Blizzard stories

The camaraderie of epic storms includes telling your story.
By Susanne Retka Schill | February 18, 2013

Sometimes you know it's just better to stay put. Blizzards are becoming one of those occasions for me. This morning when I checked the parking lot and recalling how little snow got me stuck the last time, I opted to work from home.

We have much to be thankful for in the weather service's ability to forewarn us. I make use of hourly forecasts to gauge just when the snow is to start and the wind pick up—critical to know for my weekly 140 mile commute.

I've had enough experience driving five or 10 miles in horrendous conditions to know I don't want to tempt longer drives. The worst was quite a few years ago on a 20-mile dash home to the farm from town. We did okay until we turned off the highway, when we ended up opening the car doors so we could see the tufts of grass alongside the gravel road as we inched along. Pretty stupid, but we did make it home and, frankly, there was no place to stop and wait it out anyway.

We sat out Blizzard Hannah, the infamous N.D. storm of 1997, in a motel that had no power. Fortunately, we were too far from home to try it that time. When the winds died down and we made the last 60 miles, we were astounded what the two-day blow and two feet of snow left. A row of ranch-style houses on the edge of town were literally covered with snow and they were shoveling the drifts off. Tunnels punched through blocked roads were higher than 4WD pickups. There's camaraderie in living through colossal weather events, particularly those that result only in inconveniences. People help each other. Most are willing to listen to your story, even if only to wait their turn and tell their own.