Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A dangerous Ground Hog Day

I've seen cold, and I've seen snow, but..............

Last night was the first time I've ever laid in bed and said to myself, if the electricity goes out, I'm in a lot of trouble. I thought of the flashlight, and said to myself, "The truck will start, and the tank is full." The last time I really remember something like this was when I moved here in January of 1979. I lived in a huge old converted frat house on Lake Mendota, south shore. I can remember watching those waves of snow sweeping up against the house off the lake. It wasn't scary then. It never occurred to me that the heat or electric could fail. Where I'm at as I write, the heat is electric, so if the electric failed, well, the dog and I would be in a lot of trouble.

The national news, (NATIONAL, not local, NATIONAL), mentioned 7 cars out on an Illinois interstate highway, about an hour from here, stranded for over 12 hours. They say a snowmobile club is trying to rescue those people from their cars. Before I moved here, I'd seen blizzards before, but they were pretty warm compared to here. Heavy wet snow. This snow is really cold, and blows good. Snow that blows good, creates drifts, and it doesn't take a drift over the top of your house to put you in a lot of trouble. A drift across the highway that's 12" deep is enough to trap the car in front of you, then your, then....... A truck sliding off the highway can drop an electric pole that will kill the power for 1,000's of people. And, as if it wasn't bad enough, they say that tonight the low will be around -10, which is around -23 centigrade.

The news people have been making a big deal out of the 'thunder' snow. I heard the thunder last night, and it didn't worry me that much, but perhaps it should have. Another way to wipe out an electric pole and kill 1000's of peoples power is a lightning strike on a power pole. Where there's thunder, there's lightning.

They say that in Indiana the electricity is out in places and they don't expect to restore it for days. They also say there is an inch of ice on some highways. I've been through Indiana in a truck during a storm like that, it requires very careful driving. The biggest problem in a storm like that is you can't get off the highway. Imagine pulling down the exit ramp and the only place you can go is back up the on ramp. And the on ramp looks kind of sketchy, but you can't park in the middle of the highway, so back up onto the interstate you go. Indiana is a lot warmer than here, so they'll get warm air and rain that will burn it off.

In Egypt there are riots with soldiers trying hard to not kill people. The news just announced a molotov being thrown from the roof of a building into a crowd of people. The result of the unrest in Egypt is a 10% overnight increase in the price of gasoline. So in this neck of the woods, gas is around $3.20/gal, and diesel is around $3.40. That means that driving a truck around is getting pretty expensive, figure a dollar a mile for where ever you're going, round trip. Wow, a trip to Seattle, just for fuel, is around $2,000.............. Wow............

Oh, yeah, the ground hog. Since he's under snow, he's unlikely to see a shadow. So, why should he be scared of it, and go back inside. If I was the ground hog, I'd be digging a tunnel through the snow looking for some frozen greenery to eat. So, I'm guessing, the ground hog prediction will be early spring.

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