Tuesday, January 7, 2014

So far, we have survived the snowcapolipse

Just the highlights:

Left for work at 1 pm to beat the weather. Figured I'd arrive while it was still light outside. Note: BEFORE the weather turned bad.

almost made it to work.....

Almost.

Some total assholes who shouldn't have been driving corked up the road about a mile from my destination....At 2:45 PM. 4wd doesn't help in snowdrifts when they are around a semi truck and trailer. Then another one about a mile behind me. I was truly trapped. Trapped by fools.

Thought about walking it, but the weather was....bad. Even though I could SEE the lights of my destination about a mile and a half away.

40 MPH winds (gusts to 70). temps in the single digits (then lower) heavy blowing snow. . I did have the gear to walk it (if I had to), but wasn't willing to risk my life .

Both the State Police and the County Sheriff chose to deny responsibility for getting a tow truck, so I and the other 60+ people spent the night in our cars until 4 am when they (finally) got the wreck out of the way. I spent the evening checking on my fellow trapped travellers every couple of hours, and even though it was -15F(!!!) by the thermometer with winds and blowing snow, no one froze. Several did run out of fuel, but we moved them to vehicles with enough fuel (and room!) to keep the engines running so no one froze. Did make for a long night though, having people come to MY truck for help. Somehow I became the person in charge....why I don't know. Still, one must do what one must.

I had a full tank of fuel, food and water for three days, and gear to keep me alive in the weather, with or without my truck..I was never in danger...... Still, it wasn't fun. Sleeping in the front seat of a pickup isn't good for anyone's back.  I did get about 3 hours of actual (sorta) rest.

Spent the next days dealing with stranded travellers.
Protips: Don't enter the domain of a MAJOR winter storm with clothing suitable for Orlando and nothing else,
Don't travel in the winter without some survival gear....
Don't drive into blizzard conditions in a car with less than 6" of ground clearance.
If you NEED medication, have enough with you for several days, especially if not having it is life threatening. Have enough food and water (and fuel) in your car to sustain you for more than an hour....
Think about LOOKING at the weather forecast for your route (a fair number of people were, apparently, unaware that there was a MAJOR winter storm forecast for the area).
If it is gonna be cold, think about using a bit of gas line antifreeze so your car doesn't die on you.

Something I have noticed:
Stressful situations bring out true colors of character in people:

Good people are even better towards their fellow man. this accounts for 95% of the people, even though some are useless as possible. they are at least nice.

The assholes balance this, however. Their assholishness seems to become more pronounced at times like this. They make the average for humanity be just about even., maybe slightly negative.

I did suggest to one person that if he didn't behave, he could brave the cold and snow as he cold be tossed out. Good sense prevailed and he learned to behave very quickly. Others saw this and chose to modify their behavior as well.

The good news is that, despite fatigue, I didn't draw any blood on anyone, even once......

It has been fun.

More later after I get some sleep.









6 comments:

Karl said...

damn Mr B - you had it rough.

I just got back from going out to my wife's office to change her flat tire. In the dark. On the ice. At 0 degrees.

You're right about stressful situations exposing human flaws. I'll be an asshole for at least another hour or so until I warm up.

RichD said...

Glad you survived the storm. I sure don't miss that lake effect stuff at all. The drivers on the road were lucky to have someone as prepared as you around for help. Take care and try to stay warm.

STEVEN C. VANDERHOFF said...

You embody the III%. Its patriots like yourself; ready, capable, and willing to stand against the tyranny of others, that continually renew my faith in at least a small segment of AMERICANS!
As an old Michigander, I can relate to the idiots who don't prepare for winter driving conditions! Used to bail em out all the time!

og said...

Oddly enough, you didn't expect the government to fix it for you (cough*Katrina*cough)

Old NFO said...

Thanks for stepping up... Nuff said.

Knucklehead said...

There's an important lesson, or at least point, that comes out of your experience. YOU were careful enough to be prepared to have food and water for yourself. But then you found yourself stranded with a bunch of other people who, as you noted, were largely nice, if useless in the situations.

If it had been something worse and lasted longer than that one night, your 3 days of food and water would have been one meal for you and the nice mom and dad with 2 small children in the car in front of you.

I learned this from Sandy. I had everything I needed to keep my wife and I fine for a solid week, probably longer. My frugal little generator would have kept our refrigeration charged up just fine for with the gasoline I laid in. I hadn't figured on the next door neighbors with the two kids who we are friendly with. They don't even own a gas can let alone have 5 or 10 gallons to contribute to the effort.