Salted with Sharks

Winter ’13/’14 “One for the Ages”

In Alert Weather on February 10, 2014 at 5:49 pm

While on our way back from a failed attempt to catch the fabled Elberta Jumper on film, we came upon Tommy Thomas, of Washington Avenue, who was out shoveling, as he has been for weeks now.

The piles rise about ten feet high on either side of Mr. Thomas’s crisply sculpted driveway. In his neon orange hat and trim jacket, he cut a hale figure, orange bladed shovel a blur moving in swift, deft sweeps.

“Here’s our weatherman,” said Janet Buck. “Tommy, have you ever seen a winter like this?” Mrs. Buck had not. She expressed some amazement at the “Alps” in front of her house—mounds of snow up to 15 feet high turned there by the plow.

“The winter of ’84/’85 we had this much snow, but it wasn’t this cold,” said Mr. Thomas. “I think we’ve had about three feet of snow. We’ve gone 28 days at freezing or below. If we go 23 more days we’ll break the record for cold stretches. We haven’t had this many freezing days in a row since ’76/’77 and ’78/’79.”

Lake Michigan was at about 95% ice coverage in February of 1979. Currently the Great Lakes are at 78.2% ice coverage with Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario the only lakes not completely frozen over.

One morning a few weeks ago I asked Mr. Thomas what he thought of the weather, and he said he had hoped for a wintry winter, but now he wished he could take it back. Today he seemed elated. “This is certainly one heck of a winter. One for the ages, I think!”—Emily Votruba

A typical day in 2014, captured on February 10.

A typical day in 2014, captured on February 10.

  1. Reblogged this on The Magical Power of Story and commented:
    I was there in 76/77 and 78/79. AMAZING winter this year!

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