Just when New Hampshire residents thought they couldn’t take another inch of snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain we are under yet another severe storm advisory for tonight 12/19/08. So far I have witnessed numerous fender benders down by I93 and my cousin had a nasty fall on the ice, breaking her ankle in two places. Enough is enough already. How much more can New Hampshire residents take before we all go insane?
At 10:30am this morning, 12/19/08 I visited Dunkin Donuts in New Hampton and found it packed with people. Just by the look on most of their faces you could tell some were there for the warmth. At 11:30 I was at the Irving’s in Holderness where people were lined up down the street to get gas and supplies in anticipation of the next storm. At 12 noon I was at the Liquor store in Ashland. Looking across to the Irving’s there you could see people lined up at the pumps filling plastic containers as well as car and truck gas tanks. During my whole day of running errands, the sky above me was an ominous dark grey reminiscent of smoke from a dirty chimney. At 2pm the sky had become so black it was like midnight outside making it necessary to turn on a light. As I type this at 4:30pm I look out my window to see gusts of snow blowing past at an alarming pace. At 7:30pm I got the courage to let the dog out and check the mail. Shock and horror is what greeted me in my mudroom. A large gust had blown the door open and blown in a good ½” of snow onto the floor!! Knowing I wanted to go no further but had to, I slowly made my way the 100′ or so to the mailbox. Large gusts blew stinging bits of snow and debris at my face in an unrelenting sort of way. On the leash, my Mastiff occasionally disappeared into a drift. Pulling her out and moving on I looked down to see that the snow was almost up to my knees!! I can tell you that Doc was never happier to see the inside of this house in her life!! So happy in fact that I refused to go back out until 8:30am the next morning 12/20/08. My Mastiff seamed to agree as she not once asked to be let out!!
So here we are at 8:30am and unbelievably it is still snowing!! Making my way out of the house with my son and my Mastiff in tow I was greeted by another shocking sight. Six of our cars were missing!! And no, a car thief hadn’t been busy, working his way through the blizzard. Instead, each car was hidden under a snow bank!! Thus said, I found six large lumps in my driveway and picked my way about each of them, identifying each as I went. Finally at Thompson St we found what resembled more of a hiking trail then a road. Just a hundred feet away we found the brook had all but stopped in its tracks, too full of snow and ice to even move. My 3′ son found himself towered over by some snow banks and the wind gusts kept slapping us with bites of snow and other debris so I gathered everyone and back into the house we went.
Now honestly folks, I don’t know when and if I will ever emerge from this house again. Tomorrow, 12/21/08 we are expecting yet another storm as big as this one and this one isn’t even over yet. We are now running low on wood and cannot find the woodpile to bring more in. Last minute Christmas shopping is on hold, Hanukah is all but cancelled and normal household food shopping is but a memory of the past. However, I cannot complain. Some 30,000 or more residents are still without power and have to deal with all of this added mess on top of that. Not to mention how this must be affecting the power company workers who are trying desperately to restore power.
Now consider this, some of our roads are still in disrepair from the summer floods, some roads are still closed from the ice storm, crews are out trying to clean up the third layer and yet a fourth layer is looming in the not so distant future. It seems almost impossible to me. Especially without resources to work with. Sand is actually becoming hotter then gold right now. It has gotten to the point where commercial plowing companies can be found scalping sand from the residential sand facilities at local towns. Don’t believe me? Hang out at the sand pit sometime and you will see what I mean. Trucks bearing several different company names can be found filling their sanders to bear with this brown gold. As for residents? It leaves us with nothing. I checked both the Ashland and New Hampton resident sand pits right after the ice storm and found both to be completely empty. My husband and I have been digging out the cellar hole out back to dredge up some sand for our driveway. We could hire one of those commercial guys but really folks, why should I pay for sand that is supposed to be free to me in the first place!?!?!
Now let’s look at the rest of New Hampshire through the eyes of WMUR, Channel 9 News. Governor John Lynch has announced that he intends to seek a major federal disaster declaration for the state of New Hampshire. Soldiers and the National Guard are currently assisting in any way they can. Chris Pope Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is encouraging New Hampshire residents and officials to check on their neighbors to be sure everyone is safe. He advises that if you suspect that anything is wrong you call 911 immediately. George Campbell Commissioner of Transportation said that around 720 state and rented trucks will be out plowing the state highway systems. He also declared that Route 63 in Hinsdale remains unplowable, but he said there would be equipment there to make sure the road stays open. This is the only unplowable state road in New Hampshire currently. 57 town sector roads also remain unplowable at this time. The Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission said that he will be posting an update of power outages, by town to www.NH.gov This website will be updated twice a day. If your power does not come on and your neighbor’s does he asks that you call 1-800-662-7764 for PSNH or call 1-800-852-3339 for Unitell. For more information from this interview with Governor John Lynch go to http://www.wmur.com/video/18320705/index.html . Currently 10 counties are under a severe winter storm watch for early Sunday morning into late Sunday night.
Please keep safe and keep in mind that Hanukah and Christmas are about being with family. If you don’t have gifts under the tree or fancy Christmas lights on the house, so what!! At least you are alive and have your family with you. That is all that truly matters. Maybe New Hampshire can celebrate Christmas in January. After all, it isn’t the date you celebrate it is how you celebrate and how you keep the meaning in your heart that truly matters. Good luck to all my New Hampshire readers. I wish you this best this holiday season. Together we will make it through this. Keep an eye out for updates and slideshows from Doc.