Um, ya. It’s supposedly the first day of Spring in 10 days. We got 6 more inches of snow up here in the Nort’land in the last 24 hours. Supposed to get more on Wednesday. Yup. This IS Spring for us. Mm hmm. We’ve all had about enough now, though. Really. We give up. This winter of the 2018-2019 season has been a doozy. We. Are. Done.
I live in Minnesota. This is not what you would call the normal winter for us, but it’s close. Yes, we always have snowy winters. Yes, we always have cold winters. However, this winter has been ridiculous. The usual would be some parts of MN getting a lot of snow and some parts getting the usual amounts and some parts less. Over the last 20 years or so, due to Climate Change, the norm has been less snow and MAYBE 5 or so days of minus 40 below zero degrees Fahrenheit temperatures without the wind chill.
Oh, SO not this year. THIS year decided to blow us for a loop. This year decided to remind us just what a MN winter used to be. This year decided to remind us what it means to be a hearty Minnesotan. This year decided we needed to remember why Babe the Blue Ox is Blue and why Paul Bunyan is so friggin tall.
Paul’s tall so he can see over the damned snow banks and Babe’s blue because it’s 55 degrees F BELOW F*CKING ZERO! That’s 75 F below zero with the wind chill for you warm people who never had the balls to step foot in this frozen hell. Yep. It really got that darn cold this winter. More. Than. Once. Consequences? Extreme cold blamed for 17 deaths in the Midwest thanks to the polar vortex. (www.weather.com) That was early on in December. We still had 2 more months of polar temps to go.
Aaaand just how much snow did we get this year, you ask? Well, I’m 5 feet 1 inch tall. The snow piled on the sides of my driveway is over my head. When I have to leave my driveway I inch my way out VERY carefully and very slowly to make sure no one is coming down the road that I can’t see, and who can’t see me hiding behind the snow pile. It’s like a game of hide and peek; to see all the cars doing the same thing coming out of the other driveways. There are places in MN where they got 6 1/2 feet of snow.
Of course we can’t JUST have the snow. We get freezing slushy icy slippery messes that cause wonderful driving conditions. We started the season in October with freezing rainstorms that left slick layers of ice covering everything. I had just paid $100 to ready my snow thrower for the season. I never got to use it. It remains out in the yard, frozen to the spot where I unloaded it the same day and we got hit by an ice storm that night. Heavy snow and slushy conditions were blamed for 3 fatal Midwestern accidents before December had ended. Now that MN body shops are breaking out the bubbly, we finally have warmer temps in sight. We should be celebrating, right?
With 40 degrees Fahrenheit expected within the week you would expect us to be celebrating. Not yet. With trepidation, now we must haul sump pumps down into our basements and lie in wait. It’s coming. Remember I said another storm is coming on Wednesday? It might be snow. It might be rain. Most likely it will be a mix of both, then freeze solid after the sun goes down. The Big Melt is coming. When you have this much snow and ice sitting on the frozen ground where is it going to go? They say 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible in places. Where is all this liquid moisture going to go? Exactly where is the glacier in my yard going to go?
Storm drains in the streets have snow and at LEAST an inch or two of ice covering them. Driveways? Even if you’ve been diligently shoveling or plowing them after each snow or ice storm, driveways are still covered with several inches of frozen tundra. Houses have snow packed up the outside walls several feet high. Except for the places smart people have hopefully dug out around the pipes and things that vent toxic fumes and things out of their houses. I know I can’t open my front door due to the snow comes up about 3 feet high. Ya, my boy was lazy and never shoveled the steps. So, ya, um…all this snow and ice so close to the houses is going to go…where? You guessed it! Right into your basement! Fun, right?
I don’t have a sump pump.
Here’s the latest report I’ve read and why I think I might be screwed: “The snowpack over the entire upper midwest remained in place or increased over the past two weeks. The amount of snow water equivalent in this snowpack is in the upper 10 percent of historical records over a widespread area…leading to high flood potential for many river basins in the area. At least half of our forecast points now indicate at least a 50% probability of reaching major flood stage.”
I don’t personally live ON the lake. I live about 4 to 5 blocks away from Lake Bemidji. I’m very happy that the lake is wayyyyy downhill. However, I have many family and friends who live on or near the 11,842 lakes and 92,000 miles of rivers, streams, and wetlands in MN. I’ve seen the Mighty Mississippi at flood stage. She IS mighty indeed. The town I live in, well the river flows through us. We are called “the first town on the Mississippi.” We are “sister” cities with New Orleans; the last city on the Mississippi. The headwaters of Ole Miss begins 35 1/2 miles from us. So, yes a lot of the snow and ice will go to feed her, along with all the water from 31 other states.
Right now though, I just don’t want all the frozen white stuff to go into my basement. I’m tired of “hide and peek.” I’m tired of sliding around on the ice, on my tires and on my feet. I’m SO very tired of being c’c’c’cold. My checking account is wondering where my money went. (All to heating costs!) Worst of all, though, my poor old body just wants to curl up into the fetal position and yell, “NO MORE, PLEASE?!” I live with a genetic disabling rare disease that causes chronic pain and the cold of this winter has exacerbated all that pain and increased it to monumental proportions. I’ve tried to help with shoveling and it hurts! I’ve fallen on the ice and it hurts! I can’t afford to turn up the heat and it hurts! I’ve been stuck in the snow so many times and have dug and slid and sug and slid and it hurts! Now flooding is coming? Ah, c’mon?!
Put a fork in me, I’m done!
Addendum as of 3/14/19: All this liquid has decided it wants to be inside my house via the basement. Spent 5 hours in the middle of the night using the wet/dry vac. I had just taken my folder of warranties/instruction manuals for various items out to look for something last week and just left it on the floor. MY bad. Now all those papers are spread out all over the place left to dry out. 6′ x 5′ area rug ruined. As things dry I’ll see what else is ruined.
NOT a happy camper.