Blizzard 2000

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BLIZZARD 2000

While looking through some back-up CDs of pictures taken over the years and scanned images of slides taken with my ole Nikon 35MM F2AS camera, I ran across a few pictures taken of the Blizzard we had here in Anson County, NC  on or about January 24, 2000.  Once the snow started, it didn't let up for a day or more and there was approximately 22 inches of snow measured which is the most snowfall that I can ever remember.

It wasn't long during the late afternoon and night hours that trees began crashing down behind and beside our home and you could hear the explosions of power transformers in the distance and see the fireworks from the closer ones.  Our electricity stayed off for around 3 1/2 to 4 days if memory is correct, maybe longer.  We used one of our propane cooking burners and stand for heat and to do what cooking we did.  We used the accumulated snow on the deck table to store perishable items such as milk and other things from our refrigerator which worked great and reminiscent of the pre Depression Era Icebox.  We dug out one of our old camping percolator coffee pots that was in storage since the mid 1980s and put it to good use.

When the snow started to melt the next afternoon, it would leave our driveway and road with a solid sheet of ice the following morning and we were unable to get out of the drive and up the steep hill incline from our home for at least four days due to the thaw and refreeze, etc.  Our neighbor, Johnny Hildreth used his large ditch witch type trenching machine to push the snow off the road at the crest of the hill to our driveway.  My employer, The NC Department of Correction didn't like the idea that I couldn't come to work and they definitely were short handed.  They could care less about your personal hardships and only concerned with the job which is understandable if you are in the management side of things.

PREMONITION

One of the most timely things that I did back in the fall of 1999 was to purchase a farm model 55 Husqvarna chain saw and had an immediate urgency to cut down and remove about twenty-two (22) trees that were very close to our home on the South and Western side which many were leaning toward our home.  I used a chain drive Coffing Hoist type aluminum housing winch aka come along and 75 feet of chain to get the trees to fall in the direction I needed them.  I climbed a very large Sweet Gum tree with climbing hooks aka pole climbers and hooked the chain about 30 feet off the ground and secured it to a large pine tree with the Coffing Hoist come along in between to pull it in that direction away from our home.  Also, I had my Brother-in-Law Vernon Harris of Gastonia come and cut down a very large white oak tree that was less than 15 feet from our carport.  There were three of us on the ground removing the limbs that he cut while working his way to the top of the tree and it was all we could do to keep up with him and he was in his high 60s age wise at the time.  Being a retired Green Beret, he kept himself in top physical condition.  Vernon had two small Poulan chain saws with him going up the tree and a double safety chain with a rope weaved between the links.  He also had a safety belt of which one of the safety chains/rope was always tethered to himself and around the tree while he was working his way to the top of the tree.  When he needed to get to and past the next limb, he hooked the other safety chain/rope around the tree before releasing the other one.  After removing the limbs and top of the tree, he cut the tree into manageable lengths on the way down.  I later cut the large stump he left standing which was about three feet in diameter at the base and maybe 10 feet tall of which his chain saws were to small for that job.   

Below is pix of Vernon Harris taken in November, 1999 at the top of the White Oak tree felling the top out of the tree:

That oak tree was leaning badly toward our home and thanks to Vernon for getting it cut down.  He would not take any money for his work but he got a good chicken n dumplings meal with the trimmings for his work.  Vernon is in very poor health at this time but he stayed fit and trim for many decades after his retirement from the U. S. Army and there was never a dull moment when you were around him!

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE UNDER ESTIMATED THE SEVERITY OF THE STORM TO BE

I don't believe there was an accurate weather forecast that predicted the amount of snowfall to come during this storm since we had a few earlier snowfalls prior to this big one.

Below is a weather map captured off the internet:

Event Summary

This storm was the third of four storm systems to impact central North Carolina during the last two weeks of January, 2000.  This two week period featured an active winter storm pattern that featured a deep trough over the eastern U.S..  Winter storms impacted North Carolina on January 18, 2000; January 23, 2000; January 25, 2000 and January 30, 2000.  The January 25, 2000 storm was preceded by a rather weak storm that dropped up to an inch of snow and some freezing rain across the North Carolina Piedmont on January 23.  As this storm moved off the Mid-Atlantic coast, a second low pressure system developed over Florida on the morning of the 24th.  This storms system rapidly strengthened late in the day.  Snow began falling across portions of North Carolina during the afternoon and evening on January 24, as the storm moved north along the North Carolina coast, dropping well over 10 inches of snow throughout central North Carolina in 24 hours.  The heaviest snowfall amounts of 15 or more inches occurred from Anson County northeast through Wake County and continuing into Virginia.  Areas both east and west of this line received 5 to 10 inches of snow.  Even some locations near the coast, such as Wilmington, received up to 5 inches of snow.  This storm received a great deal of media attention including a news story on CNN.

Below are some pixs taken:

My bride needed a pair of snow shoes to navigate the deep snow.  She is wearing my winter duty cap I nicknamed Ivan Koloff.

Below is pix of our neighbor Pat and Johnny Hildreth's home.  Their carport had two cars trapped underneath it and with a couple of my hydraulic jacks, Johnny and myself raised the carport roof off them.  There was minimal damage to the vehicles and Johnny took down the damaged structure and he never replaced the metal carport.

Below pix of the Tim and Joyce Deese home and their son's SUV that was totaled from the fallen tree across the middle of the vehicle.   We purchased the property from the utility pole to the right adjoining our property last year.  During the 14 years after the blizzard, Tim and Joyce Deese opened up a considerable amount of the property which was owned by Ellen Lipe in High Point,  NC to give them the illusion of owning a larger front lawn and property line.  We planted six Leland Cypress trees in there last year to fill in the large gap that they opened up.

View from our deck; not much damage on the upper lot facing South.

AFTERMATH

Below a few pixs taken when the snow had melted and I started cleaning up the Northern lot below us which looked like an explosion of some kind had taken place.  Even today, there are still portions of the logs that have not entirely rotted away.  We had to cut down several of our trees that were badly damaged, one being a Weeping Willow tree which was beautifully shaped.

One of our East Coast Grandsons, Trevor Lane Huneycutt posing for a picture. 

Our two Huneycutt Grandboys, Travis Lee and Trevor Lane stated, "that it was all Nanny's fault because she had been praying for a snow"....grin if you must!

Since that Blizzard 2000, we have an operational generator for such emergencies and have used it for a few hours until the power was restored.

Our neighbor and friend Johnny Hildreth passed away on May 25, 2009 after a long battle with cancer and surely do miss him.  Time waits for no one!

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 03-28-16.

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