Where Were You In ’82?

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In 1982, some 29 years ago last week, Anne and I were still relative newcomers to Saint Louis. Our Michigan grown winter survival skills hadn’t atrophied much, so we were in better shape then most when the ’82 blizzard arrived. The storm caught the city by surprise and by the time it was done, left the city paralyzed. The storm hit on a Sunday afternoon. We were walking out of a matinée at the Esquire, when it first struck and it struck like a hammer’s blow, with thunder snow. We were scheduled to go over to a friend’s house for dinner, but by the time we had walked home, the rapid snowfall convinced us to beg off. This was a good decision, because that blizzard dumped 13”-19”.

We went cross-country skiing the next day. The snow was still coming down, but that didn’t detour us in the least. We skied into the Park and eventually made our way to the entrance to the zoo. The main gate was closed, but there was a side one open. I asked a man there, if the zoo was open? He guessed that it was, which was all the invitation that we needed. All the houses were closed and the only animals that we saw were the sea lions, which were having a great time. We stopped in at the old food shack, down by the sea lions, just to get warmed up again. Only a handful of zookeepers had made it into work, so the few that did, had to do double duty. It shouldn’t have been too surprising then, when one of the keepers burst in and announced for all to hear, “I had to feed two-hundred herbivores this morning.”

Fast forward to this week, the blizzard of 2011 began rolling into town on Monday afternoon. It started with freezing rain, changed over to sleet and eventually began to snow. We got a half-inch of ice; a couple of inches of sleet and the snow is still coming down. Anne and I both got off from work on Tuesday. This storm won’t produce as much snow as the ’82 storm did, most of that passed just north of us, on its way to Chicago. Even so, it has been a powerful storm and we are not through with it yet. I’m writing this now, before most of the snow is expected to arrive, because with the snow will also come blizzard condition winds. Forty MPH winds and trees clad with a half-inch of ice is a bad prescription. So I need to post this now, because we could lose power.

This time the zoo was closed and let’s face it, ice and sleet are not near as much fun as snow is to play in. I must admit to watching too much of the local Saint Louis snowmaggedon news coverage, but I did get out for a walk. The slideshow pictures are of our backyard birds, which were going even crazier during the storm than the local weathermen.

2 thoughts on “Where Were You In ’82?

  1. and to answer your question in the header – where was I in ’82? I was in Houghton, and my strong suspicion is that it was snowing. 😉

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