It’s late here in the Denver metro. We’ve had #SnowMageddon2021 over the last forty-eight hours. The storm currently ranks as the fourth-worst snowstorm in city history, with records dating back to the late 1800s. We may creep up that list yet as snow is still coming down.
The official tally was 27.1 inches of snow. That was around 7:00 am local time, Monday morning (post updated on March 15, 2021). We will have to wait until morning to see the final results. For those unfamiliar with the metro, we typically get between fifty and sixty inches of snow over an entire season. Our snowy seasons have lasted into May, for what it’s worth. I can even recall one Mother’s Day some years back where we were sitting out a late-season blizzard.
Truth be told, this storm was brutal. It wasn’t the snow. We get plenty of that. It was the driving sleet/snow mix that pelted my face each time I had to walk the dogs over the last two days. It was the sort of sideways sleet that stings your face with each drop, and you either close your eyes or put your hand up in front of them to feebly protect your face.
It got to the point that I had to carry the smaller dog (he’s an eight-month-old Pug) and plop him down in an area I stomped down with my boots for him to be able to relieve himself. When he was done, he just looked up at me with those sad eyes, begging for us to get inside as quickly as possible. I knew it was terrible when the bigger dog (she’s an eleven-month–old Lab/Great Dane/Hound/Mutt mix) was ready to make quick outside. She loves the snow, and it’s usually a fight to get her back inside as she enjoys flopping down on all fours, laying across the snow. I’m then forced to go over and pick her up (sixty-pounds) or drag her along until she gets the message we’re done playing outside. Not so tonight. She did her business and skedaddled.
I wore my long-johns, fleece-lined weather-resistant pants, waterproof cowboy boots with a heavy rubber outsole, coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. And I was still cold with the biting wind. It reminded me of the wind and ice storms of my childhood growing up in Kansas. Each time I trudged back up to our second-floor condo unit, I had snow that had blown up under my fleece-lined pants and inside my boots—which were covered by the pant legs, though that evidently didn’t matter. I went through four pairs of socks today too. They kept getting soaked. It wasn’t from the boots themselves. It was that blowing snow, magically working its way up my pant legs and inside my boots.
At one point, I went and stood beside one of the many snow drifts blocking all access in-and-out of the parking lot at our condo complex. The drifts came up to mid-thigh, and that’s with me wearing boots with a one-inch heel. I guesstimated the drifts were at least three-feet tall across the parking lot. I’ve added two pictures for your enjoyment.
One bold young lady who lives in the complex tried to get her car out. She said she was trying to get to work. She has AWD on her sort-of-SUV Mazda hatchback, but that wasn’t the problem. It was ground clearance. She went headfirst into one of the drifts, thinking she could push through it. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.
I saw her and her friend trying desperately to get the car moving in one direction or another. Anyone who’s seen AWD knows the vehicle automatically disperses the power to the wheel the vehicle thinks offers the best chance for traction. The problem here was the girl had spun her wheels to the point where she had compacted the snow into about two inches of ice under her wheels.
I took the dogs inside and told her I would be right back down to help them. Yes, I was trying to be a good neighbor. I was also being selfish. If she couldn’t get her car moved, there’d be zero chance a plow could even get into our parking lot sometime tonight or tomorrow to clear a path because her vehicle was blocking the way.
After I got the dogs deposited upstairs, I came back down and went to my Jeep (life tip: when the Jeeps won’t go out in the snow, you shouldn’t either) to collect some supplies to help the young ladies. I keep a Colorado version of an ice scraper/brush combo with an extendable pole and a scraper that can double as a small shovel. I also carry a spare bottle of the -20 degree washer fluid in the Jeep for emergencies. I used the washer fluid to melt the snow around her tires so I could dig her down as close to the pavement as we could get. I then got down on my hands and knees to dig her out, which included digging the compacted snow out of her wheel wells.
I guess I was out there working for twenty or thirty minutes to get her unstuck. At least, that’s what my wife told me when I finally made it back upstairs to my condo. We eventually got her car back into its garage unit, and the young lady wisely decided to call work and tell them she wouldn’t be making it in.
All told, I must have been outside a dozen or more times throughout the two-day storm to walk the dogs.
The storm lived up to expectations. In fact, the last time I remember seeing that much snowfall in one storm was back when I was four or five years old. Sure, we get massive amounts of snow in the mountains—often measured in feet and not inches. But not so down here in the high plains and foothills.
I know many folks around the country have been hit with massive snowstorms this winter. I know it’s been a severe problem for several communities. I’m thankful it was only an inconvenience for us.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my #SnowMageddon2021 story. I’d love to hear your comments.
As always, this has been the World According to Chris. Please hit the like button or leave a reply.