I survived the blizzard that was hyped to be the worst since the Blizzard of 2010. All I can say is that my arms were so completely tired from shoveling all that snow that I felt like they were about to fall off at times. Right now I’m trying not to do anything that’s too strenuous for my arms in order to give them a shot at recovering.

That blizzard capped off a week full of unusual events, which started with most people being off for Martin Luther King Day last Monday (January 18). Last Tuesday (January 19) I had jury duty. By the time that day ended it was time to prepare for the upcoming blizzard.

The blizzard drama had a preview of things to come last Wednesday (January 20). That was the night when I trusted my AccuWeather’s forecast of snow flurries followed by just clouds. Boy, were they ever wrong, as you can see from these photographs.

AccuWeather Said This Was a "Snow Flurry"

AccuWeather Said This Was a "Snow Flurry"

I wrote a more extensive rant about that debacle last week so I’m not going to dwell too much on it here.

Last Thursday (January 21) was pretty crazy as well. Even though I had purchased a few groceries at Target the previous night, there were still a few items that I hadn’t purchased so I went to Aldi, where I encountered many other people who were also preparing for the blizzard as well. Most people took it in stride even though I had to wait longer in line in order to get checked out than usual due to the crowds.

By Friday (January 22) everything in the area literally came to a grinding halt. The Metro public transportation system had shut down completely. The federal government, state government, county government, schools, and many businesses were completely closed. It was like The Cure’s song “Grinding Halt” come to life.

I was ready for the storm, which was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Between 1:30-2 p.m. I decided to make a trip to the nearby shopping mall not to buy anything (which I didn’t) but to get out of the house for my own mental health since I knew I was going to be stuck at home by myself for at least two days. It had started to snow but the snow was pretty light and it wasn’t laying in the street so I figured that it would be safe to drive. I found that many of the stores there were either closed for the day or they were in the process of closing.

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

Seeing closed stores at a shopping mall on a Friday afternoon that’s not a holiday was definitely unusual.

That shopping mall has a Giant supermarket at one end. I entered it briefly just to see the number of people who were still standing in line buying groceries with the storm being forecast as beginning in less than an hour.

The Blizzard of 2016

I saw this man taking a nap in one of the coin-operated shiatsu massage chairs right in the middle of the mall less than the hour before the blizzard was scheduled to begin.

The Blizzard of 2016

When I left the mall I found that the snow started to fall heavier and the streets were starting to get covered. I was driving around the back of the mall when I saw a flock of seagulls who had flown inland and decided to hunker down for the storm.

The Blizzard of 2016

In comparison to driving to the mall, I had a more harrowing drive coming home. The streets were completely covered and driving on them were just as treacherous as they were on Wednesday night. Fortunately there weren’t as many cars as there were the other night so I as able to make the trip back home in 20 minutes (and that was when I was driving no faster than 10 m.p.h.). So I basically spent the blizzard staying home while periodically taking pictures of what was going on outside. Here is the front lawn that was taken over a two-day period (from January 22-23) when the blizzard was at its height).

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

Here is what the bottom of the front door was like.

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

 

The Blizzard of 2016

Here is a view of the blizzard from the kitchen window.

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

Throughout the two-day blizzard, I shot some time lapse footage where you can see the snow gradually accumulating to the point where nearly everything outside was buried.

Here is what everything looked like on the third day (January 24) when the blizzard ended for those of us in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area.

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

Here is the kitchen window.

The Blizzard of 2016 Unlike the Blizzard of 2010 I didn’t have anyone else living with me who could help with the shoveling. I had friends online suggest that I hire someone but the only problem is that I didn’t have enough money at the time. (I had some money that were in the process of arriving but they didn’t come in time for the storm.) So I took out my shovel and initially did it all myself. The Blizzard of 2016

At least I freed myself from being completely trapped in my home and I could step outside. I managed to get my car partially uncovered until my arms became so incredibly sore by sunset that I just couldn’t go any further.

While I was shoveling I took out a metal yardstick and found that the snow measured almost 16 inches. (Actually, if you want to get technical, the snow in the front yard reached 15 and 3/4 inches.)

The Blizzard of 2016

There was one fringe benefit of doing my own snow shoveling. There was a very lovely sunset that capped the first post-blizzard day.

The Blizzard of 2016

By Monday (January 25) I was able to get enough snow shoveling done that I could walk out into the street. It helped that the temperature went up to around 34 degrees Fahrenheit so it was just enough above freezing for the snow to start melting.

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

My car was still partially trapped under the snow. I was lucky that day because a woman who happened to be walking by with a shovel offered to help me. (She had volunteered to look for fire hydrants to shovel out but it was very hard to find them under all that snow.) Thanks to her help we managed to get my car about 75 percent freed, leaving just a tall pile of snow that blocked it from the back.

The schools and nearly everything else were still closed (the Metro system had only partially re-opened but it was mainly within the DC city borders) but people were trying their best to dig out from under the snow. I saw plenty of snow mountains that were being formed by a combination of snow plows and people’s shovels.

On Tuesday (January 26) many places were either still closed or partially running (such as Metro). I got pretty goofy when I took this photo of this Elsa doll standing in the deep snow.

The Blizzard of 2016

The Blizzard of 2016

I also I decided that I would clear that snow pile blocking the back of my car once and for all. I slowly shoveled the huge snow pile in layers (which was how my then-husband taught me how to move huge snow piles during the aftermath of the Blizzard of 2010) when a man in a pickup truck pulled over and offered to help me with his shovel. We managed to clear the last of the snow pile that was blocking my car. I was very tired after that so I simply went back indoors and rested.

Yesterday (January 27) I decided to drive my car for the first time in four days. I managed to make it to Target, which was bustling full of shoppers. I just walked around for a bit while feeling glad that the worst of the blizzard was over. The Metro subway system had gone back to being almost completely functional (the Silver line was still the only one that wasn’t working) and, once again, it was making stops outside of the DC line. I also saw the Metrobuses in my area again. The public schools were still closed.

Today everything is almost back to normal (with the exception of the public schools being closed again). The only downer that the temperature has taken a dip below freezing this morning. This USA Today article says that Washington, DC got off relatively light with 17.8 inches of snow. Just 30 miles north it was far worse. Baltimore got a whopping 29.2 inches. But the blizzard wasn’t all bad for everyone. Over at the National Zoo one of the panda bears, Tian Tian, was having a ball with all that snow.

Sure the snow can make very pretty pictures but I’ve had more than my fill of it. I’m ready for spring.

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