Digging Out

We experienced our biggest snow storm in over thirty years!

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The historic snow storm hit with a vengeance on December 26 and 27.  The forecasts turned out to be right on target, as we received 11.5″ of the white stuff.

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Today, eight days after the snow stopped falling, we are still covered up at our house.  The melt-off has been painfully slow in our neighborhood, and we have not had any assistance in clearing streets that are not considered “major” streets.  While the overall response initially was nothing short of heroic, in my opinion, the extended response has been very problematic, if not just plain non-existent.

Hubby and I shoveled snow for three days last week in an effort to clear our driveway, part of the street and some of our elderly neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk so that we and/or her family could get to her, if needed.  Our street does not have thru traffic on it, so it is going to take a very long time for it to melt off at our present prevailing temperatures.  Our house faces north, so our front areas caught the brunt of the drifts that were caused by brutal winds of up to 60 mph at times.  I also had to buy a new pair of boots more suitable for this type of snow activity, after I pretty much ruined my one pair of Uggs in the snow.  Fortunately, I found a great pair of Michael Kors lined rubber boots on sale on New Year’s Day and even had a $20 off coupon to subtract from the sale price.  If you have to wear rubber boots, these are a great option, for sure.

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Michael Kors “Devenport” Rain Boots

All of the bad stuff aside, though, it was a truly beautiful snowfall with some epic drifts all around.  As a hobby photographer, I was so sad that I was unable to get out of the house to properly photograph some sights in the area as they were covered by the largest snowfall here in over 30 years, the third largest snowfall in the history of our area.  We ramped up feeding the birds in our yard, so I was able to take some delight in photographing them in the backyard as they dined on their feast of birdseed amid the rare snow-covered beauty.

We also had fun with the dogs, especially watching them maneuver the snow in their familiar backyard turf.  They had such a great time, once they got over some initial hesitation about maneuvering around the drifts.  They were like kids in a candy store, and we laughed and laughed at them throughout the week as they played hard outside in the white stuff.

The largest recorded snowfall here was in 1983, and we personally experienced that 16.9″ of snow and all of the many issues caused in our area at that time.  The second largest snowfall was in 1956 before we were born, so we can only personally compare this storm to the ’83 storm.  The main difference in the two historic storms was the wind.  The ’83 storm did not have the high winds to cause such problematic, but beautiful, drifts like this most recent storm caused.

The damage from the storm here is extensive, and Hubby’s company was just one of many that were hit hard.  Like many other businesses, including our big mall, sections of roofs collapsed under the large drifts that were caused in areas of roofs that were uneven, causing the snow to pile in up certain areas where it was trapped.  I heard this morning that some assistance may eventually be available to those that suffered storm damage, but so far, nothing has been made available, except coverage in effect from private insurance.

If such a historic snow storm had to hit, at least it hit during a week when schools were out of session for the Christmas holidays.  I doubt that schools here could have opened at all last week, due to the poor road conditions.  The snow started falling on Saturday evening, and we were not able to get out in our car until the following Thursday, and it was still problematic that day, too.  We just do not have the same snow removal resources that other northern areas have, nor does it make financial sense to have them to that degree.  However, we do need more than we have at this time, and that fact was made perfectly clear when so many emergency vehicles got stuck in the first two days of the storm.  Many individuals with four-wheel drive vehicles had to literally come to their rescue.  And, as to add insult to the injury in all of this, the city manager left town for the week, and the deputy city manager apparently never even showed up to the emergency operations center while it was activated.  There are already calls by prominent people in the community for their removal from their positions, which is quite understandable.

City officials anticipated that 20-30 people would die in this massive storm, but only one person died.  A homeless man was offered shelter by several different people and one care group, but he refused to come to the shelter anonymously.  There is not much that can be done in that situation, as he could not be forced to go.  Our elderly neighbors were appreciative of the fact that we had our motor home in front of the house, prepared to fire up the generator and take care of as many neighbors as possible in the event that we lost electricity.  Many areas suffered from outages, but thankfully, our neighborhood was good throughout the storm.  One neighbor across the street told us that she thought it might even be fun if we all had to bail out to the motor home together, and she even offered to bring food!  Who knows, it might have been pretty fun after all.

One more tragic result of this storm was the loss of many cattle throughout the panhandle area.  Dairy farms to the north have tragically lost thousands of head of cattle.  Closer to home, many cattle broke free from their fences by walking over them on drifts of snow or through them when they fell.  They took to the roads and even the freeways in town, and one herd was seen on a main road very close to where we live.  Another herd  showed up at a friend’s house that lives just outside of her small town not far away, but she was able to locate their owner through social media.  A group has now been created on Facebook to help reunite cattle with their owners in the area, too.

So, to sum things up at present, we are able to get out in our cars, even though the neighborhood streets are pretty problematic.  City and area officials have a lot to think about and change in their respective responses.  Many homes and business are dealing with extensive damage to roofs and water inside.  But, I’ve never been more proud of the private citizens here that came to the rescue of anyone that needed help during this difficult time.  So many people, especially farmers and ranchers, own 4×4 pickups, and *many* of them just spent those first days after the storm towing out stuck cars and transporting doctors and nurses to work.  We helped as we could, primarily helping our little elderly neighbor “weather the storm.”  Maybe someday, some nice person will do the same for us, if needed.

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Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

16 thoughts on “Digging Out”

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of snow for your area. This year we encountered the easiest drive through El Paso. I think the freezing temps and dusting of snow kept most folks housebound making traffic unusually light. A win for us.
    I love that photo of the cardinal at your super cute feeder. The red is such a beautiful pop against all the white.
    BTW – where did you find those boots? I’m heading into Corpus tomorrow to see if I can find some similar. The pair I had split.

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    1. I found the boots at DSW Shoes. I looked at Dillard’s, but even though they carry that brand in everything, they did not have these awesome boots. I highly recommend them since they have some lining on the inside. My poor Uggs are pretty much history… just not really designed for all that wet snow. The cardinals didn’t come around until New Year’s Eve, late that evening. Had to really bump up the ISO to even get the shot, so it’s not great. They were beautiful to finally see amid the snow, though!

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      1. Those things were hard to come by! The farm store was ravaged by people buying them. I’m just happy to have found a pair that fit and feel good and warm… and dry! 🙂

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  2. Glad you were able to find some boots. Your birds are all fluffed out for insulation. You can almost tell how cold it is by how fluffy they are. Dogs are so silly when it comes to snow. Glad your power stayed on. The cattle issue does seem to be a problem when they have no boundaries. I guess the snow was whiter on the other side of the fence? (attempt at humor)

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    1. Yes, we have lots of fluffy doves here right now! I think at one point after I put out the seed, we probably had 50-60 doves trying to get on the feeders, too. It was pretty crazy. Having cattle roaming in town and on the freeway was pretty crazy, too. Couldn’t help but feel for them and their owners who have been frantically trying to track them down and get them home again. One image of cattle on the freeway that made its way to social media led to lots of memes that were pretty funny, too. Lots of people here had too much free time on their hands for that kind of stuff! 😀

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    1. Thanks so much. At least it wasn’t all the severe weather that the Dallas area had. Such devastation and tragedy there. We can handle the snow. 😉

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  3. I have thought of you 4 (can’t forget the doggies) often in recent days. I’ve been in Amarillo in a snow and ice storm and remember how long it took to get the city moving again afterwards. I may not LIKE Wisconsin but they do have equipment sufficient to handle most of their snow events.

    I can’t imagine the extent of damage — to property & animals. In areas like WI where there are frequent heavy snowfalls the weak limbs and branches get ‘pruned’ by Momma Nature fairly regularly, and of course our farmers are otherwise enabled to care for their herds than yours are. Going to be a rough recovery for some I’m sure.

    The lovely thing about dogs is that they live in the present. Once they get past initial hesitation it’s like a new world for them to explore. Kinda how I feel when we pull into a new area we’ve never been before; ‘scept they have more energy than I do!

    Take care ‘o yourselves and stay safe.

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    1. The city needs to contract with some people ahead of time to help clear the streets. That would be the easiest solution, since supposedly they don’t allow residents to contract directly to clear their streets. Some did anyway, but some contractors wouldn’t touch the streets for that reason. They are mostly clear now anyway, but what a mess last week was. Ugh. Lots of collapsed roofs in the area, including Hub’s company. It is a very big mess for many. Grateful that I can just stay inside where it’s warm and do some much needed catching up in lots of ways.

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      1. Sorry to hear about the roof collapse!!!!!! Hope it wasn’t the entire roof & doesn’t cause too much upsetment.
        I’m afraid there is no place that is immune to weather issues. Might be different problems, but pretty much every place has SOME kind of weather related issue regularly.
        A few years ago when I first visited Bosque del Apache I went 25 miles down the road to the Fort Craig historic site and that visit really got me to thinking about the choices people make about their abode. Fort Craig was in an area used by migrant & nomadic peoples for 10,000’s years and when I look out across the valley I ask myself WHY would anyone pick that country in which to live — or even in which to make an annual trek — and I just scratch my head. And yet El Camino Real was a way of life for centuries. There’s no accounting for taste. We all have our ideas of what we like and what we want for our lives and we don’t always pick the easiest route — for ourselves or others.
        God bless you both as you work through the cleanup and here’s hoping that hub isn’t too seriously affected by the damages.

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        1. It was a partial collapse in a back area, but gas is still shut off to the whole building until the city can get it back on. They got a firm in to support the rest of the roof in the problem area to allow them to move the needed supplies to another area. I don’t think biz will be too badly impacted, grateful for that. Hope that turns out to be the case. Will be an expensive fix, for sure. Ugh.

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