Submitted January 1, 2010

We were only partially prepared

On Dec 24th 2009 the Blizzard of 09' hit Oklahoma. Predictions of 2 - 4 inches of snow at first. Then 6 - 8 and then 12 inches of snow predicted. It ended up being a record 14 inches when it was over. I've lived in Oklahoma 41 of my 45 years and I never believed it would be more than 4 inches. I knew it was coming so I and my family left NW Arkansas at 10:30 am to get home early in Oklahoma City. It was 50 degrees when we left. By the time we got to within 50 miles of home it was 24 degrees and vehicle wrecks were getting more and more frequent as we traveled west on I-40. It was about then that I kicked in the four wheel drive after I stopped to help one driver. We stopped to get something to eat and when we got ready to leave, my big bad 3/4 ton 4x4 diesel mega cab truck would not start. (a static charge in the key caused the wireless control module to lock out) My roadside assistance was useless since all of the wreckers were busy and I couldn't have gotten towed far in that weather anyway. Moral ... Murphy's Law ... the equipment that you rely on the most may fail right when you need it the most! If we could just get home ... we are prepared to be snowed in there! We managed to get a ride with a couple in a 4x4 who was going (roughly) our way. By then the blizzard was in full swing. 50 mph winds and getting colder still. I-40 was a parking lot for most of the 50 miles to OKC. By the time we got to our exit near home it was 10:30 pm. 6 or 7 seven cars and trucks were stranded at our exit because it had not been plowed. Then we got stuck. Luckily a wrecker showed up and pulled us out. We went back up the on ramp and managed to get down another street that had been gone over once with a plow. We had a local friend meet us at a 7/11, sent our new friends on their way with a fresh tank of gas and we spent Christmas with with our local friends. Christmas morning a neighbor of ours picked us up and drove us as far as they could where the road home was still completely impassable and we hiked the last mile home. (24 hours after we left on a "3 hours tour") We had horses that needed us and dogs stuck inside since neighbors couldn't even get to our semi rural home on the edge of the city.

I consider myself a prepared person, but we were only partially prepared. We never believed it would be that bad. Not many did. It hit so fast and hard. Some people were wearing shorts! I was wearing tennis shoes for crying out loud! We did have warm clothing but that's it. It's snowing again now and I'm prepping my truck to live out of now!

Charles from Oklahoma

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