It wasn’t the cold that brought Fairbanks to a dark, powerless city. It was the treacherous and excessive snowfall. More than a foot of snow fell in less than 24 hours. Now to some places that might not be a whole lot, but for a town where more than half of it’s residents don’t live “in town,” the snow storm brought snapping trees, down power lines, and snow covered driveways and roads.
Now you may be thinking, why is it such a big deal Laura? You have a capable husband that can plow the snow. Yes, yes I do BUT it would be really hard from him to plow the snow from Kansas City, which is where he was during this Snowmageddon. He told me a week ago that plowing our driveway is too much. He expressed that plowing our driveway can’t be done. He went out that day and bought an electric snow blower. He blew the first 6+ inches from Sept 25 snow storm, it took him all of 2 hours.
When I got home on September 29, I came home to a house without power. The house wasn’t cold yet by any means but no power means more than just no heat. It means no refrigerated goods, no water, no flushing, no lights, no tv, no computers, NO ELECTRIC SNOW BLOWER, you get the point. My biggest concern however was the fact that I didn’t have any water. The furkids and I would definitely need water… Driving home I saw cars stalled, cars in ditches, cars in lakes, trees across the roads, and people pulling up to chainsaw the trees off the road… The last thing I wanted to do was head back out to get water. Luckily for me the power came back on! I was so excited! The first thing I did was grab the 6 gallon water jug from the shed and fill it up with water. The second thing I did was collect the propane heaters and all of the lanterns and lights I could find. The third thing I did was charge or plug in my phone and computer. Some of you might be thinking… why would you do that if your power came back on? I figured the power coming back on was too good to be true and I was right. Two hours later the power was off again. Being prepared paid off.
With the power being out, my phone reception was also bad at best. I can usually send texts out but I need the internet. I was only able to send out a text every other hour it seemed. I finally did hear that school was cancelled. Usually I would be pumped! With no power, a foot of snow covering my driveway, and a branch leaning over our power lines to the house, it was anything but celebratory. I ended up watching a movie on my computer before heading to bed. The next morning I ate dry cereal. Yummy! With no power, I couldn’t do much. My phone was dying and I knew I would need to plug it in in my car. I love that Jillian Jeep has an outlet, just a two prong, but still. I plugged in my phone with my car charger and my computer into the plug. The next item on the to-do list was the driveway.
I didn’t know how to work the electric snow blower and the instructions were frozen to the top of the freezer so I had to go old school. At first I felt empowered. I knew how big of a challenge it was and I was ready to take it on! I pretty easily shoveled my car out and shoveled an area where I could turn my car around. After an hour in to shoveling I was pretty over it. I got to the narrower part of the driveway where the snow was very wet and I started getting frustrated. It took me over two hours straight but I plowed the entire driveway. After the fact I was exhausted but proud. I spent the next three hours taking a nap cuddled up with the furkids.
When I woke up the house temp was 55. This actually isn’t that bad considering the power had been out for over 24 hours and we normally keep the house at 66. I didn’t want it to be much colder than 55 though. I turned on the propane Big Buddy. After 45 minutes I started to feel the heat but I also felt the propane. I shut it off and the house had gotten up to 57. My neighbor came over to check on me and brought over another Big Buddy to keep my pipes warm. I was so thankful! We have great neighbors!
Just as I was about to put a movie in my computer – I heard the screech of the power coming back! The whole house got up and excited! The dogs more were affected by the high pitch noise and I was just jumping for joy! It truly makes you appreciate power and how dependent we all are on power. Josh and I had always planned on getting a wood stove. I don’t think anyone in Fairbanks really predicted getting this record snowfall in September and what it could do to the city. Moving into a new house we weren’t able to put something in until after we received our permanent fund dividend. Of course this happened September 29 and we got our dividend October 1!
As the power came back on I was very appreciative of all the amenities that power supplies. I am also grateful Josh is home and can plow the the driveway from now on!