What could ever be written that would capture the memories of the blizzard storm of Feb 13th 2008?
The day started out just as any other cold winter February day. It was sunny and cold. I headed to town to get some last minute stuff for my Cub Den meeting that was at 7:00pm. I got home at 1:55pm and gave Hubby the car. I was rushed in my town experience, but only due to time and getting the car back for Hubby. When I returned home the winds were just picking up and it was getting quite brisk. I was not prepared for what was coming.
Hubby took the car and picked up Pilot Boy from school at 2:10 and they headed to Provo to get the final items Pilot Boy needed for his Scout Klondike Campout this weekend. Just after Hubby drove off, I called him to ask if it was snowing or raining. I could not see any precip, but I could hear something pinging on the house windows. Hubby said that it must just be the wind. He said the wind was picking up but it was not raining or snowing.
About 5 minutes later, I looked out again and it was snowing sideways, because the winds were so strong. At 2:45pm Angel showed up at the patio doors. I was expecting her to stay after school for choir, but there she was covered in snow, white and very cold. I let her in with a windy blast of cold air and blowing snow. We cleaned up the wet bits and let the furnace rewarm the air at will.
I called Hubby and he said all was very mild in town and everything was just fine. Angel and I were experiencing the lights flickering off and on. This went on for about 30 minutes. Angel was a bit nervous, but I took it in stride. I made a call and conferred with another adult and decided to call off Cub Scouts. This was about 3:30pm, it was blowing so hard, white out conditions and cold.
I started to call my boys, first using my house phone. I got 3 called, it took me about 15 minutes to call three. The power would flicker and my phone would get cut off and then reset. I called the last one twice and then had a light-bulb moment- use your cell phone. (Some days I am quite slow!) So the next two calls came from my cell phone, but that was really not any faster. The cell circuits were busy and getting a line was very difficult.
I only got in touch with 5 families out of my 11, I was unable to reach the last 6 because the power went off and it did not come back on until 7:30ish. My boys were still in town at 4:30ish, they were done and decided to take the back roads home. There was a large pile up on SR73 headed to Eagle Mountain and beyond and that road was closed. It took them about 45 minutes to get near to my parents home, that usually takes about 15 minutes at most. Then when they tried to turn onto SR68, the Police turned them back because they had a major slideout, pileup about a block north of the corner. So around they turned.
I tried to get them to go to my parents, but Hubby wanted to be at home with us 'help-less' girls! So they turned around and preceded to go the other way. They were less than two miles from home and now the route they had to take was about 10 miles or so. Needless to say, it took them over 2 hours to get home after they turned around. They should have gone to my mom's or just sat and waited until the road opened up from that wreck.
My brother who drives from Utah County over the Point of the Mountain to Riverton, got home around 9:30pm last night. He spent about 5 hours in the car, his cell phone died about 8:00pm and my sister-in-law was very, very glad when he pulled into their driveway. My sister went to work before the storm hit, and said she did not know when she would try to go home.
My brother who lives a couple of miles from me, did not get home until after 12:30am this morning. He was at the daycare and the last parent picked up their child at 11:45pm, 5 hours and 15 minutes late!!! All the thousand of cars that were headed to Eagle Mountain and beyond, were being funneled down from all the roads north, south and east to the only west bound road open- the Lehi-Fairfield Road. That road is just west of my subdivision and I watched as the police tried to keep control on the thousand of cars and tired drivers and send them safely on the narrow, slippery farm road.
The cars were herded west on 400 North and South on 800 West and then at the Vet's house, the Police would merge the two lines of lights together and hope the cars would make it over the slippery pass. At that point, many cars still had at least 10 miles to go and some even further if they needed to get beyond Eagle Mountain Town Center. The roads were all snow packed and littered with drifting snow mounds.
It was a storm that none of us had seen the likes of in the last 20 years. And the storms we had when I was younger, might have been the same intensity, this storm was by far much worse because of the growth of the west side of Utah Lake. The traffic was impossible to manage. The slideoffs were many, over 49. The property damage to vehicles was listed at 59, but I know of two that were not reported- minor slides and minor damage, but still damage. I am sure that there are many other non-reported slides and damage done. The police were very busy trying to get to the major pile ups.
There were also many cars that ran out of gas as the occupants waited for a chance to drive home. It was really bad for many of the people here.
There were children stuck on school buses for hours and some kids even got to sleep at their schools. Smith's and other places became shelters for those who could not get through. I am just grateful that my Boys made it back after only spending 3 hours in the crawling mess of cars.
Hubby left for work at 8:45pm and he said that the traffic going west was still horrendous. He was headed east and only came up on one problem, a fender bender pileup that delayed him for about 20 minutes. Then the roads became less traveled in his direction, they were slushy and wet, but not bad at all.
The hospital was very quiet. Again everyone stayed at home, in motels or at work. There were not many bad injuries from the pilesups. They had only two people come to their ER from traffic accidents, and they were very minor. Our friends and neighbors have been blessed, minor injuries at worst, it could have been so much worse. I feel we were very blessed during this terrible storm.
Today is very sunny, it is 48 degrees and very little wind. One would never believe that we were in white out conditions for several hours just 12 hours ago. What wild weather!!