Storm Tease

We are experiencing what must be the slowest moving snow storm in history. The NWS started talking about it early last week.  The arrival date has been pushed back, and the snow amounts moved up and down. We are in a  Blizzard Warning for now, with 6-8 inches predicted along with 50 mile an hour winds.

The grocery stores were packed Saturday with people stocking up before the storm hit.  The snow is only just starting.  At this rate, people will need to stock up again today since they probably ate everything they bought earlier!

Waiting for the storm is tiresome, and it seems that life is on hold for now. The power has gone off and on eight times in 30 minutes, so something must be happening out there. The cats are swiping at the snow flying past the windows.  They are better at waiting than I am.

The NWS folks out here must get pretty bored, since our weather doesn’t change all that much from week to week. When something big like our current stormdevelops, they really play it up, and by the time the storm arrives, it never seems to live up to the hype.

When has the weatherman fooled you?  Got any good storm stories?

31 thoughts on “Storm Tease”

  1. Predictably, old-timers (such as moi) remember when winter was winter and storms were fierce. I’ve been poking around in historical records.

    The storms of mid-February, 1866, are considered some of the worst on record. Drifts 20 feet high made it possible to walk over the tops of homes and sizable barns.

    The winter of 1873 saw a storm lasting three days that killed many hundred cattle and at least 70 people.

    The Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 killed 49 people in Minnesota, plus 79 sailors. (Hmm, sailors weren’t people?)

    The famous storm of November 10 in 1975 featured winds of 71 mph, strong enough to whip up waves that sank the mighty Edmund Fitzgerald.

    A March storm in 1985 whacked Duluth with winds of 90 mph and enough snow to bury tall homes.

    The one we all remember was the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. Duluth saw 37 inches of snow in that one. Roads all over the state were closed for days.

    The winter of 1996-1997 featured many blizzards, especially in western Minnesota. The accumulated snowfall at Fargo-Moorhead was 117 inches. When winter was at its worst the Twin Cities also saw an influenza attack so potent there was not an open hospital bed in the metro area. One of those not surviving that was my own mother. Spring, when it finally came, was memorable for record flooding on the Red River. The water got so high in East Grand Forks that part of downtown caught fire and burned down. Some of you might remember Garrison Keillor did hilarious skits in which farm families were stuck on the roofs of their barns as they slowly slid north on the flooded Red River.

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    1. I’m guessing the idea wat that maybe the sailors were those who were in port at the time of the storm, so they weren’t considered part of the population.

      I’ve known women to sing with the tenors in church choir. I’ve been in church choirs that included everyone, so there could be some boys singing the alto line.

      Not denying that it is a funny way to put things, but sometimes it makes it’s own sense if you are there at the time.

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    2. Actually, there is a sense in which sailors were not considered people long ago. Sailing was identified as a high risk occupation, and sailors were thus people who had chosen to risk their lives.

      That all changed after the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. Friends who live along Lake Superior have told me that the great ships used to sail even when meteorologists predicted that something awful was brewing. No more. Even with the greater safety of modern navigation aids, when bad weather is expected the great ships stay in port. The lives of the humans sailing those ships are now given more consideration than the profits of the shipping companies. This seems so obvious to us now, but once it was normal to expect sailors to risk death in order to protect the bottom line.

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  2. I had the delight of driving home from White Bear Lake to Minneapolis through the blizzard of 1991 in a Chevy Chevette (it may have had front wheel drive, I can’t remember…it did have a manual transmission, which made it easier to rock back and forth when I got stuck – or to put in neutral so I could get out and push myself). I got home to my alley in about 2.5 hours (normally a 25 minute drive) and had to wake a roommate up to help me get from the alley into our parking space.

    Supposition yesterday from the friends and co-workers I talked to was that schools were preemptively closed because no school district wanted a possible repeat of St Paul’s fiasco with kids not getting home until as late as 11pm. With more school districts staggering start times so one bus can make 3-4 runs in the morning, that means there are fewer busses to get kids home. If you compound that with dealing with a winter storm, late busses are almost inevitable.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Renee, it sounds like awaiting the storm is a lot like awaiting the birth of a baby. And you are doing both right now! They both arrive on their own time.

    Snowstorms are fun when I am at home, safe and warm, content in front of a fire. I am looking at the news of storms from the Midwest, sitting here in AZ yearning for a snowstorm, wanting to be there. Desert sandstorms leave a lot to be desired in my limited experience. You get sand in your eyes while outdoors, and then the final indignity is that you have to dust the house because the sand infiltrates everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember a snow storm that deposited pinky brown snow when I was in High school. The storm blew in from the northwest full of North Dakot red scoria dust.

    Miracles still happen–my agency is closed for the day!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. MNDOT has long broadcast winter storm warnings. Sometime in the early 1980s MNDOT began adding a line to many warnings: “No travel is recommended.” When the agency began advising against winter travel, businesses and schools felt bullied into closures. That was fun for a short while, then people got nervous about all those closures. MNDOT went back to commenting on weather but stopped routine cautions against driving in winter.


  6. The weather spot I regularly check is almost never right. It’s the box I click once Microsoft Windows comes up, before I even get to the desktop… Usually about 5 degrees off for the day’s high, and even now it says it’s snowing, while it’s not. They do get the sunset – moonrise times pretty close…

    I remember as a little girl being out in a snowstorm heading from Storm Lake Iowa to Sioux City to my grandma’s. It started snowing so hard that my dad had to pull over; we stopped somewhere (a café?) for a while, then turned around and went home. It must have been a big disappointment for me to remember it still. I also have a vague memory of once sliding into a ditch on our way to my OTHER grandma’s, which is likely what prompted our turning around.


  7. An acquaintance of mine went into a very snow filled rural ditch at night many years ago with her vehicle. She was unconscious, and it was bitterly cold. The car door was slightly open, and the only reason she is alive today is that someone saw the dome light of her car go on and off and noticed her car half buried in the snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was remembering the snowstorm many years ago that I’m sure I’ve mentioned on the trail before when I was flying to Kansas City and had my dad drop me off at the airport as we drove through the snow drifts across the highway pick it up to the airport the plane had to take three runs at getting defrosted and being ready to take off in a Gail wind and blizzard conditions we finally took off and arrived in Kansas City only to find that no other hardware store owners had come to the conference because they’re playing couldn’t get out we were one of the two planes to leave Minneapolis that day I always wondered if the pilot had a date

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  9. Hi Kids–
    Hope you’re all being careful out there shoveling this latest snow.

    Down on the farm, it was windy even in a valley. And I think ‘Wow, it must really be windy out in the open’.
    We had maybe 6″ or 7″ as I started digging out this morning,
    Got up around the corners and out of the valley and there only seemed to be about 3″ of snow in the road. I guess the rest blew off. Except that one place where it’s always deeper.
    And it was wet and sticky and wouldn’t blow very well…I was pushing quite a pile in front of the blower.
    And then, turning around and trying to push the lumps off with the loader bucket, I got over the ditch and futzed around until I was sideways in the road and up against a fence. Then I called Kelly and got the other tractor and she pulled me out.
    Nothing serious and nothing too it.

    Got to the college and my loading dock only has about an 1″ of snow on there. Except the steps; a good drift there. Weird.

    The biggest issue was how soft the ground is now. Makes it difficult around the yard and I dig up a lot of sod and grass and gravel. Oh well.

    I remember the ’91 storm. I was thinking this morning about how the snow banks used to be taller. I think that was due to different snow plow technology as well as perhaps more snow. The plows these days throw or roll the snow better.

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  10. I think it’s done falling now. We had maybe 4 or 5 inches here of the sticky wet stuff, and where we shoveled this morning it’s already melted down to sidewalk. When it’s heavy like this, I do a narrow row, then go sideways with the shovel and then kick it to make a ridge at the edge… saves lifting it. There are some snowmen about, finally.


  11. shoveled last night about 3-4 incvhes
    then this morning 3 or 4 more. this morning i quit halfway down the drive to go get the slop the plowe leaves at the end. i play a game with myself and do a countdown guessing how many scoops it will take before i am done. i guessed 100 this morning and missed it by 20 or so. the stuff was real heave and made it a pleasure to get back to shoveling the driveway after i was done with the heavy lifting. did the sidewalk and went in only to look out and see the plow com bu and lay another 50 scoops at the end of the damn driveway again. ill get to that tonight if its still there.


  12. my halloween story was that after taking hte munchkins to trick or treat at the mall because the weather was so terrible i dropped them at their moms and went over to a friends house and got snowed in. i was the snowblower salesman for the company who did a lot of private label stuff with the different hardware farm and bix box stores in the area so the next day i was on the phone starting at 7 and went until 5 laughing with folks about how i was only november 1 and the units that would be ordered today wouldnt be delivered until december 15 but they certainly would be able to sell them then after this snowfall. we laughed all the way to the bank. i sold 8000+ snowblowers that day. how many times do you bend over to pick up a 20 dollar bill? until there are no more to pick up. that day went by fast.

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  13. My mom likes to tell the story of when the school district gave us a snow day because of a massive storm that was coming. It never came but we had a grand time not being in school that day: went for a picnic with the neighbors on a nice, warm, sunny day.

    I don’t remember this, maybe it was before I was school-age and my sisters were in school. It must have been either very early in the season or very late that it was warm and dry enough to go on a picnic.

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    1. Happened in fourth grade to me. Sent home at 10 in a mad rush to beat a big blizzard. I remember the one mile walk up and over the hill to our farm in beautiful weather. We dawdled and had a ball. Clear sunshine the rest of the day.

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  14. About 1978 or so, two massive storms hit the North shore. Huge bl,ow and snow for three days. A day of no storm but raging lake. Then a second blow hit for more than one day. Two Harbors power station which sat near the lake was taken out and never replaced. It was remnant of the old company town mentality of US Steel which the city kept going for years. The highway in front of us where the lake came in close but 30 feet town was blocked with heavy snow for five days. The highway department had to bring in huge rubber tired front end loaders. They would ram at the snow and bounce off until they worked enough loose. Then ram it again. They contemplated using dynamite but once they got a good bite into it, they could smash the crust. They trucked away about twenty truck loads. In the “calm” between storms my neighbor and I stood on the cliff edge. Waves were coming in and smashing the thirty feet up to use and then another thirty feet above us. Amazing to stand there with waves a dozen feet in front of us. We were never touched by even a drop of water.
    My father and I one Sunday were cutting firewood in the back forty. The air felt funny and we were trying to decide if we should go up when the storm hit. Once we got in the field we were disoriented for a bit but the horse found the track and pulled us on the sled up to the barn,.
    (Wish this print was larger. I cannot really read it very well. The red underlining steers me to some errors. I am half blind, in agony and despondent about the medical world’s disinterest in treating my pain and sight issues.)

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  15. I tend to not get too worked up about forecasts these days. Just enough times when there has been a boatload of snow expected and everybody is freaking out, then we don’t get anything. Like Sunday night – my office bases their policy on Edina schools, so when Edina posted Sunday night that they would be closed on Monday, so did my office. And then after the rain/sleet, we got nothin’! I took yesterday off anyway.

    Although I was here during the Halloween snowstorm, my memorable weather stories are from growing up in St. Louis. Seems like at least once a year we would have a nasty ice storm (that part of the country doesn’t get a lot of snow), which basically paralyzes the city. Sometimes for 2 or 3 days!


  16. I remember the Halloween snow storm mostly because I missed it. I was in Denmark visiting my parents. Mom had been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, and dad had insisted that I drop everything and come home immediately. I had intended to go home for Christmas that year, but dad had insisted I come NOW. By the time I got back to Minnesota, it was all history.

    OT – Today has been a heavy, heavy day here. This morning I got a phone call from Christian, the forty-something stepson of Hans’ brother, Jens. Jens and his “girlfriend” Ilse had announced several years ago that they intended to commit suicide together, and yesterday they carried out their plan. Jens’ late wife (his third) had died about ten years ago, seven years after suffering a debilitating stroke. Jens was fearful of having to go through something like that. He was in his late seventies, Ilse in her early eighties. Hans is at Will Steger’s homestead near Ely at the moment, and I had to call him to let him know. He’s devastated, but probably in the best possible place to process and come to grips with what has happened.


      1. Very hard, BiR. My friend Helen, who lives down the street, visited this afternoon, It was a great comfort to be able to sort out my emotions with her, Hans is pretty much having to do that on his own. He’ll be OK, I’m sure of that, but I wish I could help in some way.

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  17. There was a late Minnesota snowstorm in 1983 on April 14th. A little over a foot of snow. It didn’t last long, but it snarled traffic and I think it shut down a lot of the schools.

    It was lucky that it was on the 14th and not on the 15th, because taxes were due on the 15th, and of course it was before e-filing. It would likely have caught some procrastinators off guard if it had been the 15th.

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