Saturday, February 17, 2007
The Long and Winding Week
Obviously, the weather took front stage this week, as we were hit with a few inches of snow that turned to cement after an ice storm.
So, the his and hers snow shovels shown above were almost useless. Even the 8-hp snowthrower Ekim obtained a few years back was extremely hard to use.
What we really needed was the true implements of destruction--picks, axes, trowels--seriously sharp garden tools.
But, I shouldn't complain too loudly, since getting sore is nothing compared to what happened to some people during what the news is calling The St.Valentine's Day Storm.
Here's an excerpted article--
FRYSTOWN - Mattie Williams and Deirdre Wells spent the night in their car on Interstate 78, sharing a cookie.
This was a 50-mile traffic snarl
Williams and Wells left Asheville, N.C., about 5 p.m. Wednesday to get to New York City for Wells' grandmother's funeral. They became stuck on I-78 around 2:30 a.m., and it was 10 hours until they got to an exit ramp and then a convenience store in Frystown, where they bought snacks.
"My sister and her kids are also on the road, stuck," Wells said. "I'm not sure where they are. Our cell phone battery died...It was bumper to bumper. Trucks were blocking the exit. We couldn't get off," Wells said.
There were numerous accidents and exits along the interstate were blocked by jackknifed trucks, making it impossible for vehicles to get off the highway, police said.
With I-78 closed, the backup caused congestion on other roads. Trucks were routed onto I-81 north until that interstate was closed last night, he said. Message boards sought to divert truckers onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which waived tolls on parts of the mainline and Northeast Extension.
The I-78 problems began around 10 a.m. Wednesday, and state police spokesman Edward Maloney said last night that there was still no estimate of the number of accidents on the highway.
PennDOT estimated that at one point hundreds of tractor-trailer rigs were stuck. Some trucks were stranded by road conditions, while others ran out of fuel or their fuel froze.
To help the hundreds of stranded motorists, more than 130 Pennsylvania Army National Guard soldiers from Fort Indiantown Gap used Humvees to deliver meals, water, coffee, blankets, fuel and baby supplies.
"It was real bad," said Tony Pawlowski, a National Guard supply clerk who spent the early morning on the highway. "We transported people who needed to get to safety, mostly to get out of the cold," he said.
At the Gables of Frystown convenience store, across from the All American truck stop, more than 100 trucks were in the lot.
Raymond Conterras of Huntington said he had been there for two days. "This is costing me a fortune, $1,000 a day," he said. "Pennsylvania is lazy. They didn't do what they should be doing. New York and New Jersey are wide open."
Conterras said he spent the past two days watching a wrecker pull stuck trucks off the exit ramp.
Lori Swift, a clerk at Gables of Frystown, said she had been working for 48 hours, with only a brief break to get a shower.
Tom Brightbill and other members of the Frystown fire company delivered hot food and coffee on snowmobiles to stranded motorists.
"A lot of people were upset. They didn't understand what's going on," he said. "It's been two days since I've been home."
PenDot's plan was to leave some snow on the roads to sop up the freezing rain and prevent slick roads, then plow it off. Obviously, this was a huge, tragic failure. As of this morning, parts of Interstates 78, 80, and 81 are still closed.
Oh, look! There's the newspaper. I guess one of us will have to get dressed and go get it. It's cold out there. And yes, that is exposed pavement. We're a little smug about that, I must confess.
Okay, I'll go out and get the paper...
because I don't think the dog's gonna run out for it.
This week felt long because it was interrupted in the middle--it felt like two mini-weeks. Those of you who hate Valentine's Day would bristle at how that little holiday got postponed and extended into Friday. Everything was messed up and off-schedule. I did crawl into work on Wednesday, and was rewarded with a paid afternoon off. We usually get the question, "vacation or dock?" Not this time--they just gave it to us! Of course, only fifteen of us showed up, and it's hard for a warehouse to function that way.