have heat to get through the rest of February and March — and air conditioning to get through June. — John

Winter Weather Fatigue

Talked to my 85-year-old uncle in Rhode Island on Sunday:

“This is the worst winter I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of winters.”

He didn’t even mention the word “snow.” The snow in New England hasn’t been unusual. He talked about the cold. Continue reading

Winter Storms Put A Curse On Tuesdays

Someone has put a curse on Tuesdays.

This week, we had Winter Storm Leon attacking the South on Tuesday. Last week, it was Winter Storm Janus on Tuesday, attacking the MidAtlantic and Northeast. Both storms included extreme cold temps, snow and wind, a concoction of conditions that combine to create weather ranging from miserable to dangerous. Continue reading

Extreme Arctic Cold, Going Into The Third Night

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, third day and night in a row of frigid Canadian temperatures, from the MidAtlantic to New England. And of course worse in the Midwest. Minnesota seems to be the coldest place on Earth, or at least in the U.S. Why do people live there? Don’t they know America is a free country? No passport required to cross state lines.

Continue reading