Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crazy Winter Weather

It's only officially been winter for a little over a month and already it's been a doozie.  I've never been a fan of winter and you all know I hate snow with a passion, so this past month and a half has been torture for me to say the least.  We got our first snowfall the day we did our family Christmas about 10 days before actual Christmas.  It seemed fitting as Santa had been to our house and it also snowed (something Brady has deemed has to come together).  Brady had gotten a shovel and snow toys from us as presents and got to use them that very day.  You can see him outside shoveling.  We got somewhere between 6 and 8 inches in that 36 hour period.

He was a pro at shoveling and easily did half of the sidewalk for Andy.  He was taking really large shovelfuls and expertly tossing them to the side. 

Andy likes to use the leaf blower on some of the lighter snow and Brady got to try it out. 

Testing out the brick mold, but the snow was too powdery to really use it. 

Izzie loved watching the boys outside.  Next year she'll be out with them.  As for me, I stay nice and warm inside.  I don't even own a pair of boots.

That all occurred before Christmas and on the drive to Pittsburgh, we saw less and less snow on the ground.  By the time we reached Pittsburgh, there was no snow on the ground and it was actually raining.  It didn't last too long and a few days after Christmas there was snow on the ground yet again.  We had to cut our trip short and come home a day early on New Years Eve when we saw that Detroit was going to get 6-10 inches on New Years Day.  We've driven through too many snowstorms and seen too many accidents to risk our kids' lives, even if it meant spending less time with family.  The snow started shortly after we reached the Michigan border, and continued through the next day (New Years) so we were very glad we left early.  We got about 6-7 inches.

New Years was a Wednesday and Andy had to work the next day and Friday.  He sent this from the road and you can see the roads were not well taken care of.  I think he said it took him an hour to get to work (it's all highway and without traffic should take 20 minutes or less).

 Saturday and Sunday brought us another 6-7 inches.  There were reports on the news showing empty grocery stores.  There was literally nothing left on shelves.  I've never seen anything like that before!  We took advantage of being snowed in by playing some games together that Santa had brought Brady.

You may remember two years ago in Germany, we had two straight weeks that were below freezing.  This was a rough time for Brady and I as we took public transportation everywhere and were thus open to the elements most of the time.  I remember being so cold and numb through my clothes and coat.

What came after the snow made those two weeks in Germany look like a heat wave.  Although the temps were below freezing, they weren't below zero.  Right after the two snow storms, the polar vortex came in and it got crazy cold.  -17 one night!  If you think about it, that's almost 50 degrees below freezing!  It's really hard to wrap your head around that.

Not only was it unbelievably cold and breaking low temp records, the wind was howling, creating wind chills that were more than 30 degrees below zero!  Needless to say, the kids were due to come back from winter break that Monday and didn't make it back to school until Thursday.

Fortunately, due to the snow storms and subzero temps, that Monday, Bosch closed down and everyone worked from home that day.  There was plenty of shoveling to be done still. 

Andy shoveled during daylight and this was by nightfall.  Another 4-5 inches! 

My little trees were almost completely covered! 

A view of our back deck.  It looks like the snow is growing up the patio furniture.  I can usually tell about how much snow has fallen by looking at how much is on the railings.  Everything else is just a blur of white and it's hard to tell depth. 

Andy had the thought to take out a yard stick and the two storms combined brought in about 13 inches. 

 Needless to say, we were stuck inside for the better part of a week due to snow, wind chills, and school cancellations.  We kept entertained the best we could though.  We put Brady's gingerbread house out for the squirrels (something that's quickly becoming a yearly tradition).  They must have been hungry because it didn't take long for them to descend upon it.

They knocked it off the flower box the first day and by the second day, they'd dragged it away. 

This was still the Monday after New Years and the night of the National Championship football game.  We were going to walk two doors down to watch and have dinner with our neighbors, but Brady got sick and we had to cancel at the last minute.  Andy ran out and got pizza.  He grabbed a bottle of pop and when we opened it, it turned to slush from the subzero temps.  I'd never seen anything like that happen before! 

Andy was really cold after making his pizza run.

The kids went back to school that Thursday and there were still subzero temps, although not cold enough to cancel (-20 wind chill is the benchmark to cancel).  Just walking from the car to his classroom, my hands are often numb inside my gloves.  The snow combined with the following subzero temps created a layer of ice on the roads.  Andy couldn't even get his Camaro through certain intersections and had to turn around, going up different side streets.  I watched countless cars in front of me get stuck in certain spots.   Fortunately, that weekend, the temps went up to about 40 and it rained, which cleared the roads, but left at least 6 inches still on the ground.

The kids had two full weeks of school, although there were still many nights where the real temps were subzero and more that had subzero wind chills.  Then we lost two days of school for more subzero temps and wind chills approaching 35 degrees below zero.  At this point, Brady had lost two of his own school days, but two swim classes which are held on days he doesn't have preschool, and cancel when the district schools are closed.  The end of that week we got close to being above freezing, but guess what? That meant getting 6-8 more inches of snow and freezing rain!  The snow came first that weekend (Super Bowl weekend), then the freezing rain on top.  Since the temps are still very low, the roads froze completely.  Our subdivision (only an oblong loop) road was a hard packed sheet of ice since there was already a few inches of snow underneath.

We keep getting dumped with snow (which was a welcome relief with the roads frozen).  Last week alone we got another 3-5 inches and then the subzero real temps and wind chills came back for the third time in the last 45 days!  My weather app was saying the wind chill was -22F on Friday morning, but schools weren't cancelled.  Many parents were upset, but Brady didn't have school so it didn't impact us in any way.

Since the start of 2014, we have had 15 days where the real temp has gotten below zero.  When you look up the climate of Detroit, it reads that the temp only goes subzero on average three times per year.  I beg to differ!  This has really been a terrible winter and there's still five weeks to go (not that it being spring by the calendar means it's any warmer).  Even though there have only been 15 days where the real temp is subzero, anytime the overnight low is in the single digits or teens, the wind chill is usually still subzero.  On days where I have to take Brady to school at 8AM, I have numb hands inside my gloves just going from the car to his classroom door.  I feel so bad that I have to drag Izzie out in this, but I bundle her up the best that I can.  With the temps so low, the snow can't even think about melting.  The piles of snow at the end of the driveway from shoveling keep piling up and some of them are taller than me!  Parking lots are still snow and ice covered to the point where you can't even see the lines to park.  In some ways that's nice because you can luck out and get an extra large spot ;)  There is the promise of above freezing temps sometime next week, but it's still so far out that it can change.  At this rate, we'll be lucky if snow will be gone by June!  This winter is definitely one for the record books (Detroit recorded it's most snowfall in any January in history).  On top of that, the poor kids can't even go outside and enjoy it because it's too cold!

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