Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My Meteorology teacher asked us to share our most memorable weather event. This is the story I told:

I've been around a few years, so I've experienced a lot of weather. I've also moved several times - from Northern California, to Seattle, to Colorado Springs, and back to Seattle.

Of course, the weather is much different in each of those places, but I must say, Colorado Springs had some serious weather. It could go from a summer snow storm (a late snow in June, one year), to like 90 the next day. The snow would literally steam off the roads under a clear, sunny sky. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, crazy! Actually, it was pretty awesome. From the inside of a safe, dry, warm, place.

But, my most memorable weather event was a snow storm we had in 2002. My family and I lived in a big ranch house out in the country on 12 acres just north of the Springs. Our elevation out there was about 7,300 feet, so our climate was a little different than our neighbors just 5 miles south.
This storm hit hard - temps dropped to around 15 degrees during the day, white-out snow, and it was a wet snow, so everything it landed on froze. Including our power lines.

Uncharacteristically, this storm lasted for a few days, and on the second day, we lost power. Now, this wouldn't be a big deal, we had 2 fireplaces and food, and could cook on top of the Franklin Stove; but I had a foster child, Kenny (now Kameron, my son) who was on a ventilator.

We had two car batteries
acting as a back up to keep him breathing, but they were only good for around 12 hours. At 8 hours w/no power, I started to worry. The storm showed no sign of letting up, and the clock was ticking.

Thankfully, we had a Hello Kitty plug-in phone (Kelsey's) that worked, so I called our local fire department. They offered to bring a generator out to the house, but when they attempted to get it to us, they weren't able to get up our driveway. Our 1/2 mile long dirt road was completely blocked by at least four feet of snow, which was still falling, blowing, and drifting.

I told them I'd walk out to get it. Right. Out I waded into the deepest snow I'd ever seen, sinking up to my hips, eventually crawling on top of it, to try to reach the firemen out there. I lost all sense of direction, and after about thirty minutes, realized I would never make it. I decided to turn back to the house.

I couldn't figure out where it was.

The snow was falling fast and blowing sideways, and I couldn't even see a nearby tree for a landmark. For the first time, I genuinely panicked, and understood how people could get trapped by snowstorms just feet away from their homes and die.

So, I'm sitting there, trying not to freak out, desperately praying and asking for some kind of break in the storm so I could head back to the house, when all of a sudden, I see a dark shape slowly moving through the snow in front of me. It was my 15 year old son, coming out to help.

I've never been so glad to see anyone. We were both covered in frozen snow and freezing - for real - but together, we got back to the house.

After I called the fire department, and let them know we couldn't get out to the street, they contacted the county Search and Rescue team, who sent out a snow cat to pick up my little Kameron and his nurse. They took them out and got him to a hospital, where he stayed, safe and snug, until the storm cleared, our power was restored, and we were unburied enough to go retrieve him.

That was probably my most memorable weather event. I must say I'm glad to be back in rainy, "boring", Seattle. The weather here is very well-behaved. Usually. Of course, there was that time...

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