Did the Weather Channel know that naming a storm “Stella” would make tagline creation so simple? “Stella: One Helluva” Gosh, that was as easy as a Staples button-push!
They began predicting this She-devil a week in advance. Betting pools pitted American models against European models. Weather weenies like us were glued to our screens like they were smeared with cocaine. Sadly for us, hope for a knock-out against the mountains waned as the days slipped by.
More and more it looked like the Big Cities were going to be the Big Victims, and as such were in a state of total meltdown. We didn’t even have to be there; we’ve lived there long enough to know. Bread and toilet paper would become currency. Salt and shovels would be front and center in, of all places, drug stores. You’d think city-dwellers in the Mid-Atlantic hadn’t encountered a snowstorm since the last Ice Age.
So if there’s going to be a record snowfall, let it be in the mountains and let the Flatlanders battle their rush hours in peace. It would have been easier if the storm’s path hadn’t taken a sharp left turn only eighteen hours prior to hitting. But thanks to the aplomb which mountain folks have toward natural events, we “weathered” it pretty well.
Being the newly-minted expat flatlanders that we were, our shelves
needed a bit of stocking in the way of power outage supplies, so we grabbed batteries and flameless candles and wine (high priority) and combed two counties for lamp oil. (Bill’s Ace Hardware in Dushore saved the day, BTW.) We were not going to miss the opportunity of living by the ambiance of oil lamp, by gracious.
We stockpiled firewood on the front stoop, and filled containers with water. We purchased a cute portable gas grill for cooking. We were also keen on the idea of using our vintage cast iron cookware in the fireplace! We bought hamburger.
The school took it seriously enough to cancel the day before the event. At least we wouldn’t be woken by the 6 AM phone blast. Thank you, sensible school system.
By bedtime Monday, there hadn’t even been a flake. Nooo! Don’t let all that good lamp oil go to waste! Thus began almost hourly awakenings to check for progress. Remember, we were pumped! Around 1 AM, a dusting. Pooh. At 4, a couple of inches. Ho, hum.
But then at dawn, a good eight inches were covering everything! Do some mental math. Think of the snowfall rate! And this baby was not slowing down. It continued all day, smothering the landscape in marshmallow fluff. And it was blowing.
Sir Jeremy, our Knight of the Order of the Plow, was already attacking the enemy, and it looked like he was having a ball doing it as the powder blasted from either side of his metal steed. Yet, there would need to be many more thrusts at the heart of the evil Queen Stella before she was vanquished.
The animals were struggling as the snowfall continued to rise. Our feeder birds were distraught. At the rate the snow was coming down, the seed we scattered on the surface for the ground-feeders would be covered before they could finish it. Squirrels were neck-deep, digging for scraps. Deer came in the night and foraged under the kitchen window, grateful for the only food source. In the course of the storm, we probably went through 5 pounds of sunflower just from tossing it out. Lord knows what the confused robins survived on. Worms would be buried for days.
By nightfall, like in the song, it didn’t “show signs of stopping!” So out came the corn for popping cuz thankfully the power was still on. We found some other excuse to drink the wine.
And sure enough, it didn’t stop. Though at a gentler rate, snow fell all of Wednesday, too! Toward 6 PM and after thirty-six hours, like light from the end of a very dark and long tunnel, came a hint of the sunset, signaling the end. Now came the tallying.
This snowstorm was not going to be measured in mere inches. It needed a yardstick. Our deck topped out at just over two feet.The furniture was almost obliterated; only a part of an armrest poked through. The birdbath out front was nowhere to be found. The dog could not relieve himself until two cubic yards of snow were removed from the front door. (Bill shoveled fast.)
Then numbers started coming in from around Eagles Mere. Looked
like our chins took it lightly on Fern Lane. Out on World’s End Road, upwards of two-and-a-half feet were reported. And the wind, which was quite fierce, shoved snow into drifts over four feet deep. Poor Jeremy and his troops were continually in battle just to reclaim the roads that an hour ago had been cleared.
Back on Fern Lane, it was time for Bill to drag out our own plow. Being the Yankee that he is, he had it all ready and under a tarp near the front door, knowing full well that had he left it safely in the shed, it would be inaccessible and therefore useless. Yet, this much
snowfall meant shoveling just to rescue the plow! Once at work, it took more than a single pass to make it through. A couple of inches deeper and the machine would have been overcome by its opponent. The path it left was as a wedding cake sliced through, the sides were so high and cleanly cut.
But everyone made it through unscathed and with power thanks to the downy consistency of the precip. The only real victims were the school kids who actually complained about three days of cancellations. Making up those days eliminated Spring Break.
Of course, all good AND bad things come to an end, and with the bad the sun always returns. So it was with Stella. It took another two weeks for most evidence of her menace to disappear. And underneath? The spring flowers that never gave up hope.
Next time, though, we might have to let the Flatlands suck it up. It can’t always be Eagles Mere.
Leslie and Bill
P.S. How did you fare during Stella? Let us know below!