This is for anybody who’s never been in a New England blizzard. I qualified that because I believe that a Midwestern U.S. blizzard is probably much different, due to the lack of trees to cut the wind. Also, I live 20 miles inland, close enough to the coast to be in the blizzard area, but not close enough to feel the brunt of the wind. At any rate, I figure there might be curious writers out there.
Sadly, there were no ice sharks or abominable snowmen falling from the sky, which the panic of the weathermen led me to believe could be possible. I am somewhat disappointed. Maybe the sharks ate the snowmen? Who knows. I did hear of a guy walking around in a Yeti costume though. Yeah, New Englanders are strange.
In my area we got 24 inches of snow, and it’s still falling. It’s cold–about 17 degrees, which makes for a very light snow. What does that mean? It means that if there’s 3 inches or so you can pretty much sweep it. It means that when there’s wind, it really whips it around. And it means that you get higher snow totals because it doesn’t pack down as much.
Still, 24 inches of snow is a LOT of snow. And it can cause big drifts. You can’t make one shovel full and throw it. You either cut half way through and toss that, or you cut it down and make it into two swipes. When you throw it, it’s not so difficult, though.
By comparison heavy, wet snow, which you get somewhere around 30 degrees, packs down and you lift a lot less with each shovel. It doesn’t blow as much, and it is far more likely to turn to ice. A lot of times the heavy, wet stuff will be followed by drizzle or even rain. It’s back breaking at that point, but you have to get it up. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an inch of ice, and that can take a long, long time to get rid of.
There’s almost an art to cleaning a driveway. First you need a path. My husband calls them “Denise paths” because sometimes, when I’m the only one home, I will make a path that’s only big enough to get my car out. Regardless, you need to get a path to the side of the driveway.
This can be difficult, because until you get to the side, you have very limited places to put the snow. Those limited places then add up. Soon, you’re throwing snow over your head. Or at least over mine. My husband is a foot taller than me.
It’s actually hot work. You start out all bundled up. I mean, with the wind chill it was about 1 degree. Within about 10 minutes though, you’re unbuttoning your coat, and thirsty. If you grimace like I do while shoveling, that wind hurts your teeth. Rests are necessary.
Eventually, you reach the end of the driveway. This is where it gets tricky. At what point do you shovel it? You want to get it done, obviously. You want to get your car out of the driveway. But. . .if you do it too soon, the plow comes along and just fills it up again. This time, it took us together, about 4 hours to do the driveway to the end (granted, I only shoveled about 1.5-2 hours). We decided to leave it. Better to let the plow push it farther along down the road then into our driveway.