Snow Days

in progress

5:30 a.m. Feb 23: I was up at my usual time, about 5 a.m., when I heard a quiet ‘clump’ at the front door.  It was the sound of the newspaper being delivered, which meant the paper had been delivered.  I walked down, turned on the outside light, and sure enough, there it was, and evidence that the car had driven up our driveway, in fluffy pretty deep snow.

It was completely calm and not terribly cold.  The temperature is 16, prediction of precipitation is 90%, through this morning.  The wind, which I felt was non-existent, is measured as 14 mph somewhere.

Thus goes the great blizzard of 2023, as predicted for Wednesday night till Friday.  I’ll keep you posted.  The paper just delivered headlines: “Hunkered down for storm” “Resident urged to ride out 2nd wave at home” “Travelers hope to dodge the weather.”

(Yesterday 10 o’clock was time it was supposed to start snowing.  It began at 3 p.m.)  Many planned accordingly.  A friend wrote a brief e-mail about 6 p.m.  Our area weather-god  “Paul Douglas got into a yelling match…he was being  called on the weather…some canceled plans today and blamed Paul Douglas. WCCO radio.

So goes the drama of life.  I don’t scoff at predictions, which I think are usually pretty accurate.  We’re still a very long way from the initial prediction of over 20″, and the less temptation or need to get out the better.

5:56 a.m. our driveway is being plowed.  Maybe my usual trip for coffee?

8:45 a.m. walked to the mailbox and decided against leaving.  Noted the hat on the grill on our deck and took the photo below.  It’s evidence of snow, obviously, and also lack of wind – at least here

Feb. 23, 2023 8:45 a.m.


Wednesday’s St. Paul paper listed the 24 worst snowfalls in this area.  I had witnessed 5 of them, the worst the 1991 Halloween blizzard, 28.4″,  At the time I lived in Hibbing, and my recollection we got 36″.  #5 was Dec  10-11, 2010 – the blizzard that collapsed the Metrodome.  #14 was last month, January 2-5, 2023, dubbed “The Big Mess”.  (It was.)

Having lived in this area my entire life, I could go on and on, without embellishment, about storms.  We all have the stories.  This one, so far, has been very odd, at least here, as witnessed by the ‘hat’ on the grill.  Friday it will be history, and the march to Spring continues (as I’ve pointed out earlier, I start Spring on Feb. 1)

Have a great weekend.

ND Blizzard, Lamoure Co, ca 1916. Rosa Busch her four oldest children, all girls.  Below, same day same place.  Top of the hill from left, my Mom, Esther, then about 7; Lucina, about 9.  In front, Grandma Rosa, Mary, about 2, Verena about 4.

The temptation is to contribute personal stories: “Blizzards I have known”.  If we’ve lived here, we all have them.  One that has always intrigued me is a recollection of an 1860 blizzard in what was later to be the state of North Dakota, remembered by the near-victim, French Priest, Fr. Joseph Goiffon, here, page range 471-77  (link to the stories follows end of 3rd para).

A bonus “forward” received this week from a friend.  In pdf format:   Inspiration from a friend  Excellent point to ponder.


from Deb: We definitely didn’t get the blizzard but lots of people didn’t get plowed out. It was safer to stay home and off the roads these last 2 days. Hope you stayed safe as well.

from Rich: You are spot on about North Dakota blizzards! I, too, was disappointed in the recent storm. Photographs of snow banks reaching the roofs of buildings, and the legacy of guide ropes from the house to the barn are part of my family story. To be fair, there wasn’t much to interrupt the prevailing winds.

from Norm: I was stationed at the Minot AFB for nearly two-years before heading over to SEA (Thailand) in late 1967.

As such, I was able to enjoy two NoDak winters with lots of blowing snow including at least one blizzard/storm that actually shut-down most of the state for nearly a week and, of course, that infamous black ice which I had not encountered when growing up in northern Minnesota.
I don’t remember ever seeing such large snow drifts around the but lots of blowing snow as the wind was always blowing year around.

Response from Dick: ND snow, at least during winter blizzard time, was fairly dry and when blown around by the always-North Dakota wind it compacted into igloo quality, almost cement-like, consistency.   This definitely made it fun for kids – snow forts, snow caves (not always safe), etc.  Usually the snow we get here in the twin cities basically is more moist, from the gulf area, somewhat warmer.  Of course, over the years anyone who’s lived in this part of the U.S. has seen all sorts of variations of  ‘normal’!

from Leo: Dick, you had the pictures of the snow in ’16 …somewhere I have pictures of my Grandfathers farm in about 36 and they had a short tunnel to drive through from the House to the barn and there is a car underneath in the picture….

The fifth of Feb of ’47 there was a three day storm and the drift east of the house next to the trees was high enough to reach the power lines….dad said if I crossed the line in the snow that he made I Would get a licking….great sledding….
Funny just this year a lady in the Buffalo NY area died in her car during a snow storm.
We used to stay home when the radio said storm….now the idiots expect to be able to drive any time they want….we also had a survival kit with blankets etc in the trunk.
When I used to “jingle out to Fingal to dances “ any girl riding with me had to carry snow boots and slacks and a scarf….otherwise stay home…we usually had overshoes in the trunk and chains and shovel….plus dry sand….well enough….Leo
More thoughts from Leo, 2-26:

After that 47 blizzard we went to School behind a team of horses.  Had a grain tank that fit on a four runner sleigh that we still had back then.  Mom said the Main Street in Fingal looked like it did when she was a child.  Dad covered the team with blankets and was in town about four hours and then got us from school so we did not go in the dark…plus he had milking and chores…we were both late to school and left early….some kids did not go to school for two weeks.  Roads were blocked a long time plus drifting relocked some that were plowed.  It was a memorable experience….I heard that about 10 people died in that blizzard.  Dad had a twine b between the house and the barn…mom put kerosene lamps in the windows…..
FYI we did not get electricity until 51 when we moved to a different farm….TO THIS DAY I do not take
conveniences like running water and electricity for granted….it is wonderful….lest we forget….
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