The nightly news on 2 January showed the lines of plows and salt trucks ready for the expected storm. The first inkling that things weren’t going to go as planned was the announcement that no road pretreatment could be done since the storm started as moderate to heavy rain. By dawn the temperature dropped and the rain turned to heavy wet snow. It came down for most of the morning at rates of up to two inches an hour. We weren’t worried at the TTG household. We didn’t have to go anywhere and we could hunker down with what he had on hand for at least a week.
The heavy wet snow did a job on the power lines. As the morning progress the number of those without power in Stafford grew to more than 30,000. I was feeling pretty good with only a few power flickers when we finally joined the ranks of the powerless at noon. No sweat I thought. We have a gas generator that I’ll roll out later in the afternoon if I had to. I had to. I’m still on generator power in this all electric house. No heat pump, stove or water heater, but I have two small radiant heaters which keeps the house livable. We have “city water” rather than a well and pump so no problem there. My sons in Alexandria and Richmond fared much better. They didn’t lose power and weren’t in the direct path of the heaviest snow. Also, they both have the good sense to stay off the roads in these conditions.
The big story was the utter failure on I-95. There was a fifty mile traffic standstill that wasn’t cleared up until this afternoon. The traffic on this section of I-95 is very often a nightmare even when the weather is fine. All it took was one or two jack knifed tractor trailers and it was all over. The snow piled up, traffic couldn’t move and plows couldn’t plow. Apparently there was no contingency plan to close down the road to allow plows to clear the snow as I’ve seen done on interstates in the Northeast. State police would stop traffic to allow a phalanx of plows to clear the highway in one pass. This process would be repeated as needed. Your choice was to stay the hell off the roads or sit in your car, shut up and wait.
Seems in these times, people are not to be denied their freedom to travel where they want, when they want. Everybody and their brother just had to be somewhere else on Tuesday, so they all piled on I-95. A lot of them got to spend all night on I-95. Thankfully no one died in this mass expression of freedom.
Tomorrow I’ll start clearing limbs brought down by the snow. My neighbor’s driveway is blocked and I think I can clear it myself. The retired CSM is pushing 90 and has already cheated death a few times. He doesn’t need to be clearing trees from his driveway. I also got to clear a big downed limb from one of his pines that’s laying up in my cherry tree. My cherry tree will be getting plenty of sun this spring. That’s something to look forward to.
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