Yesterday, I was humming Christmas carols. Today, my lyrics sound more like this:
“There’s got to be a morning after, if we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine; let’s keep on looking for the light.
Oh, can’t you see the morning after? It’s waiting right outside the storm.
Why don’t we cross the bridge together and find a place that’s safe and warm?”
It’s the theme song from the original Poseidon Adventure, and it seems rather appropriate since the February blizzard of 2013 — which the Weather Channel has named (another water reference) “Nemo” — has turned my world upside down. (As an aside, I’m not a fan of this naming of winter storms. I guess when it comes to weather, I’m a traditionalist. Hurricanes get named — and this winter idea is just another weather-as-entertainment ploy by the Weather Channel.)
But before we get into the white stuff, let’s have a brief geography lesson. In a previous post, I’ve explained that Long Island looks like a fish. Suffolk County is essentially the body and tail of the fish, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. Very often during these winter storms, Long Island becomes the battle zone between rain, sleet, ice, and snow.
This storm was no exception. Early on, there was rain and sleet — but as the day and evening progressed, the moisture became colder and denser, clinging to branches and trees, all of which achingly bent under the weight. Then the snow arrived, falling at a rate of 3” – 5” per hour –a snow surge if you will. As far as New York State was concerned, Suffolk County — specifically my local area — became snow central, with a 30” accumulation. In a matter of hours, a snow deficit turned into a snow surplus.
At first light, I looked from the windows and saw what could have been the remains of a foam party, something better suited for a college rave. Even the trees and shrubs looked as if they were suffering from a hangover.
As the scope of the scene opened up, it seemed as if Joe and I were looking out from a snow cave, as if we were the only two people alive. A deep snowfall has a way of doing that, of muffling sound and isolating beings. Every window was curtained with branches caked in snow, and small openings revealed glimpses of a steely sky.
Carefully, gingerly, we opened the door and stepped outside to make our first steps in snow, as if we were the first humans to set foot on a strange, alien world. As I took these photos — some of which are of the same scenes from yesterday’s post — I was a bit overwhelmed at the snow’s brutal treatment of the plants. Yes, I thought to myself, this snow lost its prettiness about 24 inches ago.
There are a lot of people who would say the same thing today. Not too far from my home, 150 cars on a major roadway became stuck in the blowing and rapidly accumulating snow. Some motorists opted to spend the night in their cars, while others simply walked away into the snowy night, looking to find shelter and warmth in shopping centers or convenience stores. Plows are now trying to clear roads, but abandoned cars are blocking their way.
We’ve had a preliminary plow, one that clears the center of the street but pushes the snow along the side of the road even higher. As a result, we are homebound until the plows return — and that means grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and skirt steak goulash for dinner and a few more journeys outside to shake the greenery free of its icy grip.