You don't want to be here now...

Jim McKenney
Mon, 08 Feb 2010 18:48:30 PST
The Middle Atlantic States are getting hit hard by the weather. The heavy
snow fall is only part of the story. Here in Montgomery County, Maryland, we
were without electricity for about 60 hours: from Friday night until noon
today. What an experience this turned out to be. The furnace and the oven
both have electric components and so were non-functioning the whole time.
The temperature in the house dropped to 54º F by Saturday morning, to  48º
Sunday morning and to 44º this morning. Overnight lows outside were 10º F
one morning and 12º another. We have a land line phone, so we were not
completely out of touch. And the stove top is gas, so we had warm meals (I
had stocked up with food in anticipation of the snowfall). The refrigerator
and freezer were not running throughout this period, so we tried to minimize
trips to either. 


For those of you who like to plan ahead, in addition to things such as
generators and food, be sure to provide for an effective toilet seat warmer:
the cold seat was the worst ordeal of all. 


We walked around inside all day with hats and in down jackets over long
underwear. Lights were out, of course, at sundown, and sundown is about four
or five hours before our usual bedtime: that meant four or five hours of no
radio, no books, no TV, no Internet, no Google or email. Nights were spent
huddled under mounds of blankets. We looked like WWI refugees or bagworms. 


Roads were eventually just barely passable, and there was no way I was going
out in the car. 


The snow fall amounted to over 24 inches: our little dog Biscuit is about
nine inches at the shoulder. When she stepped off the front porch, do and
math and decide what happened.  


Another storm will pass through the area tomorrow; it’s predicted to bring
between 10 and 20 more inches of snow. If the snow is the sort which clings
to power lines, you probably won’t be hearing from me for awhile. This new
storm is predicted to be accompanied by high winds – bad news for our area
where power lines are all above ground, and tree limbs are already weighted
down with snow. A few hours without power is one thing; when it goes on for
days at a time, it’s a real test.  


We’re treating this as a winter camping experience. 


The heavy snowfall did a lot of damage to woody plants: limbs are down all
over the neighborhood. 


We never felt we were in any danger throughout these events, although the
relentless cold day and night was unnerving.  But my thoughts were on my two
most protected cold frames. Over the years, I’ve assumed that these benefit
from heat seeping from the house. With overnight lows in the 10º F-12º F
range, and no active heat in the house itself, there might be a sad story
awaiting me when I finally open the frames. But that won’t be anytime soon.


Will I see home-grown Tropaeolum azureum in bloom this year? It’s hard not
to be a bit pessimistic. 


I’m cross-posting this to Alpine-L. 




Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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