20 inches of snow
Minneapolis Travel Blog› entry 40 of 61 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.