The Great(?) Blizzard of 2003
I remember my parents, co-workers or someone once commenting that it seemed like about every 5 years the Maryland area really gets "whomped" with snow. From what I can remember, this was reasonably accurate. I remember fearfully driving home from work in my little Pontiac Sunbird during the Veteran's day storm in '86. I remember some kind of work closing storm (the best kind) around 1991. I remember this storm distictly as Bob, his parents and sisters were all laughing at the entire region and how it shut down for almost nothing. (Wisconsin humor, I guess) I definitely remember the double blast snow in 1996, even the weather forcasters apologized for screwing that one up. Bob and I ended up building a huge kitty condo during that one. Then there was the storm that wasn't supposed to happen in 2001. That's when we were supposed to have light sleet and ended up with 19 inches of snow. It was during that storm that Bob and I hatched the basic ground work for Rude Ranch Animal Rescue. Judging from our past history, we would really have to do something big during the next snowstorm. However, with the big snow of 2001 out of the way, we thought we had a couple of years.
That's why in February of 2003, when the weather forecasters first started predicting a "major snow event" we were wary. After all, it was totally off schedule... we weren't due for major snow for another 3 years. However, as the week wore on, we started to see signs that everyone else thought we were in for some serious snow. Like everyone else, we started checking our supplies: kitty litter, trash bags for used kitty litter, cat food, dog food, toilet paper, chocolate, chips, and our main staple, diet soda. We also brought most of our fire wood in the house, thinking it would be nice to have a roaring fire while the snow fell. We were also really hoping that no fur would pee on it just before it went into the fireplace.
Despite our preparations, we did have a couple of pressing issues: the storm was scheduled to hit on a Saturday, our major Petsmart adoption day. Additionally there were people picking up a cat that planned on driving back to upstate New York that day. By Friday evening, the weather people were predicting end of the world type stuff: sleet, hail, freezing rain, snow, back to sleet adn freezing rain, then snow, and more snow. In terms of our adoption event, the people from the north were thinking it would be fun. The people that weren't used to snow were freaking out. So, being the extremely decisive types, we decided to "play it ear" in the morning.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny. However the weather people were still predicting dire consequences for anyone daring to venture out that day. We decided to cancel the adoption events, much to everyone's relief. We took care of the cats, let the dogs out to play in the yard, and tried to settle in for the long haul. (At this point I should mention that we really weren't too worried about how the dogs would get by in the snow, no matter what kind of weather we have, they usually just go in the garage and pee on the lawn mower anyway.) The people picking up the New York bound cat arrived, kind of snickering about all the hoopla over a storm. (But we did notice they arrived about 2 hours ahead of thier appointment, thier claim was they wanted to beat the traffic).
Soon a light snow started to fall. It was pretty. The dogs were having a good time rolling and playing in it. It sure didn't seem like the stuff that we were told was on its way. We ended up doing two more adoptions that day, one to a family from Buffalo, New York. They kept commenting on the balmy weather. By the end of the night, there was still some snow falling, however, it was no where near what we were told was supposed to happen. The weather predicters kept saying "just wait". Regardless, the dogs used the lawn mower rather than the tree when they went on their evening constitutional that night. Through it all, Bones and Marilyn, our mascots, worked hard.
The Mascots, working hard
The next day, Sunday, we woke up to about 6 inches of snow on the ground. It was pretty. It was still falling. The weather forcasters were still predicting alot of snow. We knew that we would have no help taking care of the animals that day. Through out the day, the snow kept falling. By 2 pm we had about 14 inches of snow. The dogs gave up and were sleeping by the fire. By now it was a more "keep on falling so work is closed tomorrow" kind of feeling. At 6 pm, we had about 20 inches of snow and I got my wish... the message that everyone prays to hear the night before so they don't have to get up in the morning: "Federal Government offices are closed Monday".
By the time all was said and done Monday morning, we had a lot of snow:
The back deck...
The fish pond looked like a sink hole:
After three days we were still figuring out what "lumps" in the snow were cars and which were trees, etc:
Now we had to figure out a few more things: we figured the newspaper was pretty much a goner for the day. We also figured that maybe we really should have spent the money for the snow plow. We also should have invested in some kind of boots, as the snow found its way into tennis shoes pretty quickly. Fortunately, the main road would be plowed out quickly...that's one of the perks of having a county councilman living 1/2 mile away. At least trash would be picked up. It would just be the matter of getting the trash out to the street. (Lets face it, we generate a lot of trash)
After a couple of days, the snow started to get under control. We dug a path to the front door for people coming and going. The snow eventually got a crust on top that Boomer and Ceasar could walk across with out going through. This was a development that irritated Bruno somewhat as he would try to run across the yard under a full head of steam, then suddenly "fall through" and end up doing a face plant in the snow.
Life at the Rude Ranch eventually got back to our semi normal existence. At least Bob and I didn't hatch any new schemes, like starting another animal shelter or something.