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  • Writer's pictureDon Wilding

Recalling the Blizzard of '05

The 40th anniversary of the Blizzard of ’78 is getting a lot of attention these days, but there’s another storm worth remembering this month — the Blizzard of ’05.

The memory of this one, which occurred 13 years ago this coming week, is still fresh in the minds of most Cape Cod residents. While the mainland (which usually gets the higher amounts of snow) had a foot or two in many areas, Cape Cod was socked with three feet of the white stuff, along with hurricane force wind gusts. Travel became so difficult, even The Cape Cod Times didn’t publish that day.

At the time, I was living on-Cape but working at a paper off-Cape, and put in my call to work relatively early that Monday morning after the worst of it was over. “I hope you’re NOT coming in,” the boss said. “No way,” I replied. “Good — nothing’s happening here anyway except cleanup, and we’ve got it covered. Make it tomorrow?” “Yep, sure — see you then.”

But that didn’t mean that I was staying put. My friend Jon March drove out to the Cape the night before so he could check on his cottage and take in the fury of the storm. Jon is relentless when it comes to situations like this; he puts Jim Cantore and the other Weather Channel people to shame.

On his way to the Cape from Connecticut, Jon used his 4-wheel drive van and wire cable to pull a snow plow out of distress in Wareham. Upon arrival to his cottage on the Outer Cape, he was greeted by a seven-foot wall of snow. After digging that out for 45 minutes, he barreled through and found himself stuck, leading to another half-hour or so of digging. That concluded at about 3:30 a.m.

The next morning at around 8:30, he rang me up. “Let’s go to the beaches!” In no time at all, he was back on the Mid Cape to pick me up, and then it was on to Eastham and Coast Guard Beach.

The waves at Coast Guard were monstrous, and that was down a notch from the day before, when the storm was still raging. The ocean had completely washed over the barrier beach, as only slushy ice covered the sand and grass of the Coast Guard Beach dunes. Debris was everywhere.

The folks at the Four Points Sheraton Eastham were busy digging out, both by plow and shovel. There was even a nice wide path cleared to the bar through a five-foot snow drift.

By this time, the sun had been out for several hours, and we actually spotted some black pavement on Route 6 in Wellfleet. Provincetown was an especially entertaining jaunt, especially since the van nearly got stuck on a side street.

The storm didn’t make anyone forget 1978, but the snow totals were incredible — still worth remembering.

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