State of Emergency

Snow always looks so pretty when it's coming down.
Snow always looks so pretty when it’s coming down.

I’m sitting here in my sweats, in my nice warm house, watching the local news as the Governor declares a State of Emergency for my state. It’s been a long night. Somewhere between 12″ and 15″ of snow (depending on who you ask) fell in my area yesterday. It’s currently -12 degrees outside, with winds upwards of 20 mph. I think they said there are 46,750 people are without power. Yikes!

I had a plan going into this storm. I thought I had everything covered. But when do things ever go as planned? Sunday morning was nice and uneventful; I watched a movie, did laundry, worked online, and enjoyed watching the beautiful falling snow. I was a little bummed late morning to talk to the neighbor as he was heading out; he decided to head into the shop to get some work done while it was quiet. Since the woman in the third unit of the triplex the boyfriend lives in has been traveling, I was completely alone.

Shortly before 3pm, the power went out. I knew power outages were a possibility, and thought I was prepared. Hindsight says I should have watched more movies early on, and left my wireless devices to charge until the power went out. Or at least kept them charging while I used them. I hadn’t even thought about charging my Kindle. And why hadn’t I brought any books? Obviously I hadn’t really thought about what I’d do while there was no power.

It took a couple of hours before the dropping temperature inside started becoming noticeable. Around 5pm I heard something thump against the back of the house. Turned out to be the power lines falling off the house. There went my hope of getting power back! The small bedroom upstairs was feeling pretty warm (it gets hot in there!), so Hannah (the dog) and I shut ourselves up there with a bunch of candles. It actually stayed pretty warm. My hope was to wait there until the neighbor came back, so he could start a fire at his place. Sometime after 7pm I had to face reality; he wasn’t coming back that night.

Snow on the back patio. Which reminds me; we were supposed to put the patio set away. Oops!
Snow on the back patio. Which reminds me; we were supposed to put the patio set away. Oops!

The neighbor had already given me permission to use his fireplace, so Hannah and I headed to his unit in the triplex. Thankfully there was a DuraLog, which helped in getting the other wood going. The wood seemed slightly damp, and in general just wouldn’t burn well. By 3am my cell phone went dead. By 3:30am I was struggling to get the last few logs to stay lit. I was going over my options; I could charge my phone in the car, even without it running, but would that affect the battery? If I couldn’t get the fire going, how long before it would be too cold? There was no way I could get the car out of the driveway; The boyfriend had told me someone would probably be over to clear things out by noon. How long could we run the car with the heat on with a full tank of gas?

I was starting to formulate a plan when I saw the lights outside at 4am. The neighbor had returned with a large piece of construction equipment to start clearing the drive! I was saved! I could have stayed, hoping the neighbor could light a better fire than me. But even if he could get those logs lit, we didn’t have any dry wood left. And he was heading back to the shop. I decided I was done. I’d heard the snowplows up and down the street all day and night, so I knew the main roads should be passable. Since it was such heavy snowfall, there was a chance my street at home had been plowed. And I have gas heat, so even if the power was out, I probably had heat. If I couldn’t get down my street, I could head over to my parents’ house. Worst case scenario, I’d find a hotel. I know, not a very frugal idea. But it was getting cold, and the temperature outside was dropping dramatically. And with the lines to the house down, there’s no telling when we’d have power again. The power company is saying they hope to have power back to everyone by Thursday. It’s Monday!

I could hear this tree creaking under the weight of the snow. Such an erie sound.
I could hear this tree creaking under the weight of the snow. Such an eerie sound.

So I packed up, and got to work cleaning the snow off the car. By the time the drive was completely cleared it was 7am (it’s a big drive), and I was on the road. The snow plows had been working round the clock, but with the low temperatures salt was useless, so there was a layer of compacted snow on all the roads and interstate. It was slow going, but eventually I made it. And my street was cleared! My driveway, not so much. I parked at the very end of the drive and hiked it to the house.

The house has heat, and electric. I’m warm and dry, and I’ve had a nice nap. I’ve checked on everyone close to me, and they’re all fine. I’m feeling very thankful right now. Heavy snowfall and severe cold can kill. There is already 1 known weather related death in the state. Watching the news early this afternoon I learned there’s an emergency number you can call if your power is out during a severe storm, and they’ll send someone out to pick you up and take you to one of the temporary severe weather shelters. I apparently need to pay more attention to the news; it would have helped knowing this was an option early this morning. But, it all worked out.

How soon can I retire to Florida?

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm out there!

– Cindy W.


  1. glad that you are safe and warm! We’re freezing here in DC but all is well, everyone has power.

    1. It’s the coldest it’s been here in like 20 years. They said it would get above 0 today, but it stayed in the negatives most of the day. Soo Cold! I’m not a cold weather person!

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