Happy Snowversary!

October 25, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Where were you when Lincoln turned white nine years ago?

I spent the evening with The Missus (then she was The Girlfriend) and her family at their house on Gertie Street. We probably played Scrabble or watched a movie. Whatever we did, we weren’t paying attention to the weather outside, despite the house’s large windows in the living room. When I went to leave late in the evening, I said my goodbyes, opened the front door, and…stopped. I turned and rather uneloquently said, “Uhh, there’s a tree on your front porch.” And there was, too. A small tree in their front yard had bent over and plopped itself and its heavy white cargo right in front of the door. That should have been my first clue that something unusual was going on. But I was a stupid college student, so I simply climbed over the tree and waded to my car.

Even at that point I didn’t realize how much snow had fallen. Once I had pulled onto Gertie, however, reality quickly set in. Mere blocks from the house the power was out. It was snowing so hard that I actually had to turn off my headlights and turn on my parking lights in order to see. (The headlights just reflected every which way off the snow, showing me nothing more than a wall of white in front of the car.) As I pulled onto 40th Street an important realization hit me: if I stopped the car, there’s no way it was going to start moving again in all that snow.

Fortunately there were very few vehicles on the road, so I didn’t ever have to stop. The fallen (and falling) trees and power lines were a little unnerving. I couldn’t tell exactly where the road lay, so I just stayed between the houses and aimed for the traffic signals (most of which weren’t working). Once I made it to Capital Parkway I was joined by two other vehicles and we formed a caravan toward Downtown. At 27th Street our caravan picked up a police car, the driver of which didn’t seem to have any idea what to do with the mess unfolding before him. Eventually I made it to the UNL campus, where I ran into a new problem. Cars were stuck near the entrance to my parking lot. Again, I could have done the smart thing and just abandoned my car on the side of the street (several others already had). But no, I hit the gas, somehow navigated between all the cars, and stopped near to a light pole.

The dorms were abuzz with activity, as one might expect. Already students could smell a class cancellation. (And they were right; classes were eventually cancelled the following Monday and Tuesday.) Many of them spent the next few days getting wasted. I spent the next few days getting a workout by helping people dig their cars out of the mountains left behind by the snow plows.

And The Missus? She had the unfortunate pleasure of spending the next week cooped up in her powerless house with her parents, and a fallen powerline set their fence on fire. I’m sure a few of you can empathize.

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The Comments

foxspit October 25, 2006 at 1:19pm

We lived out of state at the time but were traveling in the post mortem of the blizzard.  We were coming north to Nebraska and drove around the barricades that closed the highway in Kansas.  The pavement was dry there, how bad could it be?

We found out in about 30 miles:  One lane with walls of snow taller than our car.  What were we thinking?  We made it though.

Dave K October 25, 2006 at 2:14pm

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything more bizarre or eerie than when my dad and I were walking through the neighborhood the morning after the storm.  Normally, after a snowfall, you would hear the sounds of snowblowers or people shoveling, but all we heard was the almost constant snapping of tree branches and the echoes the snapping had among the snow drifts.  I remember thinking that it meant maybe one or two days off from school, but school was eventually canceled for the whole week.  I didn’t go anywhere until Wednesday or so, and when I did, I realized that our neighborhood had relatively no damage.  I guess there are benefits to living in a fairly new neighborhood with few large trees.

Neal October 25, 2006 at 2:24pm

I was living in England at that time and I’d occasionally load up the DN website to check on stuff back home.

I remember bringing it up one day and there was this huge photo looking down Centennial Mall at the Capitol with toppled and crushed trees at each side. The sky was an eerie yellow color and it looked like a bomb had hit Lincoln. I used to have a copy of that photo saved somewhere but I can’t find it now.

beerorkid October 25, 2006 at 3:18pm

loved having my raised 4X4 nissan back then.

We lost 1/2 of our power, the heat worked and extention cords got us by.

I was helping deliver pizza’s cuz of my ability to plow through it, made awesome tips, we closed early though.

For some reason I drove my now wife to work at papa johns pizza (which I was GM of) and she had the worst day of her life.  I did not go in and help her.  She still has not forgiven me for it. But the owners gave her a cheezy watch.

D.M.B. October 25, 2006 at 7:30pm

I was a senior in HS at the time and I remember walking out the day after and thinking that a big white bomb had hit my neighborhood.  There were trees every where.  I don’t remember any structural damage in the neighborhood but I seem to vaguely remember a car getting crushed.

What I also remember about that storm is how fast it was gone.  Didn’t it all melt 3 or 4 days later?  I also remember stacking up the branches upon branches and then I left for a couple hours.  When I came back they were all gone.  The National guard just went up the street and took them all.

Karin October 26, 2006 at 12:57am

California in 70 degree weather, most likely.

I am kinda sorry I missed it, just because I don’t have a story to add. I moved here the next February. I like hearing all the stories, though -  It’s a great “get to know you’ trick at parties where you don’t know anyone. Just ask people to tell their October snowstorm stories, sit back, and listen.

Neal October 26, 2006 at 1:44pm

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