Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blizzard in Columbia, Mo., Feb. 1, 2011

Ann "Annie" Rogers Heading Down Providence Road, 2-1-2011
The University of Missouri, Stephens College, Columbia College, and the City of Columbia shut down in the wee hours of February 1 in anticipation of a record-breaking blizzard to hit Boone County. Say what? The University closes the entire campus due to weather only several times a century. It just doesn’t happen.
When I woke up on February 1 it was blustery and very cold but little snow. I wondered to myself if it would be another prediction that failed to pan out; regardless, the thrill of an adult snow day ignited the Peter Pan in me. By 11 a.m. the snow was falling at a rate of about 2 inches an hour and the winds picked up--blustery turned to plain wicked. 
Noon, February 1, 2011.
I realized then it was Now or Never for me to commune with this storm. The window of opportunity dwindled by the minute.
Providence Road was an open playground.
The night before, I carefully waxed my two sets of cross country skis. Ready for action, I bundled, tested each set of skis on my driveway, and set off for Providence Road in downtown Columbia. Mind you, this is one of the busiest streets in town, often with logjam traffic. With the road almost entirely to myself I embraced the snow, the wind, the forces of nature, and my penchant for adventure. Locals will understand my route: I skied from the intersection of Providence and Burnam down to Taco Bell and then turned around to climb back home on skis. 
No heart attack. I’m very fit but this was the most demanding workout in the past decade--maybe ever. Back home, when I took off my Gortex shell everything underneath was soaked. After ringing out my clothes and hair, I joined the rest of Columbia with a cup of hot chocolate and stared out my picture windows in awe.
The Blizzard of 2011 proved to be the real deal, dumping almost 20 inches of snow while bringing wind gusts over 40 mph. The fact that Interstate 70 closed from St. Louis to Kansas City for almost 24 hours meant little when getting out of a driveway or neighborhood was almost impossible for a few days.

Note: February 1, 2012, brings sunshine and a high temperature of almost 60 degrees.

Hartley Rogers, February 3, 2012, Clearing My Driveway
Hartley drove his Kubota to help dig out Columbia. This
was his day on the "playground."

1 comment:

  1. I'm very impressed with your vigor and nerve. It must have been great fun, though. I've always wanted to try cross-country skiing.