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Things To Do in a Winter Snow Blizzard White Out

Updated on May 8, 2012

Dastardly Icicles

Photo by Sally's Trove
Photo by Sally's Trove

Imagine looking out your front door and seeing nothing except violently swirling snow. Where once you could see that rhododendron or pine tree in your front yard, now you can see only what looks like fog but has much more movement. This moving snow obscures everything beyond six inches in front of your face.

Imagine being on the road in your car and not being able to see past those six inches in front of your windshield.

Imagine being blinded by white, not black. You have no vision except as you imagine you should. And that denial can land you in a world of trouble.

This is a white out.

Worst Winter Conditions in Southeastern Pennsylvania History

Since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1870, there has not been a winter season here like this one in 2010 in terms of snowfall, wind, and low temperatures. We’ve been socked in by record snows, ice, winds, and blizzard conditions.

Because of the timely forecasts of the National Weather Service, we were able to do our grocery shopping ahead of time, winterize our cars, lay in supplies of candles and flashlight batteries, and organize a neighborhood watch to look out after each other.

All in all, this has been a time of stepping out of our normal patterns of running errands, taking walks, visiting with neighbors, and going to work. We became housebound. So, what to do in a winter snow blizzard white out while we ride the storm and wait for relief?

Make Soup or Stew

Given that the stove works, make a pot of soup or stew. It makes the house smell great, it warms the body, and it cheers the neighbor you want to share it with, so long as you can navigate to the neighbor’s door through the blizzard conditions. If you don’t make it that far, then hopefully the neighborhood watch is looking out for you and will come to your rescue after you trip in the snow, fall flat on your face, and miraculously drop the pot level to the ground, still covered, with no spillage. Your only question at that point is, will they rescue the pot first, or you?

Cinnamon Loving the Blizzard

photo by Sally's Trove
photo by Sally's Trove

Watch the Dog Play

My Golden Retriever, Cinnamon, doesn’t give a damn about blizzards.

She will turn her face right into the wind, squint her eyes, take the stinging beating on face and fur, and then look for fun.

She will jump into a snowbank as if it were a tranquil pool of water, burying her nose deeply and disappearing from my view except for her wagging tail. She will come up from this submerging with a snort, a hop or two or three, and do it all again. Meanwhile, I shiver and grow impatient.

Bless her, she never grows impatient with me.

Those of us who have dogs that need to go outside to relieve themselves during these weather conditions are exceptionally vulnerable to perishing in the snow, risking being knocked over by 50 mile per hour winds, plunged face down into six-foot snow drifts, blinded by stinging snow, and bombarded by falling tree branches. All for the sake of the dog not peeing or pooing in the house.

How much do we love them?

Snow and Tree as One

photo by Sally's Trove
photo by Sally's Trove

See the Magic Where Snow Clings to Trees

While my dog is cavorting, I am growing impatient. But I don’t want to interrupt her joy.

I turn my attention to the trees and look to see how this snow has transformed them. They are heavily laden. Their branches no longer stretch to the sky; instead, they touch the ground under the weight of wet, clinging snow . It’s as if the trees are saying, “It’s time to hunker down, time to gain strength from the deep earth despite the ice and snow that would weaken us.”

I can’t help but think about the inner core of Earth, holding the energy that erupts into earthquakes and tsunamis...and also speaks to trees.

The Jesus, St. Nicholas Tree

photo by Sally's Trove
photo by Sally's Trove

Contemplate a Miraculous Manifestation

There is a strange tree clinging to my neighbor’s house.  It is tall and thin, a conifer I guess; I will have to do more research. This past summer, a visiting friend saw this tree and dubbed it the “Jesus Tree”.  Now, this tree with its cross being held in one hand is shrouded in snow and looking to be worth even more contemplation. The Christmas season has passed, but this tree makes me think of St. Nick.  It also makes me think of continuity. This tree was looking like this, with its aspect of holding a cross, in the summer, and it is holding a cross still.  This blizzard and whiteout are temporary.  The Jesus tree stands.

The Snowman Greets Us

photo by Sally's Trove
photo by Sally's Trove

Build a Snowman

I am blessed with young neighbors, boys and girls who would rather freeze their fingers and toes off than come indoors. These children built the most wonderful snowman when the blizzard conditions ceased and the sun came out to smile, placing him right in the middle of the walking path to our joined houses. Their mother knocked on my door and asked if this snowman was obstructing my getting in and out of my house. I told her, “Hell, no!” I love him for his button eyes, carrot nose, and cheerful smile. My dog sniffs the snowman's bottom and approves.

What Not To Do in a Winter Snow White Out

Don’t think that you can carry on with your normal routine. If you get into your car, you imperil not only yourself but those around you, and you also make it more difficult for emergency personnel to do their jobs. This is a time for staying home. Welcome these few housebound days and love them. They can show you aspects of yourself that you would see in no other way.

And for Pete's sake, don't ever do this.


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    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I'm with you, moonlake! I am not a snow enthusiast, except to admire it through the window of a cozy, warm room. So glad you enjoyed this hub. :)

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 6 years ago from America

      Loved this hub. When it snows here all I want to do is stay in make soup but my jamies on keep warm. I hate cold and bad roads. Voted up.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Ty, Stephanie for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I love kids coming in from the snow...they don't know they might get frost bite. They are so much about the enjoyment, like my special dog. And they make the snowman. How good is that?

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Your hub brought back memories of some of the fierce winter storms we experienced in Central New York years ago. I love your first suggestion - make a pot of stew! That was always one of my favorite things to do during a snow storm! I also loved to bake bread and cookies for the kids. There's just something wonderful about kids coming in from playing out in the snow to cups of hot chocolate and a house that smells delicious! Seeing the snowman almost made me miss those days! :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Dolores, I don't think you are an idiot at all. I admire your excitement about this most beautiful of natural events and your desire to be "where it's at." Here's the diff between you and me...I only went out there because the dog had to pee! Give me sand, surf, and palm trees any day. :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I am one of those idiots who can't wait to go outside in a blizzard, toward the end when it's winding down or just after it stops. Never alone, of course. I love the way our neighborhood is transformed, it's so beautiful. I spend so much of the winter indoors, but can be out for hours in the snow, even at my age. The pictures we have of last year's blizzard are awesome!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Oh my goodness, Healing Touch, the pictures the news carried were amazing. That's some winter wonderland you have there. Stay safe and warm and make lots of soup!

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      I love this hub. Great job. I know you wrote this some time ago, but you ought to see what happened to us here in MN. Please check it out.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

      Yes, and my Buddy is so much company to me, and Lynn thinks he hung the moon. Buddy is now at my feet, waiting for me to offer a pat, a biscuit, a trip outside, or just a word. Boo, is curled up out of sight...she will soon come for a lap snuggle. She decides cuz cats rule.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      TY so much for your words, Marisue. I find this Hub difficult to read since Cin is gone.

      The blessing of a blizzard day like this is to watch the dog have a ball...after all, she doesn't think about snuggling and shelter; she is there just for the moment that is to be enjoyed. And that's a great gift we receive from our pets. They're not fixating on how to make the next mortgage payment. They are just having fun! :)

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

      A beautiful snowy snuggle in and be glad and grateful for shelter. Bless you for staying safe!! Brrr. I hope this winter our ageless Mother, will be kinder to all...but preparation and common sense is key.

      I cried when I saw CinCin.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL, epigramman. I think you have a quite good strategy for riding out blizzards. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago took me so long to scroll down to the bottom of this screen that the snow has all melted - and besides - I'm smart I don't go out into a blizzard I stay home by the fire and read your hubs.......

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I am chuckling reading your comment, Underradar. It just so happens that the temperature out here today hit 93 degrees...entirely too hot, too soon. I'm actually longing a bit (just a bit, mind you) for that freezing cold to come back! How do you keep from freezing? Stay indoors! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    • Underradar profile image

      Underradar 8 years ago from USA

      Think I will keep the warmth but a great article. How do you keep from freezing.

      Thank you

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Gigi2, thank you for your caring and thoughtful comment. It would be so fine if people were as smart as dogs. Dogs know their limits; we often do not.

    • Gigi2 profile image

      Gigi2 8 years ago from UK

      Found this following your hub about wonderful Cin's death. Good to see her so happy. The snow brings so much joy and so much human stupidity. Very glad it's over for the year, at least I hope so! Not so bad here in UK, but bad enough to bring out those willing to risk their lives and others. Take care.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      xiomara, as a dear friend said to me about Cinnie's death, "...all dogs go to heaven." This is true. There is no bad dog. If a dog seems to be bad, then it is because someone made her that way. I have no doubt that Lizzy and Cin are doing their wonderful doggy things in heaven. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings about Lizzy with Cinnie and letting Cinnie know how her story made you feel.

    • profile image

      xiomara 8 years ago

      Cinnie your story made me cry. I know deep in my heart that you and my beloved daughter Lizzy are in heaven.

      I truly believe that all pets when they die they go to heaven.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      frogyfish, I'm so glad you made the journey to here. She was a magnificent dog...this picture of her is indeed delightful, cold and refreshing. I love your words.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Delightful, cold and refreshing. I came here from your link about Cin's death. Glad to see her here!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      No disagreement from me, De Greek. Whatever elf or fairy is in charge of sweeping the snow up and getting us ready for spring gets my vote and my loyalty. Thanks for your neat comment. A soul is a fair trade for the end of winter. :)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 8 years ago from UK

      After a really white Christmas and trimmings with more snow being in the offing today, would you believe, our romantic notions of snow have been satiated. Now, the De Greek motto is "Give me sunshine and take my soul" :-)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Chris, if I could, I'd take all the snow we had this season, wrap it in a fancy package, and airmail express it to you. As my ex was fond of saying, "GD winter wonderland." I should have stayed in southern California.

      Glad you enjoyed!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      I've been in some pretty serious snowstorms, but never a white out. A fun and entertaining hub! I love the snow.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Ohio must be one of the great blizzard-making states. I spent a good deal of my childhood not too far from Columbus and have fond memories of snows and drifts quite over my head, when the only things that mattered for days were staying warm and dry, eating good food, and enjoying the grownups who spent so much time with us kids playing board games and cards, reading to us, and teaching us crafts and cooking. Those were beautiful days.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I am reminded of the blizzards I endured while at Ohio State (Columbus). NICE photos! Check out my hub on geocaching for families.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Winter does release its miracles, doesn't it? Everybody should have a Jesus tree and a giant, kid-made snowman.

      I like your measure for knowing when the streets are safe---stay inside and glued to the TV until the cancellations stop. Sage advice!

      It is more than unfortunate that 4-wheel drive drivers too often think they are safe from winter driving hazards. I blame that deadly attitude on the seed that continues to grow from the infamous "ME" generation and on cutting school budgets for driver's ed training.

      So glad to see you JamaGenee...I miss your presence on HP!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Beautiful hub, and congrats to the neighbor children on the great snow man! And the "Jesus Tree" - fantastic!

      We were lucky this year in that our only "big" snow (a mere 12 inches - sorry) came on Christmas Eve. But we didn't escape the annual freezing rain and ice, and the same rules apply as for the blizzards you experienced: stock up ahead of the storm, stay inside during and *don't* challenge Mother Nature! The easy way to tell the streets were safe again was that TV stations stopped running school closings and meeting cancellations.

      btw, people driving snow-eating SUVs should remember courtesy to those who don't is *more* important when streets are only partially clear. Just because you can pass non-SUVs in the snow drifts in the right-hand lane doesn't mean you should. Just sayin'...

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I like your checklist, too. I get the benefit of having my errands run for me while you have the snow-eating SUV!

    • annemaeve profile image

      annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

      I am sooooooo ready for spring! This winter has tried my last nerve, but I do like my new winter-weather checklist...

      1) Borrow snow-eating SUV from mama

      2) Drive snow-eating SUV home, stopping by the store for milk, eggs, and bread - the staples of blizzard eating

      3) eat various combinations of milk, eggs, and bread while watching the snow fall outside the window

      4) 3 days later, dig self out

      5) top off snow-eating SUV's gas tank and return to mama

      6) wait 3 days, then repeat steps 1-5... again... and again... and again...

      Lurve you, lurve your hubs!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Billy, you are a Goldie girl! I'm so glad to hear that you had the joy of your wonderful dog for 8 years. Cinnamon needed a home when she was 8 years old, so she came to live with me 3 years ago, and now I can't imagine not having her goofiness and beauty in my life.

      Should I be fortunate to take that trip to India, I will definitely be leaving here in my winter and heading straight to that beautiful home overlooking the ocean in Goa. You put a huge smile on my face. Thank you so much!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      FP, this is a very unusual winter for us. We rarely see this much snow or suffer through such low temperatures and biting winds. But yes, life does completely change in the winter here, even in a more "normal" winter...people are out and about less, we get to look at a lot of tree branches instead of leaves, and our pockets empty rapidly with the cost of heating our homes.

      When I put this Hub together, I wanted to include a photo of Stephanie, but the snow was so deep on that side of the house I was afraid I'd sink in over my head, never to be seen again, but rather to transform from being me to being her spring fertilizer!

      Thank you about Cinnie. She is a pretty lady. Doesn't her old white muzzle coordinate so nicely with the snow? LOL

    • billy sidhu profile image

      billy sidhu 8 years ago

      i loooooooove your doggie! i had a golden retriever - then i lost her after 8 years- she took my heart and a bit of my soul too!! i have one more suggestion on what to do - catch a flight to goa- theres a home here- warm sunshiny days and the blue ocean out of the bedroom

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      I can't even imagine what it must be like to live in a whiteout! Life completely changes for you in the winter months, doesn't it? In my corner of the world we're thrilled if we get to take our warm clothes out of mothballs!

      PS: Cinnamon is a real pretty lady! :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Duchess, our regional environments seem to be a bit screwed lately, as you say.

      Maybe you'll just have to manufacture a snow day and stay home for some comfort food and games! I'd like to manufacture some palm trees and coconuts about now.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Micky Dee, you said it all.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 8 years ago


    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Sally’s Trove, I don’t have to imagine it. I see this at least once a year!. I so agree don’t drive in this!

      I can feel the cold you are describing as you take Cinnamon out.

      This year has seen some strange winter weather all over the place. Lots of winter where you generally don’t see it, and for me, very little winter when I usually have to dig myself out every other day.

      I like the snowman idea. Snow days here mean comfort food and indoor games. Have not seen any of those yet this year.


    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Amy, so nice to see you. Yes, it's wonderful to look at these wonders of nature. Just wish I could be enjoying a picture book full of them instead of looking out my window!

      Tammy, yes, the South has gotten hit pretty hard, too. Especially to the west of you with debilitating ice. Thanks so much for enjoying the pics.

      Neil, your comment cracked me up. Lemonade out of lemons, and that is true. What else are we to do? And yes, if there isn't food involved, it probably isn't me. Thank you so much for your awesome comment.

    • profile image

      proudgrandpa 8 years ago

      You have outdone yourself this time young lady. Not only have you made lemonade out of lemons with your beautiful photos and descriptions, you have steered us to a scary story by Trish. You are good my friend. It is obvious by all the comments.

      Your mention of soup makes this an authentic Sally's Trove, make me hungry, post. Thanks, NEIL

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Hello, hello, as always, thanks so much for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed.

      FlyingPanther, I LOVE what you said about being born Canadian and as soon as you can walk they put a shovel in your hand. Yup, the Jesus Tree is still up there, surviving blizzard conditions quite nicely. If my neighbor ever cuts it down, that will be a sad day. Stay warm, my friend!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      HoHoHo, trish. You made me do it. Sabu had suggested I make a Hub of these pics a while ago, but your experience in that whiteout you described in your recent Hub was a challenge I simply couldn't resist. Thank you so much, my dear friend, for your encouragement!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Darlene, thank you for your lovely comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed this Hub, and I am pleased to meet you. Colorado is such a beautiful state. I've never been there in winter or spring, only in summer. You are so lucky to live in the magnificent Rockies.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      2patricias, you are so right about the kids. They'd rather freeze off their fingers and toes than come in from the snow and cold. No doubt in their minds about what to do in snow. As you can imagine, I am definitely coveting your more moderate climate. I'd take your sparse snow and lack of frost any day. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 8 years ago

      It has been interesting here in the south too. We had a winter snow storm the schools were closed and everything. I don't miss the snowy cold one bit. I love your pictures they are fantastic.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

      I love the photos in this hub! I could sit and look at snow /ice covered trees for hours - they are so beautiful. I hope spring will come soon for you. :)

    • FlyingPanther profile image

      FlyingPanther 8 years ago from here today gone tomorrow!!

      Sally OMG great hub and wonderful pictures awww Cin looks lovely i miss her. Now as you know I am CANADIAN, As A toddler i remember when we would have a big snow storm my aunty would cook all day nice warm meals for us to enjoy and she would try to keep us busy as well since we could not go out because of the bad weather!!! Now as we grow older being teenager it was OK to go out in that stuff and play but I want to share with evryone that us Canadian as soon as you can walk they put a shovel and your hand and push you out the door so you can go shovel LOL.I am in North Jersey and it's been a long while since I saw so much snow.Even tho I am Canadian I have enough of that white stuff..........Bring on spring I am ready!! P>S. the Jesus tree still standing uh LOL *S*

      Miss you.


    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      A lovely hub and great photos. Thank you for a great read

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 8 years ago

      Dearest friend,

      I love this hub, and I'm so glad I inspired you :) For once, we both took each other's advice lol. Obviously, we both had extreme differences in our dealings with Old Man Winter. I much prefer what you were able to do! I would much rather shiver in my boots while waiting for my dog to take care of business :)

      The photos are lovely, and are one nice thing about a horrible winter, that we can also see and enjoy the beauty that belongs to Mother Nature.

      So happy you wrote this, dearest friend.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      What a delightful story, amazing that you experianced that kind of storm, and to live to write about it. I live in the rockie mountains of Colorado, and I have never seen so much ran this summer and the storm have been mild, however we do get lots of snow in the spring. You are a wonder writer and feel honor to know you. Thank you

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Great Hub. We have wonderful sunshine here this morning, but we have had unusual amounts of snow this winter. Some years we have no snow (or even frost) so people really don't know what to do. For 'people' substitute the word 'adults'. Kids certainly know what to do.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sabu, it is so hard for me to understand that summer is just a breath away for you while it is so bitter here.

      Cin does have an innocence about her. Perhaps because she is a dog and full of the simple joy that the neighbor's children have as well. We grownups can make things so complicated.

      Best wishes to you and thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Can I please have some of your warm Pune air?

    • sabu singh profile image

      sabu singh 8 years ago

      Wow, isn't that just a fabulous Hub, ST? And with some beautiful photographs. I can't decide which one is the best. Probably Cin's. She has such a saintly, innocent air about her.

      And wouldn't it be lovely if we could enjoy the snow as much as Cin and the young children?

      Thank you so much for sharing.

      Meanwhile in India, we are getting ready to sweat it out as the summer closes in.


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