Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Late Season Snowstorm

The mountain trail near the farm early this morning when we had half the snow that we do now.

           Here in Virginia, it's unusual to have large amounts of snow, especially so late in the season.  There are some years where we go without real snow, seeing little more that flurries around Christmas and perhaps nothing more that Winter.  Most years, we have a couple of good storms that are just enough to ensure rural children a few glorious snow days in which to sled down hills, and a few flurries and not much more.  This year, in our area, it's been a fairly mild winter with a couple of snows here. The weather people for the cities some distance from here had been warning us for a week about an incoming snow or ice storm. We didn't worry much because we are usually ready for most anything, and are pretty flexible anyway.
           Yesterday, we learned that not only was a storm incoming over night, but that our daughter had the flu and was pretty much confined to her new home.  I went over yesterday and dropped off bottled water because she does not yet have the Simple Pump as we do, which would allow her to pump water during an outage.  She looked more or less ready to make it through such a storm, and the day before she had new tires placed on her car.

Early this morning.
 

           This morning, we were still surprised to see so much snow, especially so late in the season. The lights went off and on here, which is a sure sign that some of the overhead power lines a distance from here, have a tree lying against them. Eventually we lost power.  Our son who commutes to college found that classes had been cancelled.  My husband found that there were deep drifts on the roadway making it impossible for him to go to work.  Our daughter called in to tell us that she was also out of power, but was no longer febrile and thought she might be a little better.  She called in to work to find that everyone there was being dismissed for the day due to rapidly collecting snow.  A friend told her that a car had turned over on the route she normally takes to work.  We called the power company whose recording tells us that they have multiple outages over a great distance and are unsure when any restoration of power will occur.
           My husband normally keeps enough diesel to run our generators for a few days. However, he had used it in our diesel vehicles in order to rotate our stock.  He headed out early this morning to try to get more diesel.  I think this was probably more of an adventure than anything else.  He returned an hour and a half later having helped neighbors remove trees from across roads, and having slid into a ditch when another truck ran too quickly in the center of the road.
           Presently, the generator is running, and we have internet. We have about 12 inches of snow in most places, as of noon.  We have drifts because we have wind gusts to 30 mph.  If you stand outside, you can hear trees snapping and falling over under the weight of the snow.  One of my favorite cedar trees over by the garage has cracked and collapsed this morning.

This is the kennel area.  The dogs all seem fine.


Another area of the farm. All the animals though it would be a good idea to stay in today. I can't say I blame them.

        The television station in Charlottesville, Virginia which is quite a distance from here is off the air, but the weather alerts we receive via e-mail say that the snow will continue until midnight tonight.  I must go now, and knock the heavy snow off the back deck of the house.  Stay safe, wherever you are.


UPDATE:  When the snow was finished, we had twelve inches of wet and heavy snow.  First, we lost electricity, then landline telephone, and then internet.   The diesel generator started right up.  Our largest concern was that our daughter, who bought a house last year within ten miles, also lost landline, and electricity.  We recently bought 27 mile Walkie-Talkies from Wal-Mart, which have allowed us to stay in touch.  She is not only a juvenile diabetic, but she has the flu, so we immediately asked her if she wanted to stay in her room here.  She wanted to stay home thinking that her power would be restored soon.  
Then, we heard cracking.  In all we have lost two oak trees, a gorgeous tall cedar split in half, and we have really severe splitting damage to the tall and numerous arborvitae.   The animals are all well and fine, choosing to stay in to all the outbuildings.
              Last evening, my husband decided to head out for more diesel.  We normally store quite a bit, but stock must be rotated, and he believed that our Winter season was over, and so we used it in our vehicles. Now we are scrambling for adequate diesel.  He took one of the trucks out last evening and found everyone out of power for 50 miles.  Lowe's had a generator and was up and running quite a distance from here, but of course, does not sell diesel.  The internet, but not the electricity or phone, came back just a few minutes ago. 


21 comments:

Ian Holland said...

Interesting pump and yecht to the weather!

Dani said...

Looks lovely, but I know that's because I'm not in any danger. Stay safe and warm :)

Gorges Smythe said...

Only had about an inch here in the Ohio Valley overnight. We went to town in the PM and when we came back, the snow was all gone except for the top 100 feet or so of elevation on our hill. We've been lucky this year.

Sandy said...

Jane,

The pictures of the snow moving into your area are beautiful. Be safe, keep warm and dry.

I used to live up in the Fairfax area and hated when it snowed. Because I would have to go into work at 330AM and the roads hadn't been plowed. Lucky for me my drive was only 15 minutes.

Mamma Bear said...

Jane...I love the pictures. They would make beautiful cards. Glad you have generator power. We have some gas powered ones. I wish they were diesel.

The weather here has been totally crazy. 70's one day and freezing the next. All of our pears, blueberries and plums had put out their blooms only to freeze the other night. I fear we will not have any fresh fruit from our trees and bushes this year. Good thing I have lots canned from previous years.

Stay warm and safe!

Monsoon Matriarch said...

Take care! Thanks for the update and the great photos!

Linda said...

Your place is lovely with snow. But, I know it is horrible when trees break. My hens decided to let me carry them through two inches of snow several years ago when they spent the night in the house every night. I hope you get your electricity back soon or get fuel for the generator.

lotta joy said...

Our last winter in Indiana was spent hearing what sounded like gunfire when huge limbs would snap from the weight of ice and snow. It was a heavy, wet snow. The worst kind. Are the dogs warm? I'd be trying to get them inside...including the livestock. LOL

And this is the WORST time to have the flu or to be physically down in any way. I imagine you have a fireplace in case you run out of diesel. I hope so.

russell1200 said...

My son (9) would be so jealous of you! We had some very high gusts of wind yesterday, but it is just too warm for snow.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks Dani, We're working on it.

JaneofVirginia said...

This is going to be an expensive couple of days. I am glad you were spared this, Gorges.

JaneofVirginia said...

Hi Sandy, So far, too many trees grace the mountain road to permit plowing. My husband went out a back way, and helped clear trees from the road with a chainsaw to get out. More trees fell on the way home.

JaneofVirginia said...

The news says that we may reach 60 on the weekend. Of course, we still don't have the phone back, and there is a lot of damage.
We started with gas generators, and we had three. We went crazy changing the oil and filters as often as the manufacturers said we needed to. Eventually, we bought army surplus diesel village generators online, and had them transported here. They require less maintenance, and are mounted on a trailer. They can stay in a garage and then be moved to the building where we need to power for welding, heating, or anything else. The maintenance is easier on a diesel, but it is harder to get diesel fuel out here.

JaneofVirginia said...

Glad you like them. I may post more later.

JaneofVirginia said...

We were conserving fuel and turned the power off overnight. All the chickens here are fine. Funny how they tolerate cold far better than extreme heat, which is usually the problem here.

JaneofVirginia said...

Lotta Joy,
Being the eternal softie that I am, all the animals have excellent housing and are very comfortable. They all have indoor insulated structures. In fact, that barn in the picture, is nice enough inside for me to live in, in fact, as crias (baby alpacas) have been born, I have. It has a flat screen tv, phones, heat and water and an inverter system, for their enjoyment ! In fact, I thought about going down to them !

JaneofVirginia said...

I would happily have sent it all to him ! This is very unusual weather for this time of year.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

You guys got a lot more than the little dusting that we got south of Roanoke, my mom got about 7 inches at Lexington. I am kind of glad not to have any snow.

JaneofVirginia said...

Richmond got almost nothing, but the rural areas within commuting distance to Charlottesville were hammered. We are still without power and may not have it back until the weekend. Our daughter's house has no power either. She headed to Richmond to a hotel to be showered for her cutthroat corporate job. LOL

JaneofVirginia said...

The pump is a Godsend ! We are very pleased with it. We would send the weather back if we could, even though we know it recharges the aquifer. Thanks for your post.

renata voline said...
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