There is nothing like the first snowstorm of the season, especially when it’s a big one.
White-out snow is always gorgeous. It makes the rest of the world vanish, and especially in a rural area, all you can hear is the silence.
That is, unless you’re stuck driving in the first snowstorm of the season. Then it’s hell on wheels.
With the Nov. 10 storm dumping anywhere from 6-10 inches of snow throughout the southern Aitkin County area – and a winter storm warning preceding the snow – a lot of people were wise and got off the roads.
Sadly, I was not one of them. With a meeting to cover in Garrison, I decided to head out, knowing the warning was until 4 a.m. the following morning, that I had all-wheel drive thanks to inheriting my mom’s Chevy Equinox and that the meeting would likely be short.
By the time the meeting started at 5:30 p.m., the snow was coming down steadily. Still, an inch or so on the drive home I figured would be the max. No big deal, right?
Wrong. Unbeknownst to me, the heaviest snow moved in right about that time. In my defense, I have never had a storm develop like that in my life. Trust me when I say I’ve learned my lesson.
By the time I got out of the meeting I was covering, there had to be 2-3 inches on the ground. That means well over an inch an hour. Still, I had to get back to Aitkin.
The next hour and a quarter of my life, simply put, sucked. The temps were warm enough for the snow to melt and refreeze on my windshield wipers, and the snow heavy enough that I had to open my driver’s side window to gauge where I was on the road.
I drove slow and carefully, unlike the few people on the road who passed me. They were out of sight before I could even appreciate having a car to follow for a while.
About a half hour in, I got stuck behind a snowplow. Never have I been happier to be stuck going 10-15 miles per hour, and letting someone else decide the speed.
So, lesson learned, and all that. Country road white-out conditions are much worse than city white-out. No more trips to meetings in winter storm warnings.
Meanwhile, as I left for the meeting Tuesday night, my mother texted me from southeastern Wisconsin.
While the snow was just starting here, most of that southeast corner down there ended up under a tornado warning. The cooler air we saw move in Nov. 9 finally moved down there – and rammed into the warm, moist air coming up from the south.
Yup. As we were facing our first major storm of the winter (ahem, fall, cough cough), my mom got straight-line winds approaching 80 miles an hour.
Gotta love it.