20 inches of snow

Minneapolis Travel Blog

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starting to shovel my driveway

Living in Minnesota, you get used to the cold and snow.  But this last weekend we had a snowstorm for the record books!  The official total was 17" at the airport, but it was closer to 20" (45-50 cm) where I live.  That is the 5th highest snowfall on record.  I wanted nothing more than to hunker down inside and do nothing.  But I had a concert that evening and I was supposed to meet a couple of my ensemble members to carpool.  The concert was in Stillwater, about 30 mintues away.  Both of them called me around noon and said their cars were stuck and they couldn't meet.  I opened my garage door to a foot of snow drifts and began shoveling.  The snow was still coming down and the wind was picking up.  I walked out to the road, which was plowed at 7:30 this morning.

icicles on lamp
  There were 6-8 inches of new snow and only a few sets of tire tracks.  I kept shoveling, hoping our concert would be canceled.  I was afraid to leave because I live on a big hill and there is no easy way down. 

I kept waiting for a phone call that never came.  Then I saw a little white mail truck fly by.  Well, if he can make, I'm pretty sure my 4-wheel drive jeep can make it.  Finally I couldn't avoid it any longer and set out.  I slowly made my way to the edge of the hill and slowly went down.  I started fishtailing about halfway down, but there weren't too many people out and I got it straightened up by the stop lights at the bottom of the hill.  I figured that would be the worst part.  I kept going, sliding through a stop sign, and turned on to the interstate.

turn lane not plowed
  I-94 through St. Paul is a pretty major highway so it should be good, right?  Wrong.  Due to the blizzard-like conditions and low visibility, the highway department had pulled all the snow plows off the roads.  The interstate had 4-6 inches of snow on it and no lanes were visible.  Cars were slowing moving single file down the highway. 

It was about 10 miles to my friend's house and it was about the most stressful 10 miles I've ever driven.  You could barely see the car ahead of you.  Sometimes you came upon a car just stopped in the road and had to slide around to avoid it.  Almost every exit ramp had at least 1 car stuck in the drifts left by the plows.  Cars were stuck all over the side of the road in the snow drifts.

deflated Metrodome
  The snow kept catching the tires and making me slide.  Forget about using the brakes!  I almost got into an accident when a stalled car appeared out of no where and the two cars ahead of me slammed on their brakes.  I stepped on mine and had to swerve/slide to the right to avoid hitting the car ahead of me.  Luckily I missed the stalled car, too, and was able to get back into the single lane of traffic.

The snow kept falling and the wind kept blowing it everywhere.  And this was downtown St. Paul!  We had to go out into the country where the blizzard would be in full force and visibility near zero!  This was not safe.  I did not want to be here.  I wanted to turn around and say I couldn't make it.  The only problem was I couldn't get off the highway.

car plowed in
  I finally came to my exit and was able to get off.  There was a car and a truck stuck in the right turn lane, so we used the straight ahead lane to turn.  Talk about white knuckle driving!

All the major roads were down to one lane in each direction.  City streets were down to one lane total.  Cars were plowed in left and right.  All the city streets had the plow ridge to drive through.  I saw so many cars stuck and felt a little guilty that my jeep went through everything and that I didn't stop to help anyone.  But there was no way I'd make it to Stillwater on time, but I had to keep trying.  It took me an hour to go those 10 miles.  At that rate, I would get to Stillwater in 3 hours at the earliest - provided I didn't go off the road and get stuck in a ditch.

digging out cars
  I was not looking forward to that.  I just arrived at Beth's apartment when I got the call the concert was cancelled.  Are you kidding me?  You couldn't have decided an hour ago before I left?  I also wasn't looking forward to the hour drive back home.  Beth offered to let me spend the night and I took her up on the offer.  I plowed my way into her parking lot...to find no parking spaces that had less than 2 feet of snow.  I tried to pull in one, but got stuck.  I couldn't go forward, so I backed out and waited for another car to try getting out.  He was stuck, so I tried helping him, figuring I'd take his spot since it was shoveled out.  I helped him for 30 minutes.  Finally he gave up and pulled back in.
unplowed road
  That bugger!  Then I had to help another car before I could move forward.  I plowed into another parking spot and just stopped where my car got stuck.  Lots and lots of snow.  I'm glad I brought my shovel!  And an extra pair of pants and clean underwear :) 

The next day (Sunday), was brilliantly sunny and bitterly cold.  I saw on the news that the Metrodome roof collapsed from all the snow.  It is an inflatable dome and the weight caused the teflon to rip.  I drove by it on my way to my concert in Minneapolis.  I don't think I've ever seen it deflated before (the last time was 1984 or something).

more cars plowed in
  There is an amazing video of the collapse on YouTube from Fox news. 

The Minneapolis streets seemed a little worse off than the St. Paul streets.  Once again I was glad for 4-wheel drive.  I must have said that a dozen times yesterday.  I got on a road that hadn't been plowed yet and was following the tire ruts.  I'm so glad I was able to dig my car out of the parking lot and not be as plowed in as some of these cars were.  All in all, Saturday was a very stressful day of driving, but Sunday was a little more fun and I got to "play" as I slid around corners. 

Africancrab says:
OMG all that snow. I heard there was a warning yesterday for people to stay indoors.
Posted on: Dec 13, 2010
Africancrab says:
I have a friend doing her fellowship in Minneapolis. She is called Agnes. I don't know how far you are but maybe you guys can get together. Let me know.
Posted on: Dec 13, 2010
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starting to shovel my driveway
starting to shovel my driveway
icicles on lamp
icicles on lamp
turn lane not plowed
turn lane not plowed
deflated Metrodome
deflated Metrodome
car plowed in
car plowed in
digging out cars
digging out cars
unplowed road
unplowed road
more cars plowed in
more cars plowed in
cars snowed in (not plowed)
cars snowed in (not plowed)
snowbank by church
snowbank by church
sidewalk sort of shoveled
sidewalk sort of shoveled
me at work - drifts over door and …
me at work - drifts over door and…