The Blizzard of 2005
When I moved to Cape Cod many people told me, “oh don’t worry it never snows on cape.” Ha! During the winter of 2005 the Cape Cod region got over 100 inches of snow. Most of this was in several very large and very severe blizzard/nor’easters. The Cape Cod region was thrown into a perpetual icebox of one big storm after another. None bigger or meaner, than the Blizzard of 2005. What started off as just another in a series of bad storms soon turned into a full-blown blizzard.The cape was blasted with 70 mph winds, while at the same time getting over 3 feet of snow. It was the storm of the century.
The heavy wet snow was pulling down power lines all over the northeast.Much of the cape was without power, this lack of power put many in mortal peril. Sietch members to the rescue! Working with AmeriCorps Cape Cod and the American Red Cross, Sietch members helped to open and staff over 15 Red Cross shelters on the cape. Local schools were opened to the public in this time of danger. Many members worked 72 hours or more to make sure than everyone who needed a warm safe place to stay found one.
It snowed so much that the only way to get around was by snowplow. People stuck in their home had to wait until a town plow could come to their house and plow them to a shelter. During the worst of it, volunteers went out every 15 minutes or so to shovel and move snow away from the entrance to the shelters so that people seeking shelter could actually make it to the front door. It was possible to get lost several feet from the front door, for this reason Sietch members kept close to one another to prevent anyone getting lost.
Many people had to be evacuated because the snow became so high that it closed up the vent to their furnace, flooding their house with deadly co2 gas. Each person that came to the shelters needed special care. For some it was just a warm cup of hot coca, for others a warm place to sleep but some needed special medication. The police and snowplow operators ran heroic trips too and from pharmacies and doctors. They rescued multiple people from their cars, and generally made what could have been a tragic disaster into something much better.
After three harrowing days of nothing but wind and snow, the sun finally came out. The storm was over but that was not the end of the snow. Several places had snow piles over 30 feet tall! Special equipment was needed to move some of it, and most of the cape remained covered for weeks after. Thanks to AmeriCorps Cape Cod, The Red Cross, and The Sietch, shelters were opened, people had a warm place to sleep, and lives were saved.