Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blizzard 2.0: More blizzardy. More adventurey!

One of my pastimes these days is to consistently check the Environment Canada weather report for Baker Lake - I check it a few times a day, just to see. The weather conditions looked a little suspicious about a week ago and I remember declaring "we're going to get a blizzard on the 19th" but it was too far out for anyone to really take note. Sure enough, the forecast was right and by Sunday evening we went from "blizzard watch" to "blizzard warning" to "BLIZZARD IS IMMINENT AND OR OCCURRING" ...which basically translates into, "you better have your affairs in order, because you're sitting ducks! Run for the HILLS!", in meteorologist speak.

Imagine our surprise when we woke up at 6:00am on Monday morning and there was no blizzard! Oh, but Mother Nature is a fickle woman and she changed that pretty fast...

The new routine we've fallen into on a blizzard -forecasted morning is that I run frantically down the stairs when the alarm goes off to look out the big window and fire up the computer to check the weather forecast. On this day, the warning was still there but there was a bit of wind and nothing else...huh?

Confused, we got Jeff to work as usual and it was windy but not much was going on. Around 8:15 I'm heading into work and the snow is starting to fall and the wind is picking up, but again, nothing to be concerned about. However, at 9:30 looking outside the window, it was a white wonderland and we started hearing that the schools were closed and so my work sent everyone home for the day.

By the time we got to the house, in the short (under 5 minute) ride, visibility while driving had decreased rapidly. The snow was falling harder and the wind was whipping around like crazy. I called Jeff when I got home, but he was still at the airport waiting for the final confirmation that his planes were cancelled before he could go home.

I tried sitting on our couch to get some work done, but the wind shook things so badly I was literally getting motion sick. Not a fun feeling. At one point, I looked out and the water truck guy was trying to bang our frozen pipe so he could fill us up (A for effort, kind sir!! You deserve a Christmas gift!!) He actually tried going to our neighbour's house after ours, but after a couple of failed attempts at backing into their drive, he gave up and drove away.

Here's a video from the front of the house mid-afternoon when it was particularly blizzard-y. You'll see the truck that got stuck in the ditch at the end of the video - poor guy was one half of a driveway away from making it really couldn't see out there!
The view from the back - you'll remember from the last blizzard post, you could see a row of 3 houses on the far right...but this time, the snow was so bad you couldn't even see an outline of them!

I was also noticing that the furnace was being extra active and was wondering why...and that's when I went out to our mud room and saw this:
I guess the weather stripping we asked them to put up wasn't very effective. I shoveled out the snow and then I taped towels along the edges and rolled up a sheet along the bottom...the snow just went around it. I must have shoveled it at least a half dozen times before I gave up and shut the inside door and went to bed!

So...what happened to Jeff you ask? He called and said he'd be catching a ride with a co-worker around 4 (unfortunately when the blizzard was at its peak) so I started to make dinner while I waited...and waited...and waited...all the while, looking at this:

By 4:30 I was anxious, and by 5 I was can imagine me by 5:15 when I was all-out freaking out. I had visions of him stuck in a ditch and freezing to wasn't pretty. My neighbours, bless their kind souls, realized I was going crazy and offered their company, their wine and when we saw a car stuck at the end of the road, one of them even went out to see if if was Jeff (it wasn't). By the time I was imagining how I would have to hijack a snowmobile on a hunt for my husband in a raging storm, he finally called and said he was safe and sound, but unable to come home.

Turns out our normal 7 minute drive on a nice day is pretty treacherous when you can't see. They got stuck in a couple of drifts and they made it to one of the town's hotels and were unable to keep going. Thankfully they had a warm place to stay and were well taken care of for the night. It still boggles my mind that the literal 2 minute drive to the hotel was impossible to make because of the snow...another "where do we live??" moments. You have to imagine the drifts were pretty crazy in some areas though...remember the truck from the video today? Here's what it looked like later on in the evening, completely covered in snow:

Once I knew he was safe, I shoveled out the front hall once more and then found that our satellite was down so I just decided to give up and go to bed.

And then, as suddenly as it started, the blizzard button was turned to "off" and everything just...stopped. No gradual dying down of the wind or snow. It just went quiet and ended. Dogs started barking and that was the only sound you could hear. It was very, very eerie.

The next morning, some roads were plowed and some weren't (ours was!) - but most roads are cleared enough to be one way roads only. The snow drifts that have been left behind are crazy!! I will take pictures later, but in some places, they look to be 10 feet high!! It was a beautiful and sunshine-filled Tuesday following a pretty crazy Monday.

Which brings us to today...rumour has it that it could be another blizzardy afternoon, and the snow has just started to fall when I looked out around 6. Well! If we weren't sure if it was winter yet, I'm pretty sure the snow drifts that are twice my height should make that pretty clear! It's going to be an interesting season once we get into the "blizzard" months where they can get "bad." Ummmmmm if that wasn't a bad one, I'm very curious to see how much worse it can get!



  1. I wish I still had snow days! Glad you are surviving, stay warm

    1. Snow days aren't quite as exciting as I remember them as a kid...with a laptop and internet connections, I really have no excuse not to work even when I'm home. :)

      It is pretty nice to work in my jammies though!

  2. Do you guys have snow shoes? Those are awful handy.

    1. We don't, but it's something that we should probably look into!!