email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Snow Aftermath

I have lived in various parts of Maryland since 1963.  In the NE part til 1968, at Univ of MD  til 1973, and around Washington DC since then.

The worst single snowstorm I experienced in Maryland was in 1966 where is snowed for 4 days.  The accumulation was only 20", but the winds whipped up snowdrifts covering the ground floor windows.  And Mom was about to have a baby!  The neighborhood roads were not plowed.  Dad and I shoveled 20" of snow a car width wide for 150' to the main road behind the house.

And off Dad and Mom went by car seeking the local hospital (which had a maternity wing of course).  At 15 (I keep thinking 16 because it was 1966, but I wasn't really 16 until May), I was left behind to take care of my 2 younger siblings.  For 2 days.  It was quite an adventure...  It's a good thing I could cook.  And apparently, I would have made a good parent (if I do say so myself); peace and calm abounded!

7 Mothers delivered babies in Harford County that day.  The other 6 Mothers were brought to the county hospital by helicoptor.  Dad drove...  Determination and self-reliance (to a point) is a family habit.  And school was closed for a WEEK!

So that was a really serious snowstorm.  And there have been some bad storms since then, but mostly several close-together storms with recovery time between.

But this one was BAD.  I think it is now considered 2nd or 3rd worst in the Washington DC area (that 1966 one mentioned above slid north of DC so they don't count it here).

So here are some more pictures of THIS one...

The wind collected a lot of snow near the house on the deck.  It was 3' deep in the drift Saturday afternoon.
 And it got worse as the day went along.

The sunflower seed birdfeeder was standing tall.  I had cardinals, sparrows, juncos, titmice,  nuthatches, chicadees, purple finches, and goldfinches there at various times.  I could have done without the sparrows (they get i seeds and kick backwards, shoveling seeds out of the tray.  It is their successful "scratching the ground" habit, so I can't exactly blame them.  But they sure are unwelcome at a seed tray.
But then the outside unit of the heat pump failed overnight.  Probably because the sides got covered by snow preventing air from getting in.  I assume it shut itself down because of the lack of air flow.  I'm on "Heat2" right now.   That's less efficient than the usual heat pump process, but I don't know exactly what it is doing.  All I can tell (from the manual) is that it is not "emergency" heating (which would be like turning on an electric oven with the door open).  It will probably be more expensive, but not like I have much choice.  The repair company is busy with true failures and at least mine is keeping the house at normal temperatures (operating constantly).  There ARE priorities of repairs.
So the first thing I did Saturday morning was to dress up warm* and shovel the snow from around the sides of the heat pump.  That didn't get it started again.  When I looked inside, it was all full of snow.  I know it is SUPPOSED to "de-ice" itself when that happens.  So I tried some simple repairs.  I loosened the grid on the top to scoop out the accumulated snow inside.  NO GO!   I couldn't remove the grid because there is a heavy duty electrical cable stuck to it.

But I WAS able to lift up the opposite side and scoop most of the inside snow out.  That didn't get it going either.  So I poured bucket after bucket of VERY HOT water into it to melt the remaining snow. and ice around the working parts.  Well, those parts are exposed to rain all the time (water drains out the bottom), what harm can water do?  But that didn't get it started either.   I removed and replaced the outside unit circuit breaker.  No success there either.  I suppose some part has failed at the worst possible time (like there is ever a BEST possible time?) and I will have to call for service.

But I am still getting heat from the inside part of the equipment, so it is not an emergency.  I keep hoping to hear the outside unit suddenly come on though...

The snowdrift on the deck is probably about its highest. 
And the snow on the roof is slowly sliding off.  It should start to fall on the deck soon.  I have a specialty tool for pulling snow off the roof, but I have to get out on the deck to use it and that snow drift is too deep for me to even push through wearing my trout-fishing hip-high waders.
So I am just going to wait things out.  Which could get awkward.  The Weather Channel says it will get down to 8F tonight!  There isn't going to be any melting for a few days at least...

Did get to use the snowblower though.  More on that next post!

* Warm meant thermal underwear under heavy jeans, extra thick socks in the 16" rubber boots, thick flannel shirt, ski mask, insulated rubber gloves, AND a hat with ear flaps!  And of course a long insulated jacket you could explore the Arctic in...  I don't play around with cold windy weather.



Wow that is a lot ... I mean a lot of snow.
Do you worry about the accumulation on top of the roof?
Glad to hear you have heat.]

Just Ducky said...

Mum says thanks for the pictures. That is way more snow than she has ever seen in one snowfall. EVER! She lives up here in the frozen north.

Hope your heaty thing keeps working OK until the main part can get fix.

Megan said...

Rats rats rats about the heater. But, as you say, at least you've still got heat. AND you got to use the snow blower - yaaaaaay!

Sydney, Australia

Ramblingon said...

Mark, let us know how that's going now please?