Hit by a Sierra cement storm

Friday, Jan. 4, 2008, was the start of our big, wet Sierra cement snowstorm. What a way to begin the new year. The wind blew powerfully throughout the day and then it finally started to rain. That rain turned into snow just before nightfall while we were in town having a leisurely dinner with family and friends at Francisco's Mexican Restaurant. I guess we didn't pay much attention to the weather outside.

When we left the restaurant, we drove home through the most beautiful snowstorm, but it quickly became a white-out everywhere. The last few miles of our drive home in Fish Springs were covered with fresh snow with no tracks from previous vehicles at all. The combination of high wind and heavy snow produced a blizzard.

It reminded me of a severe snowstorm back in the winter of 1983 or '84. We were driving home after a fun dinner at the Ormsby House with early Fish Springs homesteaders Jim and Kay Finch when the blizzard started. The heavy snow hit us hard and fast and you could barely see the road home. In those days, all of Fish Springs had dirt roads. We dropped Jim and Kay off at their ranch at the far north end of Fish Springs and then went on to our house across the field.

As we approached our front door, I could hear the loud noise of the smoke detectors. The house was full of smoke, but no fire. The wet Sierra cement snow had plugged up the chimney on the roof of our two-story home so the smoke was being pushed back down into the wood-burning stove in the living room. The door on the cast iron stove was latched but the smoke still came through the cracks. The wind was blowing very hard so it was easy to ventilate the house just by opening the large east-facing glass doors and the west-facing windows. The strong west wind blew all the smoke out through the east doors in less than a minute. Then my husband threw the small, smoking log that was inside the wood stove outside into the deep snow.

That was scary and we're lucky that dangerous blizzards don't happen here very often. On the other hand, we sure do need the rain and snow to water all our trees and recharge the water table, and the Sierra cement will certainly help. What a great way to start the new year.

-- Linda Monohan may be reached at 782-5802.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment