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All the predictions came true, and the East Coast of the USA was hit by a major blizzard over the weekend. The snowfall totals were epic and historical. In my suburb in Virginia, we had over 80 centimeters and, with the high winds, snow drifts that towered over me and became quite dangerous for children. Because the snow was dry and light rather than wet, there was a probability of huge piles collapsing and burying children underneath. This happened momentarily with my nephew and it scared him to the point that he wanted to come inside and rest instead of continuing to play outside. Of course, I dream of such winter wonderlands and they are rare for my area. It's relaxing to sit for two days and watch the accumulations build, but then the hard work comes when it's time to dig yourself out and resume normal life again. So, let's take a look at how it all began...

1. Schools began closing on Thursday, with the anticipation that the storm would start in full force on Friday afternoon. My sister and I didn't want our parents at home alone in case the electricity went out, so we decided to make it a big blizzard party and all stay together for the weekend at the same house. My parents and I arrived at my sister's house in the suburbs of Washington, DC on Friday afternoon, and the snow was already falling in full force by that time. My nephew was of course very happy to see his grandma and grandpa, because he knew it meant a lot of play time and special attention. :) Btw, many readers have told me my mom looks Russian, but her roots are German. Picture quality isn't the best, because I carried only my iPhone around, not my heavy camera for fear of falling and busting a lense, as I've done in the past.

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2. Shortly before dusk, we went outside to play and sleigh ride. By that time, several centimeters had accumulated and the winds weren't so strong so you could tolerate being outside for longer periods of time. Honestly, I experience the same joy as a child during these snowstorms - ready to play and jump in the white piles, ride down hills and eat snow ice-cream. :)

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3. My sister and I walked around the neighborhood to check on elderly residents to make sure they were okay and safe, and to ensure they didn't need any basic supplies before the blizzard arrived. There was a strong fear that power lines would go done and electricity would be lost, but because the snow was dry, we thankfully didn't have to deal with these problems.

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4. On Friday night, many children and parents walked the neighborhood streets with sleds and other boards on which to fly down hills. I don't think I've ever met any child that didn't like snow, not only because they know it will be a free day off of school, but because it means a lot of playtime with parents and other kids.

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5. Your favorite snow angel. :))

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6. Around 6pm, we all went inside the house for warmth and to escape the high winds, which were just beginning to whip and pierce straight through to your bones, even with heavy coats and snow gear on. Some gusts hit close to 60 mph, creating white-out conditions with almost no visibility. But what beauty to watch from the basement window!

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7. The rest of the night, we all fought with the family cat, Cosmo, for a place by the warm fire. :) We baked a lot of cookies and cakes, played board games, and watched movies until it was time to rest our frozen heads on the pillows.

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8. View outside the bedroom window right before I went to sleep. At this point, there was about one foot of snow on the ground. We tried to go out periodically to shovel the snow from the sidewalk and driveway so that when we awoke in the morning there wouldn't be so much work to do, but it became pointless as the force of the storm increased. We shoveled and cleared a pathway, and then only 20 minutes later it was completely buried again...

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9. Of course, there were idiots who decided to go out on the roads and drive when it wasn't necessary. Everyone was warned by local officials to stay off the roads, which became covered in layers of ice and snow, but those who didn't listen got caught up in accidents from overturned tractor trailers, massive traffic jams due to wrecks, and eventually one major route into the neighboring State of Maryland was closed by the Governor. I don't understand such people who can't remain inside and put other people's lives at risk. The roads should only be used by emergency workers responding to medical calls or other urgent crises during the storm. For this reason, I support the decision of the New York City mayor to close ALL streets to cars during the storm. Absolutely no one was allowed on the street, unless walking by foot. If you violated the prohibition, there were huge fines. I read some comments by Russian readers in other LJ posts and they could not understand why people were prohibited from driving during the storm. Of course, for safety of fellow citizens! What is so hard to understand? :) Heavy plows were on the major highways trying to clear paths, but the snow was falling at such a fast rate that it was impossible to keep the routes clear.

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10. On Saturday morning, it was still snowing very heavily, with the forecast that the snow would not end until around 9pm that evening. But what a winter wonderland! Many friends posted great photos on Facebook.

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12. After the excitement from all of the white beauty, everyone was quickly shocked back to reality when they saw cars buried in the sidewalk and on the side streets. Time for the hard work to begin. :)

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13. The entire neighborhood was out shoveling early, clearing paths out of the driveways and creating walking areas to move.

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14. During prior storms, I lived in a huge high rise apartment building right by Washington, DC and the experience of being in suburbia, where there are mostly families, after a big blizzard was more fun. Everyone was outside, all the kids playing together, neighbors talking and trying to help each other, even brave dogs who decided to climb snow mountains and say hello to new residents on the block. :)

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15. The side streets in the neighborhood were plowed overnight, but still difficult to pass and drive on. The main highways were in much better condition by Sunday morning, with at least one passing lane on most routes. Just an incredible blue sky on the next morning and bright sunshine, which helped with the clean up and made it more comfortable to be outside shoveling.

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16. If you're too lazy to shovel, many local contractors have plows on their pick-up trucks and they drive around the neighborhoods offering to clear out your driveway. Our neighbor, who lives alone, did this and his path was clear in about 5 minutes. I think the cost is about $40 - $50 USD.

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17. We had many hands, and shoveled for about three hours to clear the garage and driveway area, using a snow blower occasionally to move some of the more powdery snow. I don't know how we would survive without our dad, a man of all trades, always willing to help out! :)

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18. Once we could get down the street, my sister and I drove outside the neighborhood to inspect the damage. Many houses on the main streets remained buried in snow, but it was all very beautiful!

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19. Grocery stores and businesses began reopening on Sunday morning, and owners are REQUIRED to clear the pathways and snow from entrances to make walking pathways for customers. Otherwise, they face a fine and penalty. So, do you now understand why I grow so confused each time I visit Russia and see snow-covered walkways, no clean sidewalks and ice everywhere making it impossible to walk. You don't support a system where people are responsible for clearing their sidewalks, or be fined? This ensures safer walking conditions for the elderly, and you also. Or, perhaps this is just part of the fun of living in Russia? It must be boring to walk on clear paths! :)

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20. Kids were able to go outside and play again, sleigh ride down huge hills covered in slippery snow and have fun. Schools will be cancelled until at least Wednesday, and even the Federal government remains closed today, so I also have a free day off from work. :) By the way, it used to be illegal to sleigh ride near the U.S. Capitol, but after the public grew enraged over the ban, officials changed the rule and stopped enforcing it. So, now kids are free to be loud and have fun on the hills by the Capitol, where U.S. Senators and other lawmakers gather daily to create legislation and pass laws which govern the people of the USA. :) It's great!

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21. Little ones help with the shoveling also. After all, they have the most energy! :)

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22. The best part of this blizzard is that it reminds you about the goodness of humanity. On local message boards and Facebook communities, there were so many offers by citizens to held the elderly shovel snow, and those with 4WD vehicles offering to drive people to the hospital or medical appointments. A local restaurant that remained opened during the entire storm offered free hot chocolate for all guests and a free meal to the dedicated plow drivers, police officers and firefighters who worked continuous shifts in difficult conditions to make sure the community remained safe during the storm.

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So that's how we survive a blizzard in the suburbs of the great State of Virginia! In nine months, we expect a huge increase in the population from a baby boom. There are limited options to keep yourself busy when you're trapped inside for two days, and what's more romantic than snow and being cuddled by the fireplace or in bed with a loved one? ;))


Comments

( 116 comments — Leave a comment )
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don_oles
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:05 pm (UTC)
> How to survive a blizzard
Get vodka, mix with some vodka (1/1) and then add some vodka (1/1). Shake.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:07 pm (UTC)
The snow will magically disappear from your driveway after you drink vodka? :) Otherwise, how do you move around and dig out?
(no subject) - don_oles - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pro100_petrov - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pro100_petrov - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lev_kuzminsky - Feb. 1st, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 2nd, 2016 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lev_kuzminsky - Feb. 2nd, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 2nd, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
aborigen72
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:08 pm (UTC)
Теперь знаете ,что такое Сибирь!? ;)

Edited at 2016-01-25 04:10 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC)
Да, конечно! In Virginia, this big snowstorm is rare and a big adventure for us. :)
inescher
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:17 pm (UTC)
This time it was your turn to get all the snow. :) We've got only few inches that's very unusual.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yes! We were right in the bullseye of the storm this time. It was awesome!
(no subject) - inescher - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
procurator0
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
where is the pic with yr fireplace and bear skin
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
The fireplace is in the photo with the cat. I have no bearskin! :)
(no subject) - procurator0 - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 25th, 2016 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
pro100_petrov
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:22 pm (UTC)
Beautiful! Thank you!
pin_gwin
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
Looks fun.... MN is getting something of this scale once in 3...5 years, but it does not make a national news. Bad thing that as I've just read, about 5-6 people died of heart attack after shoveling... So - shovel in moderation, it looks like the snow is melting quickly, and sing a new song -->
so let melt, let it melt, let it melt...
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:32 pm (UTC)
Shoveling is very hard work! We dug out yesterday, and took a lot of breaks. It's supposed to be warm tomorrow, mid 40's, so hopefully a lot will melt. For Minnesota, such snow is nothing extraordinary. :))
(no subject) - pin_gwin - Jan. 25th, 2016 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
mb_b
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:31 pm (UTC)
Since I don't have a car to dig out (and that's what all my neighbors were doing yesterday), I had to substitute: There's defunct railroad tracks right in front of my complex, where I can fit about 300 yards of x-c ski track right between the rails (and then turn around and go back, shuttle-like). So I broke the track and spent about an hour skiing... and later had the first visitation from Mr. Charley Horse in this season. Feels accomplished. Hope it wouldn't melt too soon.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:59 pm (UTC)
In what city do you live? My aunt also put on her skis and explored the neighborhood. She lives in the forest, on Lake Anna, which isn't too far from where we're located. It's good to work unused muscles, and snow definitely gives us an opportunity to do it! :)
(no subject) - mb_b - Jan. 25th, 2016 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
amtex
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:31 pm (UTC)
Looks beautiful though.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, I like it! But many people hate the snow, including my mom.
nkhaba
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC)
Shannon, thank you for a very interesting post. So much snow all at once :-) I wonder what happens during such blizzards when electricity does get lost - how do people keep their houses warm? Or do you use gas for heating and it never gets lost? I am not familiar with how the houses on the East Coast are heated , so maybe my questions sound a little stupid :-)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:00 pm (UTC)
We broke records with this snowfall! :) A lot of Americans, including my family, have back-up generators. So if the electricity goes out, we use those. As I wrote in the other post, we had plenty of food for several days because we went shopping before the storm hit. It was really a fun adventure and awesome family memories! :)
genka8
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:56 pm (UTC)
Your dad's electric snow blower should be nearly useless with the snow that deep.
My dead end street has not been plowed yet. Never before it took them so long.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:02 pm (UTC)
It wasn't useless. :) Once we shoveled the piles down a bit and softened the snow with the shovels, it blew very easily. So, the blower helped a lot. We used it when the snow first fell because it was very dry and light. The next morning it was more difficult because the snow was harder, but it still saved some time in clearing the driveway and walk areas. Our streets were plowed immediately, but still aren't in the best condition. Main roads are good, so I will try to return to work tomorrow.
fiona_stockwell
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:56 pm (UTC)
I whish in Moscow such snowfalls would take place only once a century. It looks funny only for the first time, and after you realize this hell is to take plase for 6 months (you dont believe winter in Russia takes only 3 months, do you?), you start to drink vodka - as it is said in first comment )) But really, I remember going to school every day through the fresh snow - it is very hard.

I wander what would happen if all people who live in USA would instantly get to live in Russia, and all the people of RF would instantly get onto the siol of USA - what would happen to both mentallity and points of view of all these people?
How would americans live through endless winter, how russians would live through tornados and hot sun? Very interesting!

Edited at 2016-01-25 04:58 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:04 pm (UTC)
Sure, so much snow would grow tiresome if it continually fell for months at a time. It's too challenging to move around and turns dirty when it begins to melt. For us, it's so rare to get this much snow so I was happy. About switching countries, you can read my reports about Russia. I'm an ordinary American. I would say most Americans would not be happy long term in Russia. We're too spoiled, live in a nation of convenience, so we don't wish to struggle so much for basic necessities in life. Some Russians would probably find life in America too boring and predictable. They are used to suffering, and don't know how to exist otherwise. Part of the mysterious Russian soul. :))
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jan. 25th, 2016 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 25th, 2016 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
elena_88888
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:04 pm (UTC)
You have a lot of snow in your yard. How will you manage it when it start melting?
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
Then it will no longer be beautiful, but annoying with all the big puddles and dirt! :) We will have a major melting tomorrow, because temperatures are supposed to dramatically increase.
(no subject) - elena_88888 - Jan. 25th, 2016 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 25th, 2016 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_nimaida
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:14 pm (UTC)
beautiful !

as in Russia))

pity that the snow will melt quickly)
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, beautiful! I love it. Such a visual delight! :)
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Jan. 25th, 2016 08:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
moskitow
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you survived the snow storm and had fun!
I always thought being a Russian that I know what a snow storm is .....until I moved to Buffalo! The first time I was on the road and the snow started falling like a wall I was scared. It's not the same in Russia (there you can sit in your apartment, drink vodka and care less ....the snow won't reach your 4-th floor for sure, almost everybody has a choice of public transportation without any danger to get stuck on the highway. Plus, we never had snow falling for several days in a row!)
Last year, I had three neighbors digging me out with their snowblowers(I lived in a duplex with one elderly lady-neighbor, so when I went out with a little shovel, my neighbors immediately offered to help). I'm always impressed with this quality of Americans - how they are ready to help with anything right away.
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:07 pm (UTC)
You're right! I love our fellow citizens. Generally good people, always willing to help. :) I know Buffalo gets slammed with huge snows every winter. I didn't know you lived there. Snow blowers are so helpful for the type of snow we had. If it is wet/heavy snow, they are useless but we got lucky this time. Saved a lot of work and shoveling!
mybathroom
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:52 pm (UTC)
Shannon, what was the temperature?
peacetraveler22
Jan. 25th, 2016 05:57 pm (UTC)
With the windchill factor, it was well below zero on Saturday. But now it's much warmer. :)
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