Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

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Shawn McNew
Posts: 7433
Joined: March 26th, 2011, 8:30 pm
Location: Lake Allatoona

Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by Shawn McNew » December 12th, 2017, 1:08 am

This was UNBELIEVABLE!!!! The wx folks called for 1-2 inches with no accumulation. Well people, we got at least a FOOT of snow in 24 hours. So our trees have basically grown unchecked since the last big snowstorm...1993. A very memorable event in itself, I was living in Snellville, GA and made my first boat purchase shortly after that blizzard that dumped a whopping 5 inches on Gwinnett Co. I believe up in the area where I live now in Acworth, they received on the order of a foot, but it was a much drier snow. This was a wet, sticky, cling to everything, heavy snow.

We woke up Friday morning to a light dusting, school hadn't been called off, but we decided to keep the kids home anyway because our county is literally retarded when it comes to school closings. It was neato and then the snowfall tapered off. I headed into the shop where my manager, Bruce, was already hard at work (not). We were watching the weather and radars, etc and nobody was concerned about any kind of significant snow. It started sticking to the roads as the snowfall got heavier and heavier around 10 am. Schools scrambled to let kids out early, I was glad about our earlier decision on that. I began ogling over my Bronco and how the beauty of it's utter blackenness contrasted with the pure white of the dusting of snow we were enjoying. I made a few glamor shots of it.

We had some customers roll through and get bait and a few come in and buy Christmas presents. It was acting like a regular Georgia who-gives-a-shit about a little snow type of day. The stuff just kept coming down! Around 4 o'clock Bruce said he didn't think anybody was coming and we should go early. He's been pulling that shit on me here lately and I purposefully and stubbornly said, no we stay to close. Another hour of the snow and I said, let's go home Bruce. :geyes: :cheese:

Another photo of the Bronco shows the difference a few hours made. Keep in mind the first couple of inches that fell completely melted due to it being 34 degrees. In fact, it stayed above freezing until about midnight or 1 am so I'm sure more snow melted and an actual total couldn't be measured by a ruler after the fact. The drive home was very entertaining and everything was pretty much coated in that heavy, white manner. I shot some video which I'm embarrassed to post because I was acting goofy, but it was fun to drive in the winter wonderland. I got home without a problem in my mud-romping beast.

Friday night was when some worry set in. Reports of power outages started coming in on WSB. Our power flickered. It cut off one time for a couple minutes and came back on. My phone rang with the security people for the shop. They told me the power was out. This was about 7 pm. I waited about an hour (how long I thought my fresh load of 1200 gizzard shad could hold their breath in cold water) and called security back to find out the situation. They said the power was still out.

9pm - Off to the shop I go. Large branches were dotting the edges of the back roads. A few limbs were in the road. Some cars were out and about. One tree had everybody filtering to one side of the road at one point. Heavy overhanging trees along the way threatened to drop something damaging-or lethal- on me and my almost classic vehicle. On my 12 minute ride to the Soup shop, I kept seeing green flashes of light as transformers blew across the city. This was a FULL BLOWN DISASTER! Coming down main street, I see the lights on at the shop. I approached the tanks to find the tank with the heavy load of bait not running. I checked the panel and lo and behold that circuit was tripped. Too much torque on the 20a breaker with both heaters going. I reset it and everybody was happy. Snap a quick pic of the Bronco under the heavily weighted water oak and head home.

The drive was the same, just in reverse, low hanging threatening trees, one lane blockade, some more limbs, home safe. The fireplace was going, we were watching some crap on TV. Crack BOOM. CRACK BOOM! Limbs breaking out of a big pine in the neighbor's yard. My wife went upstairs to go to bed and I stayed up fiddling with the internet. CRAAAAAAAAACKKKK BOOOOOOOOOOM!!! I yell upstairs, "YOU BETTER COME DOWN HERE IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!!" So we resign to sleep on the couches on the ground floor due to safety concerns. I'm keeping the fire stoked, she's snoring on the couch.

0230 am Saturday - power goes out and stays out. It is very dark. I went through all the wood we had inside, so I head around back via the front door because our back deck has treacherous steps covered in snow to get more wood. I'm amazed at how light it is outside at 5 am despite everywhere being out of power. Keep the fire hot. 0554 am - phone rings - ACS security, power is down at the shop. I decide to wait until it's good and light before I try to make it in. Get a couple hours of crappy sleep on the couch.

Sun up on Saturday. Look outside. HOLY SHIT AT THE SNOW...AND IT'S STILL COMING DOWN HARD. Limbs are still cracking and giving under the strain of hundreds of pounds of heavy wet sloppy snow. My poor, big, beautiful, full willow oak in my front yard is cracked and shredded from the weight. It's so burdened, part of it is TOUCHING the road. Sad. Wife cooks some breakfast (fortunately our house has gas stove, gas furnace, gas hot water) and I eat and then throw on my warm stuff.

Grab my chainsaw, jug of gas, generator for shad tanks, fire up the Bronco and head out. Everything is snow at this point and nobody has gone anywhere, so I'm the first vehicle to move. I get to the bottom of the hill (about 200 ft from my driveway) and a fairly large bradford pear has fallen completely across the road and on top of a classic Buick Lesabre which I think received little to no damage due to its awesomeness. I fire up the Husky Rancher 455 with 20" bar and commence to hacking my way through this sob of a tree. I didn't have gloves and this dang snow covered tree was cold. I got about halfway through the task before a neighbor finally showed up to help clear the wood. The saw ran out of gas, so I hopped in the Bronco and backed up to the house. When I get in the driveway, there's a fairly substantial pine limb on the ground exactly where the driver side of where I had been parked 20 mins before. WHEW! Grab the gas, finish the tree, head on down the death road, fortunately no events and some clearing had been done by locals.

Arrived on scene at around 0800. Shad holding breath for 2 hours. There were some floaters and lots on the surface gasping. Snap into action, fire up the Yamaha iu1000 and plug stuff in. Found out real fast it wasn't about to run the 1000w heater that was in the tank, so I let it run the aerator pumps on 3 tanks and the filter on the small gizzard tank since it was nasty. I figured on coming back and topping it off with gas later in the day. Snap another pic of the Bronco under the now EXTREMELY burdened water oak hanging low. I inspected the power outage issue lightly and noticed the power wire hanging down as well as a good sized branch on the back of the boat/old flatbed trailer/back fence.

On the way back home, I stopped by the only place open, Racetrack, and got myself a couple red bulls and 3 large coffees. 1 for the wife and 2 for the neighbors. Went inside to keep the fire going and warm up some. The neighbor from across the street was outside, so I went out to talk to him. It had finally quit snowing and some blue was beginning to peek through the clouds. Down the hill, the next door neighbor's wife was beginning to remove the rather large pile of brush from the tree I had cut up to clear the road. We went down to help. We were dragging the brush into the adjacent wooded lot and chucking it. The next door neighbor came out with his chainsaw and we worked on the rest of the tree making a decent little pile of pear tree firewood. During the tree cutting, the new neighbors across and down two doors decided it would be a good day to move in and bring their Uhaul which they promptly wedged and got stuck on the snow and ice. They had another truck and got themselves pulled out. It was a fiasco.

Me and my across the street neighbor headed back up the hill and decided to take out the part of my poor willow oak that was hanging out in the street. We beat the snow out of it with a big limb and then chainsawed it to a satisfactory state of pruning. I noticed the time and it was now 12:45. I had promised the Soup faithful that we would open at Noon but realized I hadn't heard from either of my employees. My young kid had tried to call just after noon, but I was running a saw!

Bruce could not be reached on his cell, but I noticed he was posting on FB, so I messengered him and told him to get his ass down to the shop. The roads had been plowed and salted at this point and only the neighborhoods were treacherous and it was warming up nicely to 40. There was a fiasco with him and he didn't show up to work until 1:30. My younger guy who works there was there at noon, but since nobody else was there, he left and went home. UGH!!! So the guys are at the shop and I'm at home and Bruce calls me to give a damage report. A couple dozen small gizzards and he also said there was a pretty big tree down behind the neighboring business and we had a transformer laying ON THE GROUND! YIKES! I tell him to call it in. He calls me back at 3:30 asking if they should shut down. I said send the kid home but you stay until 6 dammit. And he did. And we didn't sell crap, but we were there.

Saturday afternoon/night was work time. After we got back from shopping at Cabela's, Wal Mart, and Target, of course! Didn't buy anything at Cabela's. I got a new square point shovel and a fiskars full size splitter/axe and some lighter fluid while my wife got some crap. She got some more crap at Target. Then we tried to find a place to eat early dinner. Everywhere was either packed, or out of power. We went by the butcher's and they were open. Got two big, thick NY strips and a pre-made tin of spinach artichoke dip which was outstanding.

My tasks upon arrival were to shovel the sidewalk and driveway which was a MONUMENTAL task with wet, sludgy snow. Fix the pull rope on the Generac (which randomly just fell off for absolutely NO reason, presumably internal abrasion issue) and it was a MAJOR BITCH in the COLD and getting DARK while I was doing it, had to finish up by flashlight. I got it fired up and put it on fridge, lamp, and Christmas light duty. It was handling that load like a champ. The neighbor had texted me while he was out and asked if the power was back on. I replied "it is at my house." Just about that time he was rolling by and stopped and tested back, ARE YOU SERIOUS? And I said, yeah, with this generator. It freaked a bunch of neighbors out that my Christmas lights were on when everything around was PITCH black :lol:

We had the fire rolling but the temps in the house continued to drop all night. Then the generator shits out. I go out and crank it back up, it runs 45 mins and shits out again. I am dejected. It was really nice having that one lamp turned on, really! My dad called to check on us and I told him about the issue. He said it might be low oil and then explained how I could run the gas furnace if I could get the generator back going. I was like, we'll be okay one more night by the fire, no problem. So I went out and had no motor oil of any kind on hand. I found a water bottle in the trash and tipped the push mower over and borrowed some out of it. Pour that in the generator, crank it back up, ALL GOOD!

We are burning through some firewood and without knowing how long the power is going to be out, I'm starting to worry about our supply. I have to wake up every hour to throw 4 or 5 more sticks on just to maintain enough warmth for us to survive. By about 2:30, I'm ready to try hooking the generator to the furnace. I traced the power feed to the furnace back, cut it, hack off the female end of an extension cord, wire nut the two together, fire up the generator and LO AND BEHOLD!! We have a furnace! It had gotten down to 48 in the house and I achieved a significant victory. We went upstairs and slid into bed and let the fire fizzle.

SUNDAY morning. We are two filthy critters. I said I can probably run the water heater (we have a tankless deal that needs minimal electricity to run) so I went down and pulled a similar trick, except I spliced a short male end onto the romex and plugged it into the receptacle where the furnace draws from. Now we have HEAT AND HOT WATER! Talk about living in paradise.. I topped the generator off with gas and headed out to the shop. Bruce had showed up on time, gassed back up the Yamaha and was waiting on me to get there at 1000 to take over. I had to grab breakfast and some rockstars before I got there. He showed me the transformer and big tree down and it was way worse than I expected. I called the power company and alerted them it was affecting multiple businesses and we had transformers on the GROUND!

They sent somebody out to look at it, and then someone else, and they said they'd have a crew on it that afternoon. I went ahead and closed up the shop, topped off the yamaha and headed home. The across the street neighbor had gone out and bought a generator from Cabela's (same kind as mine) and got his 37 foot camper set up across the street, complete with NFL football going! So we headed over there to hang out and drink a few and shoot the shit. It got dark out and we could see my Christmas lights going across the street. Met another neighbor from up the road and he was commenting on seeing the lights and being tripped out. Mission accomplished. :) Around 6 pm another neighbor drove by and said the power trucks were on scene and at around 7pm the power was restored! Basically 40 hours without power. Pretty crazy stuff. But it's not over yet.

Fast forward to MONDAY - I got down to the store about 8am and the power crew was on scene, just starting to git r done. These guys were from up the road about an hour, Dalton Utilities. I topped the generator off, changed the oil in it, and the gizzards were looking fine. The threads had all pretty much succumbed to cold exposure. The kid showed up at noon and I sent him back out for Wendy's. Then he bagged up all the dead threads. At about 1, they threw the switches and power was restored at the shop! 56 hours without power and only lost the threadfin! We hacked the big limb off the boat, etc.. Cleaned up some, I got back on the web, caught up on a bunch of stuff and we actually had a few customers come by.

It was a hellacious weekend and one I won't soon forget. Enjoy the pics fellas:

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Mike Werner
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Joined: March 30th, 2011, 10:41 am
Location: Conyers, GA

Re: Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by Mike Werner » December 12th, 2017, 11:26 am

Great write up Shawn. We were out too. Marie and I huddled around a little propane camping heater. Propane camp stove too, so she kept us fed. Air activated hand warmers for foot warmers in the bed.

I was thinking about you. Great job keeping the gizzards alive. I still had some in the tank, and used that .5 watt areator when the battery started getting low. Those would be a great Christmas gift for any non industrial bait keeper.

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will hackney
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Joined: June 23rd, 2012, 10:52 pm
Location: Hickory, NC

Re: Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by will hackney » December 12th, 2017, 4:40 pm

Wow, what a story. I had no idea it was that bad your way. Up in Western NC we were lucky, no major issues. Great read........and that Bronco is bad ass!

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Ryan Kummer
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Joined: November 14th, 2014, 11:41 pm
Location: Nashville/Norris Lake

Re: Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by Ryan Kummer » December 12th, 2017, 4:45 pm

Shawn - thanks for sharing the story. Sounds like a crazy couple days! Glad everyone is okay and sounds like no major structures were damaged.

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Shawn McNew
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Joined: March 26th, 2011, 8:30 pm
Location: Lake Allatoona

Re: Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by Shawn McNew » December 12th, 2017, 6:22 pm

Ryan Kummer wrote:
December 12th, 2017, 4:45 pm
Shawn - thanks for sharing the story. Sounds like a crazy couple days! Glad everyone is okay and sounds like no major structures were damaged.
Lots of other people with major damage. We got lucky...just a minor scratch.
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Mike Ward
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Location: Mebane, NC / Smith Mountain Lake, VA
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Re: Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by Mike Ward » December 13th, 2017, 12:03 am

Glad you guys survived it without it being worse - and VERY glad it didn't turn into that up at SML.... I was watching things close and it sounded like a non-issue - then each hour it got more questionable - was afraid I was going to wake up Saturday AM and realize I'd made the wrong call to go forward.... but, the roads (and ramps) stayed good and everyone was safe.....
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Patrick Spinks
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Joined: October 31st, 2014, 11:27 am
Location: LaGrange, GA

Re: Snowmageddon 2017 (VERY long post)

Post by Patrick Spinks » December 13th, 2017, 7:33 am

Good read. It’s amazing the difference in accumulation starting just north of LaGrange. We barely got anything and what we did get was gone by lunchtime Saturday.

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