….doesn’t mean I never have to see snow again, right?
Or drive in the snow again?
(As promised in my previous post, here’s the story of why I’ll never buy a Ford Mustang north of the Mason/Dixon line!)
On last weekend’s trip to Omaha, I was fortunate to travel in between major winter weather systems. Temperatures were in the 50s on my first day there, quite nice!
We were forecasting 1-2″ of snow on Thursday, February 24th. We told EVERYONE 1-2″, and not just us: the National Weather Service, the television stations, everyone!
What happened was pretty freakish, didn’t last that long, and happened right on top of the afternoon/evening commute home. I only caught one iPhone screen capture of the event’s Doppler radar. I wish I had taken more:
You know how folks talk about great things (or not-so-great things) that happen when “all the stars are aligned?” Well, in this case, several things “aligned” in the atmosphere to make this nearly-horizontal dark green line form across central Nebraska. I’m not going to get into the wintertime “convective symmetric instability” here. That line is HEAVY SNOW, and it dumped about 5″ of snow in 3 hours in Bellevue and in areas just south of Offutt AFB. And the line barely moved for those 3 hours. It was NUTS!
And I got to drive home in it. Whee!
I had reported for duty very early that morning, so I figured I’d be heading home around 1:00-1:30pm, but at the last minute I had a meeting that took me to about 3:00pm. The movement of this line was very slow, and I was itching to leave for the day, so after a few minutes of monitoring a non-moving line, I bit the bullet and left. If I had left when I thought I’d be leaving, I’d have made it back to where I was staying without incident. Instead, I fishtailed and skidded all the way back, with heavy snow making things all the worse.
I ending up coming back into my old neighborhood right as my boys’ former elementary school was letting out. The neighborhood is hilly, and there were cars slipping and sliding everywhere. Since only 1-2″ of snow was originally forecast, the salt/silt trucks didn’t even come out to prepare the roads. What a horrific mess!
I couldn’t get that #$% Mustang up the last hill before getting to the house. I tried several times, but it just wasn’t happening. If there wasn’t so much after-school traffic, I might have had the room to roll backwards down the hill, and get enough speed to do it. But I simply had to abandon the car about a block from where I was staying, and walk in the heavy snowfall, and on unshoveled sidewalks, to the house. I had my full winter-weather gear, and nice warm boots, at least. It wasn’t a long walk. Uphill, of course.
About 1/2 hour later, my hostess loaded a few supplies into her Suburban and drove me back over to the car. With less traffic, I was able to roll backwards back down the hill and tear with full power up the hill to the house. And here it is right after I got it parked — POINTING DOWNHILL on the legal side of the street.
How incredibly frustrating — I’m not a bad winter-weather driver. I could hold my own in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and South Korea. Even our 2 1/2 years in Nebraska, we were fine even driving our Toyota Prius. But with this Mustang, I was dealing with a very lightweight, rear-wheel drive vehicle. Ugh!
The local National Weather Service office had put out this map of snowfall totals from that one event, note how there was 5+” of snow in a narrow ribbon across south-central eastern Nebraska, but NONE in northern Sarpy and Douglas Counties. Downtown Omaha saw no snow, but 10 miles to the south was buried in 5-6″ of snow that fell in just 3-4 hours.
|Image created by the National Weather Service office, Omaha/Valley, Nebraska
There were cold temperatures and snow showers for the next couple days of my stay in the Omaha area, and the snowy weather turned into a freezing rain risk that lasted right up until just a couple hours before my flight out on the 27th. Since I was heading into work each day at about 4:45am, luckily I could slip and slide around without other cars in the way. It was nerve-wracking, but I survived.
I’m so glad the next time I head to Nebraska will be well after the winter-weather is done. I’ll only have to worry about tornadoes next time…
Next up, Part III: a happier post about my fun times on this trip: trying out Ethiopian food, enjoying Pokeno with the girls, and shopping at my favorite store, Trader Joe’s!