It didn’t take long for me to begin to hate New England weather. In late October, a random afternoon thunderstorm brought with it winds strong enough to wreak havoc on the Connecticut infrastructure. Trees here are flimsy, winds are gusty, and most power lines are above ground. Put those three facts together, and you have this:
The result? A day and a half without power. Thankfully it was only October, so our house didn’t get too cold.
Fast forward about a month, and it happened again. Except this time, the damage was more widespread and we were without power for four and a half days. In that time, my roommates and I discovered that houses are relatively useless when there’s no power. No lights, no heat, no way to store or cook food, and – in our case – no water, because the water pump was electric. So that was fun.
We were just about to head to my roommate’s parents’ house when the power came back on, so instead we stuck around to clean nasty old food out of our fridge and freezer. Throwing away so much food is always upsetting, but for a grad student living on almost no income, it was extra frustrating.
Fast forward another few months, and winter arrived. Now, I’m no stranger to winter. Winter in Montana is basically any time between September and May. But I wasn’t prepared for a New England winter storm. Winter storm Nemo would be a learning experience for me.
School was canceled for the following day as the snow started to fall that evening. Accumulation was minimal at first, and by the time we went to bed there was no more than 3 inches (8 cm) on the ground. We awoke the following morning to quite a different scenario. There was snow almost up to the level of our windows. We had to dig our way out the door. And the only indication as to the existence of my car was the antenna poking out of a giant mound of snow. It took an hour to dig it out.
But it was okay, because this was my first ever snow day!
If Montana cancelled school every time it snowed, we’d never go to class. Even when it’s -20°F (-30°C) and the buses don’t run, school is still in session. So this was an exciting first for me! My roommate and I spent the day playing in the snow, doing cartwheels and flips into the mounds of white fluffy stuff. It was great!
A month later, the same thing happened again. Lots of snow. School was cancelled. We spent over an hour digging our way out and freeing our cars. The university struggled to clear away all the snow; they had nowhere to put it. But it was still kind of exciting, because this was only my second snow day ever.
If the following winter was bad, the one after that was even worse. We had so much snow in our driveway that we had to shovel snow off the top of the piles just so we could put more on. We could barely get cars out of the garage. Our light post was nearly buried. And a significant portion of the parking spaces on campus were buried beneath 10-foot (3 m) piles of snow. It was ridiculous.
But I’ll be living in Connecticut for at least one more winter, so I suppose I should enjoy the giant storms and snow days while I can. If nothing else, at least I can now say that I’ve survived winter in New England. And that’s it’s far worse than any Montana winter I’ve ever lived through.