Five Things I Learned from Snowmageddon 2019

I survived Snowmageddon 2019! And I learned a few things along the way…

Our house after the storm. Notice the fallen tree branches in the yard, some of which first fell on our house but then slid off early in the storm.

The area where I live was hit with a massive snowstorm Sunday night/Monday morning. We ended up with nearly two feet of snow at my home—the most I’ve seen in my 35 years of living here. Since the Willamette Valley is not prepared for significant snow fall, a storm like the one we had this week brings havoc. Major highways closed down, thousands (including our household) were without power for days, and many continue to be without power as I write this. Schools, government offices and businesses closed. Many have been stranded at home, unable to leave due to the roads.

It’s been hard. It’s been fun. It’s been eye-opening. Here’s a few things I learned this week:

#1) Even if the weatherman cries wolf for weeks, don’t ignore the forecast. The snow took my family by surprise. It seemed we’d been threatened with snow for weeks, but to all the school children’s disappointment, those forecasts never materialized. Thankfully, I had just gone grocery shopping over the weekend but we were lacking in batteries, candles, and lantern oil. We had a generator, but limited fuel on hand. Monday morning, the only store open in town was BiMart (they have a backup generator.) We were able to go buy some supplies to see us through the power outage. If we didn’t have a truck with four-wheel drive we wouldn’t have made it to the store.

Our drive home from the store on Monday. Not pictured: the multiple fallen trees and vehicles in ditches we passed.

#2) Weather emergencies are like Christmas, but without the pressure. Okay, I know that sounds weird but hear me out. My entire family was stuck in the house together for days—without the use of our three televisions or Wifi. We spent quality time together. We are fortunate enough to have a gas stove, so I was able to make meals, and we sat together and ate them by lamplight. It didn’t matter what I cooked, everyone was happy to simply have food. It didn’t matter if the house was dirty—no one cared, and we couldn’t see much of it by candlelight anyway. I listened to my three daughters talk and laugh while they worked together to boil water and wash dishes. My heart was full.

I started a group text with my sisters and stepmom at the beginning of the storm, and we text-talked more than we had in months, keeping tabs on each other and how the storm was affecting our different areas (one sister and my step-mom and dad live south of us and were hit with the snow, my other sister lives in Nevada and had shingles flying off her roof during a major wind storm.) We shared pictures. We joked. We sympathized. It was like Christmas but without the pressure of gift exchanging.

#3) Social media can be helpful. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Most of my dislike of the social platform is that breeds drama and keeps people from having real relationships. During this storm, however, I saw how valuable Facebook could be. Through our local community Facebook page, people shared information about road conditions and what was opened or closed. People who were stranded and in dire need received help by reaching out (or someone else reached out on their behalf) and the community came together and made a difference. It was a beautiful thing to witness. Which brings me to two things I already knew but that this storm served to remind me: I have great neighbors and live in a close-knit community. These are things that should never be taken for granted.

#4) People are good. Really, most people have good hearts, and a crisis can sometimes be the thing that brings it to light. In addition to the community support I mentioned above, in our construction business we saw lots of grace. Customers were understanding of their projects being delayed. General contractors were gracious about us missing our billing deadline. Our employees were gracious about the fact that we couldn’t get payroll done in time. Our accountant was gracious and gave us extra time to turn in our tax stuff, even though that puts her under a tighter deadline. Seriously, not one grumble among them all. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but to this perfectionist who has nightmares about missed deadlines, it was amazing.

#5) On a personal note, I learned that my dog has a guardian angel and that I really can run if necessary. We have miniature schnauzer, Cyrus, who is a notorious escape artist. It’s like he was taught by Houdini himself—if there’s a way out of our yard, he will find it. His picture has been posted on Facebook so many times under “found dog” that I really should make him his own page. I’ve always been amazed that during his escapades he doesn’t get hit by a car.

The arbor over our fish pond collapsed, creating a debris and flush-filled mess.

During the Snowmageddon, my husband, youngest daughter and I were in the backyard, along with our two dogs. I was raking snow off the chicken coop so it wouldn’t collapse and my daughter was on her swing. My husband, who was shoveling snow off of our flat roofed garage, happened to glance toward our slush-filled pond. He saw that Cyrus had fallen in and was quickly sinking. He alerted me and I ran (or something like it) in nearly two feet of snow to Cyrus’ rescue. I grabbed his paws and pulled him out. If it had been even one minute later, he’d have drowned. My husband isn’t sure what caused him to look over at the pond, but I know Who did. Cyrus is one blessed doggy.

And we are one blessed family.

What about you? Do you have a Snowmageddon story?


Like these daffodils, hope persists. . . even when we are hit by destructive storms.

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