Monday, January 24, 2011

The Great Buxton Blizzard of 2011

Well for once I get to write about something fun and unusual and what a blast it was!

Yes folks, The Great Blizzard of '11 was one incredible thing. You have to remember, we're talking about Buxton here, but for quite a while yesterday, we got a taste of the winter magic.

When I returned from my visit to the far north, otherwise known as Kinnakeet or Avon, the snow had been falling for perhaps an hour and was just beginning to stick and was falling at a rate that I'd expect would satisfy the predicted 1-3" throughout the afternoon and evening. The first picture I posted was a 9:49 am and it was just beginning to snow.

After I got back from Avon the snow slowed, the big flakes came and I figured that the snow would end now that the white stuff had begun to stick. I remember thinking "well that's it, there's our snowstorm for this year".   Then, it began to snow..:)

Being from the coast not far from here, Ive seen plenty of snow that comes down hard for a while but then tapers off to a moderate level before it finally quits entirely. That of course, is what I expected here as we were only supposed to get a little snow.

That's not what happened. Instead, the storm began to intensify.

What was becoming apparent was that the weather guys might have missed something along the way. The storm wasn't letting up one bit. As hard as it was to imagine, it continued to intensify!

As is evident, things in the distance were getting a bit tough to see even though it was still early afternoon. Up to this point I had refused to look at the radar because the kid in me didn't want to see this "to good to be true" situation come to an end. I had nothing to worry about!

So there I was, laughing in amazement every time I looked out the window. It was pouring snow with lots more to come.

That's when I realized I might not be so giddy come the morning when I wanted to go out and take pictures. It never occurred to me that I would need an ice scraper while I lived in Buxton and I hadn't put gas in the tank on the way home. We're only going to get three inches of snow, right? Would I be able to get to Jarvis's Exxon or would I run out of gas on the way there after defrosting the windows?

Somebody in heaven thought that was a funny question and decided to have a bit of fun with it and decided to crank up the snow machine. As if it hadn't been snowing hard enough already, it then got stupid. Instead of a hard snow, we now had hard snow cubed. And it never let up. For hour after hour, this is what I saw out of my window though the photo was taken outside, not through the glass.

When I woke the next morning, the sky was clear with just a faint hint of the coming sun but the snow was glowing brightly from the moonlight. It was really neat! I waited until the sunlight first hit the snow before the shutter started clicking.

Obviously a bit more than three inches.

The next step was to fire up the truck and pray I had enough gas. I let it idle for a while to try and clear the windows which didn't work. There was just to much snow, around ten inches or better and I was running out of fuel. Plan B involved using the only thing I had that might work to clear the glass. Who ever knew a Plano tackle tray could do such a decent job as a scraper? And little did I know, I would need that tray several more times that morning.

My truck is under here somewhere!

I made it to the gas station with the fuel light and chime going off..whew. Then off to "visit" the Seashore. It was beautiful! A couple of my favorite pics were taken up by Ramp 43. Perhaps though nothing compared with walking the beach and seeing the ocean wash coming in to touch the edge of the snow. The "snow dune" was neat also.

Unfortunately, there's just to many neat pictures to share here. I stopped quite a few times because of what I saw that morning. One such stop was at the turtle pond which was loaded with ducks. I got out and took a couple shots of the ducks doing their duck thing and then hopped back into the truck and shut the door.

Ever take a good look at the roof of a Ram 1500? Me either, really. Well, they slope forward in case you wanted to know.

When I closed the door an 8x8, windshield wide snow log slid from the front of the roof and onto the window instantly obscuring my vision and rendering the wipers inoperable and I had another truck behind me. I grabbed the tackle tray and did the best I could which left me barely able to see.

All was reasonably well until I stopped at the end of Lighthouse Road when yet another snow log fell from the roof and I then had two trucks behind me. Rinse/Repeat. This wasn't funny anymore and there was still more snow on the roof.

I turned for Avon thinking that it would get pushed back into the rest of the stuff up there and no more worries. I stopped at the turnout before Canadian Hole and got a couple neat shots.

Alas, the snow logs weren't done with me yet. It wasn't the first on that got me but the second. Frustrated by the first (actually third) when the last one fell, I was still at the turnout having just finished dealing with the last one. I tried the wipers again but they wouldn't budge. By this time I was done with the tackle scraper and did it by hand. I got out, truck running, door open, and got the passenger side first. I walked back around and commenced to clearing my side.

This cunning plan would have worked beautifully had it not been for one fatal flaw in its execution.

As I cleared the first swipe of snow off of the window, the wipers decided to re-seat themselves to a more normal position.

It can be said with truth that in the aftermath of the Great Buxton Blizzard, I was defeated by my truck in a snowball fight. Perhaps handily defeated would be more accurate. At least I laughed. Anybody coming up the road behind me would have thought I exploded a snow bomb on the hood of my truck.

You get the picture.

Anyway, it was a great and very fun storm. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Tight Lines,


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