Restoring a 1915 Colonial Revival house

Winter 2009-2010

We moved into our house in the fall of 2009, not having any idea what lay ahead in the coming months. The summer and fall of 2009 were more mild than usual. Then, a few days before Christmas, we got slammed with our first blizzard of the winter. Like most winter storms, the first one came without much warning. Winter storm watches were issued on December 18th, but few people took it seriously at first. Nobody thought that winter would bite us hard that early. Were we ever wrong.

The picture above was taken on December 19, 2009. There is a street hidden under all the snow somewhere. It started snowing early and picked up in intensity as the day went on. We ended up getting around 22 inches of snow out of this storm and it took the neighborhood a few days to completely dig out. The storm broke every record for a December storm on the books including the infamous Knickerbocker storm of December 1922. There was enough snow on the ground for us to have a white Christmas nearly a week later. Everyone was hopeful that this would be the worst storm of the season, as a 20+ inch snow is on average about an every 5 to 7 year event in Baltimore. Little did we know we were in for the worst winter in recorded history.

The month of January 2010 passed uneventfully with no major storms. There were a few small snow systems that laid a couple of inches on the ground, but nothing that brought life to a sudden halt like the December storm. Then, on February 5, 2010, we got hit again.

This storm was just as bad as the December storm. We ended up getting about 24 inches with drifts up to 5 feet. It snowed for about 36 hours, with blizzard conditions much of that time. To make matters worse, the city was unable to keep the streets clear and everything was at a standstill for a couple of days. The next few pictures are scenes around the house after the snow had stopped falling. The snow was too deep to venture too far from the house to take pictures.

The snow did serious damage to the shrubs in front of the house.

Our Chevy Silverado 4x4 buried to the headlights in snow.

The front yard after the snow ended.

One of the stone pillars in the back yard. To get an idea of the size, a picture of the same pillar can be seen on our page about the yard.

I think this picture sums up everyone's feelings on February 6th. This was taken about an hour after the snow finally stopped. Just a ray of sun was shining through and hitting one of the big pines across the street.

After the storm subsided, the neighborhood started digging out, which took a couple of days. No sooner had the sidewalks and street been partially cleared  to where they were barely passable that the area was alerted of another nor'easter aiming at the Mid-Atlantic region. Needless to say, it sent everyone into a near panic. Grocery stores looked like they had been raided and all of the hardware stores had been picked clean of every snow shovel, windshield scraper, and bag of rock salt. New warnings were issued on February 9, 2010, for a blizzard even stronger than the one that had hit a few days earlier.

The resultant storm was unbelievable. February 10th saw around 30 inches of snow with 60 mph winds. We watched the storm out the windows with wonder, as neither of us had ever seen anything like it before. The wind was blowing the snow in a circular pattern as it fell. At times visibility fell to only a few yards. The city and surrounding area was completely shut down and everyone was ordered (not advised, mind you) to stay home. The wind created numerous snow drifts, some as high as 8 to 10 feet. With the wind, it was difficult to measure exactly how much snow we received, but by the time the storm had subsided, we had from 43 to 52 inches in our yard. The next few pictures were taken during the storm.

This is looking southeast out one of our front windows. We thought the poor dogwood tree in the center of this picture was totally done in by the storms, but it bounced back in the spring. The shrubs in front of our house weren't as lucky, as most of them were total losses.

Another view looking northeast.

Looking northwest toward our next door neighbor's house.

Looking out the front door into the yard.

After it was all said and done, the Baltimore area officially got around 80 inches of snow during the winter of 2009-2010. The actual amount of snow will never be known, as there was apparently some error during the taking of official measurements during one of the storms.