Hunkering Down

What do you get when you combine the threat of a massive Christmas storm with last-minute Christmas preparations?  It might sound like the beginnings of a joke, but it’s not really.  More like a madhouse.

We’ve only got about 4 inches of snow so far–though that was on top of freezing drizzle and rain for the last two days.  Ice accumulation wasn’t even that thick–but with the snow on top, it’s treacherous.

I traveled Tuesday afternoon/evening to pick up my boy two hours away in Brookings. The roads weren’t bad that evening outside of Vermillion–mostly wet, though in places it was hard to tell.  Later that night, some folks were turning back from their Christmas travel plans when it started to freeze up.

Yesterday late morning we headed out to do a little last-minute supply-getting and Christmas shopping–it was a madhouse everywhere as everyone else did the same.  The weather warnings seemed to be prompting everyone out whether or not they were ready–maybe they didn’t have a week’s worth of coffee left or enough cans of pork n’ beans.

Snow started in the afternoon–and it came hard and mixed with sleet when it came.  Still, it was in the upper twenties–perfect snowball weather.  I took time out from the first round of shoveling to counter-attack my son’s volleys.  When I’d finished all the walks, I might as well have started shoveling again, but I went inside instead.

Another couple of inches last night, plus another couple of inches today, plus a forecast five inches tonight, plus four tomorrow, plus another inch or two after that makes something like 16 inches if we get everything the weather folks predict.  That’s really not all that terrible to manage if you can stay put at home.

If it all came in the manner it came yesterday–sort of warmish and a little wet but really pleasant with no wind, that’d be lovely.  But the temps are dropping and the real danger is kicking up–the cold wind that whips the snow into drifts and seeps in through layers of clothes and makes visibility impossible on already slick roads.

No wonder, I guess, that so many of my neighbors are home for the holidays this year.  I don’t know how many had planned to travel and gave up (at least a few) or how many decided it might be nice not to pack the kids in the car this year and brave the elements.

But I sure appreciate my neighbors’ help snowblowing the sidewalks!


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