Remembering the "Storm of the Century"
It's one of those things where you'll ALWAYS remember where you were when it happened...
I was working 6 days a week for WATH Radio in Athens, had had heard the blizzard warnings start flying Thursday and Friday of that week back in 1993 that a MAJOR SNOWSTORM was on the way. I knew what they meant, as we had unnaturally warm short sleeve spring like weather by Friday. I had been out distributing fliers for a meeting to be held that weekend in Athens with guest speakers coming in from Columbus.
By Saturday morning, the temperature had dropped and the snow was beginning.
I drove 2.5 miles downhill to get to the small radio station and I don't recall any real difficulties that Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. except that I knew it was coming. I was hopeful, but unsure if I would finish my shift by noon before it turned bad.
I worked my morning combination DJ/News shift, and watched the conditions deteriorate from the "safety" of the AM control booth. I had a window facing south looking over a field and a construction materials business along Columbus Road.
The snow intensified, but I suspected I could get home before it worsened. But about 11 a.m., it went from a heavy snowstorm to a blizzard, with horizontal snowfall and worsening winds. We could barely keep the front door closed for the howling wind and the temperature in the one story building starting to drop dramatically.
I was supposed to get off at noontime, with a replacement coming in a few minutes before shift change. I saw that melting away with the storm worsening...
My replacement was struggling to get in, but called that they were having trouble getting their car dug out. They asked if I could stay on. I agreed that I'd stay until they could get there, and they succeeded about 12:30 p.m.
I went out and shoveled my car out, cleaning a two foot channel all the way around it with the station snow shovel.
I ran back inside to phone and tell my wife I was coming home... and went back out to the car. In the time of a phone call, the snow trench had drifted back shut again, so I dug for another 15 minutes with the station's snow shovel, jumped into the car and took off.
I think I got home about 1 p.m., and found my pregnant wife had been shoveling a "bare spot" along the side of the street in front of our small house for the last half hour, anticipating my arrival. The neighboring grandma took pity on her and came out to help. Between the two of them, they were able to clear a spot for me to drive into and ditch the car.
The space was just large enough for my car and was constantly drifting shut in the high winds. My wife knew this was better than trying to drive down the steep slope of the side street to turn into our driveway (where I normally would park). That street was not cleared for more than a week after the storm, so she made the right choice. I recall driving the car nose in on the wrong side of the street and immediately abandoning it there, becoming more snow covered by the minute. Within a half hour, you couldn't tell which direction the car was facing... it was covered!
I'm pretty sure we weathered the storm in our little two story house, snug and warm like two newlyweds... but I don't have any more distinct memories of that day. I do remember coming out on Sunday and digging the front sidewalk out. But not much was moving in our little town that weekend.
I went back to work Monday, as the dig out had begun. And the thaw wasn't very far behind!