Friday, February 20, 2004

White Juan - The Day After

Well it's Day #2 of a state of emergency.  I heard on the radio this morning that the grand total for snow in Metro Halifax was 85cms.  I heard that other areas of Nova Scotia received over 100cms.  This was record-setting snowfall.  Below are some pics from this morning, which is a bright, sunny, but very windy day.

No plows have ventured onto our street yet, and it's now noon.

View from the balcony.  The water in the background is Bedford Basin.

Simon and I went out to shovel the driveway and sidewalk.

The walkway to the flat downstairs was completely covered by a 3-4 foot drift, so Simon shovelled out the pathway for the lady that lives there.

The lady that lives downstairs and came out and helped with the shovelling too, while the two people that live upstairs never came out at all, and we were out there for hours.  They kept us awake last night fighting - yelling, banging, smashing, slamming doors, etc.  I hope they move!!!  It kind of annoyed us that they've been out of work for the past month, sit home on their butts all day and didn't even come out and help shovel.  We should have shovelled all the snow on top of their car.

Simon was also kind enough to shovel the sidewalk and walkway for the old couple who live next door.  They were completely snowed in and couldn't even open their door.

This is our balcony, and it has a roof over it.  This much snow still managed to pile up here.

I just heard on the radio that they are calling for more snow Saturday night and all day Sunday.

Our place is finally all shovelled out:

After the shovelling, Simon and I went for a walk around on our snowshoes.

We made our way towards Nanny's house.  This is Merson Avenue:

Here is Nanny's house:

There was a big drift in her driveway:

So I stood on it. :)

Her back door was snowed in again.

Here are some pics of her backyard:

Simon shovelling off the back step.

The driveway - a lot of it escaped the snow, except for the end by the sidewalk.  The house must have provided a shelter from the wind on this side.

This is looking out across the neighbour's backyard:

So after visiting with Nanny for a bit we headed for home.  Normandy in front of St.Stephen's School is a disaster.  It's a huge drift - probably 6 to 8 feet in places.  Simon stood by the fence at the yard of the school, and you can see that he's standing on top of the drift pointing to the top of the fence.

This big pile of snow is right in the middle of Normandy, right by Merson Avenue.

This is looking back down Merson Avenue:

Robie Street to Basinview Drive is another disaster area.  Huge drifts cover the street in waves all the way down.  I got a picture of a guy shovelling his driveway and sidewalk - his head is barely visible, peeking over the snow bank.

Wow, look at that.  This is going to take some big plows to clear!

Almost home:

The sunset this evening.  The word is that there is 20cms more coming Sunday.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

White Juan - Storm of the Century

February 19, 2004 is a date many Nova Scotians will remember for a long time to come.  A huge snow storm has been forcasted, and it was shaping up to be the storm of the century.

We got up as usual to get ready for work.  There was already a nice blizzard underway and a lot of snow down already.  The lawyers called all the staff and told us not to come in.  We turned on the radio and started to learn how bad it really was out there.  There was already 25-30cms of snow on the ground and very high winds.  Everything was completely shut down...even the Metro Transit buses were called off the roads and that's the first time that happened in 25 years.  Highways 102 and 103 are closed.

There was a radio announcement saying that police are warning motorists to stay off the roads and that if you got in an accident your insurance may not cover you because you are taking unnecessary risks driving in these conditions.  Simon decided to put on snowshoes and walk to work.  He was probably the only one there!  The following pics were taken around 8am, and the storm was far from over.

The Province declared a State of Emergency.  My poor niece Elysia, who was living in Ontario at the time, missed out on her second State of Emergency! lol (The first one being Hurricane Juan.)  This shot of our neighbour's minivan was taken around 12:30pm, just before I head to out to my grandmother's.

This is how our car looked at 12:30pm

At 12:30pm I put my snowshoes on, put some food in a backpack (I had made chili and biscuits) and walked up to my grandmother's house who lived a few blocks away.  It was deep snow and really hard going.  When I got there she was completely snowed in.  There was a two-foot drift blocking her back door.  I shovelled out her back steps and then went to do the front.  By the time I came back around to the back door there was 2 more inches where I had shovelled before.

This was her backyard when I arrived:

This is her back door after I shovelled it.

Now I can finally get the door open!

Nanny and I had lunch together, then about 3:00 p.m. I strapped the snowshoes back on and headed for home.  By this time the wind was really picking up and the blizzard was much worse than when I walked up there.  When I left Merson Avenue and walked onto Normandy, there were huge drifts blown in from St. Stephens School.  As I walked over the drifts (which were probably waist or chest height), a big gust of wind came and blew me down.  I couldn't get up...I tried and tried but I just kept digging myself deeper into a hole.  Every time I put my arms down to try and push myself up, they just went deeper into the snow and I became even more stuck.  I finally tried rolling around and got myself out of the hole, and was able to get my feet under me and stand up.  I saw a lady standing in her living room window watching me, so if worse came to worse and I couldn't get up she knew I was there struggling and would probably have called for help.  As I struggled to get up all I could think about was one of those big snow plows coming up the street and scooping me up not realizing I was there.  Thank God that never happened.

The rest of the walk home was brutal.  The wind was fierce.  I couldn't keep my eyes open as the snow and wind combined were blinding me something terrible.  I basically walked home with my eyes closed, peeking every once in awhile to make sure I was on the right track.  I had to walk down the middle of the streets all the way home.  I was some relieved when I finally saw my house I can tell you!  Phew!  I arrived home around 4:30pm - it took me an hour and a half to walk a few blocks, which normally takes 10 or 15 minutes.

When I got in the house I called Mom and Nanny and told them I made it back home okay.  Below are some pics I took when I got home:

By the end of this storm Halifax had received approximately 95cm of snow, and weatherstations recorded wind gusts around 147 km/hr.

Please see my next blog, February 20, 2004, for "White Juan - The Aftermath" - what it looked like the day after.