Nemo: The Aftermath
By Sandeep Chandrasekhar
BU News Service
Currently a senior at Boston University, I never complained about the winter weather in this city during my previous three years. Raised in California, I never experienced snow until I got to college, sans a few skiing vacations in Lake Tahoe. Even when it snowed in Boston, I did not get the feeling that the weather was overly brutal. After all, I’ve only had one snow day during my first three years here, and the school was only shut down for one afternoon. One afternoon in three years. That’s the only weather-related day off I had until senior year. Then, the tide completely turned.
First, Hurricane Sandy in late October was the most severe weather I had ever experienced. Winds were gusting at speeds up to 80 miles per hour, as the rain was swerving as fast as a NASCAR driver rides his final lap. Nonetheless, I still was able to go outside because it really was not too cold. In fact, I even played football with some of my friends at Nickerson Field. Sure, the winds were high and it was pouring rain, but that was not enough to keep me from going outside. The roads were just a little dirty but nothing that would force me to stay inside. Being a huge outdoors person, rain, wind, or cold weather really is not enough to keep me from going outside. In fact, I had a blast playing in the rain and had no issues walking a mile to and from the field.
I really could not envision a scenario where the weather could have been worse than Hurricane Sandy. If I could go outdoors during Sandy, I could really go outside any time I wanted. Or so I thought. This past weekend completely changed my perspective on cold weather; “Blizzard Nemo” was by far one of the most daunting, frightening, and discomforting periods of my life. The effects are still felt today, over 48 hours since the snow stopped.
Walking 500 feet on Friday night was a struggle. Anywhere I went, thick snow came pestering onto my face. There were 25 inches of snow during a 24-hour period. Wherever I walked on Friday night, everything I wore was drenched in icy snow. My legs, hands, arms, toes, and chest were freezing. I could not even feel anything in body. It felt like I had some major disability because it took me over ten minutes to open the front door of my apartment. There was no time to create any walkways or even shovel snow because the snow just kept coming and coming. Even the snow plows, which were everywhere in the city, were hapless that night. Everywhere I walked, I had to lift my legs over two feet just to make it visible. Also, the snow was extremely powdery so it was extremely difficult to make snowballs.
While a massive “Snowbrawl” event occurred on the Esplanade, I felt trapped and stranded at my Linden Street apartment. It took me over 20 minutes to walk a mile to Nickerson Field. I wanted to see how things were in such an open area and wouldn’t you know, a big snowball fight broke out over there. I had no feelings in my body, so the last thing I was thinking about was joining that scene.
In the two days that have passed, there is still a plethora of snow scattered all over BU’s campus and the entire city. The sidewalks, especially in the residential areas, are still unusable, while slush has built up in many of the intersections. In previous snowstorms during my three years here, the city of Boston was able to restore everything extremely quickly, often taking no more than 24-48 hours to clear the snow and open up the roads and sidewalks. That was anything but the case today. The roads were icy, slippery, and massive snowbanks were all over the city. It is still a struggle walking to and from class at Boston University.
Ultimately, this was clearly the worst weather-related event I’ve experienced in my life. I’ve used more clothes over the past three days than I usually use in a week. It is impossible to go outside without my socks being drenched in cold water, more than two days after the blizzard. Wow, what a storm and what an experience. Few things are remembered in life, but I can assure you Nemo will remain with me for the rest of my life.