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Thursday, August 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 67.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily
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Blogging the Blizzard of 2007, in Madison and around Wisconsin
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The Blizzard of 2007 scours downtown Madison late Saturday night.
Credit:Kristian Knutsen

Assuming there are no larger dumpings of snow this year, the weekend's storm may be remembered as the Blizzard of 2007. The conditions -- complete with heavy snow, high winds, and lightning -- were bad enough to effectively shut down the city and provide everyone with a topic for conversation.

Many observers published their thoughts about and photos of the blizzard online, enough to provide something of an aggregate picture of the storm as seen throughout the Madison metro area.

This ongoing blogging about the storm follows below.

  • Nina Camic asks: "So. The storms have passed. And what do you do afterwards? Well, it depends on what the day has tossed you."


  • "Lots of cars are completely plowed under, much deeper than these on my street, where they only do one pass of the plow," writes an observer evaulating the weekend's weather.


  • Another observer describes how the ongoing storm through the weekend helped drive sales of cell phones.


  • After crossing two streets after the storm on Sunday, notes on person, "my shoes were soaking wet."


  • "Good thing my car is a piece of junk," writes Brad Vogel in the wake of ths snowstorm. "If it had been any nicer, I would've been worried when the Bobcat rescued it from deep snow this morning, lifting the front end up and out of a deep spot along the curb." He also provides several photos of the plow-made snowdrifts (and a snow-pig or -badger) ringing Capitol Square.


  • Brad Vogel reports on the calm between the storms on Saturday afternoon, when he ventured to Middleton for this year's Bockfest at Capital Brewery. "I had a good time -- and even a taste of the famed Blonde," Vogel notes. "The best part of the event was the 'Fish Fly' which was signaled by the arrival of the chartreuse dinosaur on the brewery warehouse ramparts.


  • "It can be debated weather or not this actually counted as a blizzard," suggests Mark Sadowski. "A major hat tip goes to the city for keeping the roads clear for the most part throughout this storm."


  • "I've been waiting forever for this once-in-a-lifetime oportunity to see Geraldine Chaplin star in a rare print of this 'chilling conundrum,' a French pirate movie," explains the blogger with the moniker of "Madison Guy." Therefore, he embarked to view the film (NoroÃt) as it screened the UW Cinematheque. He describes the adventure:
    Undeterred by the dire warnings, we drove downtown, had dinner at Porta Bella, and then trudged through several blocks of driving snow to Vilas Hall at the corner of Park and University. The fact that the stairs were drifted over and there was only one set of footprints other than ours, already filling in, did not seem to bode well. Nevertheless, we held on to the railing and stumbled upward, toward the film I was sure would be screening.
    Alas, the show was canceled. "Tom reluctantly informed us that the city of Madison had canceled public transportation because of the snow, the Cinematheque's projectionist was not there, and they had to cancel the showing," wrote "Madison Guy." He also explained that Yoshikami is hoping to reschedule the film later in the spring.


  • "It's still snowing some, but our blizzard warning has been downgraded to a winter storm warning," writes one observer, who shot some photos of the storm only a couple hours before sunrise Sunday morning. "Not that it really matters since the plows are working non-stop right now."


  • The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Madison's buses are running, but driving remains slippery.


  • Tom Scharbach of Lake Delton considers the storm, writing "the Great Blizzard of '07 is something of a non-event when you get right down to it." He goes on to discuss the snow levels in rural areas south of Wisconsin Dells. "Yesterday's snow was fun -- fluffy, light and pretty. I got the driveway cleared up in about an hour," Scharbach notes. "The snow this morning was nasty-assed stuff, wet and heavy, and it had drifted up to a 24-30 inches here and there."


  • Mark Sadowski offers a photo gallery of the storm as it blew though downtown Madison on Saturday night. "The city seemed to be on the ball with keeping the roads cleared until the second major wave came through around 12:30 a.m. at which point, it was coming down so fast that they couldn't keep up," he writes.


  • "Someone -- well something -- saved my life this morning, and it was our snowblower," explains Rick Packard on Sunday morning, who previously spent about 75 minutes clearing snow away from his home. "It was very heavy, wet snow, and it would have surely taken me hours and hours to clear it all with a shovel. I sincerely pity anyone who is forced to remove this snow today without the assistance of an engine." Packard also provide several photos of the snowdrifts around his Sun Prairie neighborhood.


  • One observer describes being "underwhelmed" by the storm, and provides several photos of the streets and parking situation around the UW campus.


  • Ben Emmel with the St. Ambrose Academy Chronicle notes the blizzard, concluding: "Here's hoping that a snow day is in order. Let's keep in mind all on the streets. St. Raphael, patron of travelers, pray for us!"


  • Capital Newspapers blogger Ting-Li Lin presents a photo of a cross-country ski trail at the UW Arboretum on Saturday afternoon. "Lots of skiers were enjoying the snow cumulated over the previous night," he writes.


  • "What a crazy storm," writes the weather watcher who speculated about the city's snow record. He describes the varying measurements throughout Madison:
    I should've perhaps stuck with my original forecast of 10-16" by tomorrow morning. But, totals overnight varied a lot. The airport picked up 6.5, but I'm pretty sure the observer there was asleep/smoking crack. I observed thundersnow off and on between 8:45 and 12:30, and only one instance was recorded at the airport. Not cool. Also, winds overnight made it exceedingly difficult to measure new snowfall. Some did receive more than a foot last night, even in Dane County. BTW, the official storm total at the airport as of 6 a.m. is 13.5".


  • Dane101 provides a second update on the storm "going on beyond your windows."


  • "We have had so much snow the past two days... blizzard warnings and all," writes another UW student. "Last night The Weather Channel was saying that if we went outside we would be risking our lives.," she continues. "Still I saw many Madison kids getting out for a fun saturday night of drinking and partying. A lot of us grew up in Wisconsin... this whole snow thing is nothing new."


  • John Benninghouse also offers several photos of the snow-covered streets and countryside.


  • The Wisconsin State Journal also reports that Metro buses will be back on Madison roads by noon.


  • "That was quite a storm last night," writes John Benninghouse. "I even saw some lightning." He also notes even worse conditions in southwestern Wisconsin, and ponders the fun offered by a hedge maze in this weather, say one like that to be found with Jack Torrance at the Overlook Hotel.


  • The Wisconsin State Journal passes along tips from the American Red Cross Badger Chapter about driving in a winter storm.


  • A little later Sunday morning, the National Weather Service updates its forecast for the region, and downgrades its alert to a Winter Storm Warning. Nevertheless, they continue to recommend against travel.


  • By 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, though, it was starting to look like the forecasts were at least a little overblown. Noting the strength of the wind and the size of the snowdrifts, Rick Packard says, "I would say that we had a very large snowfall last night, but not much of a blizzard."


  • Kevin Revolinski is planning on circling the world in 47 days, traveling to Japan, Thailand and Turkey before returning to good ol' Madison. "So I ducked under the blizzard," he writes early Sunday morning. "My flight was cancelled the night before but in the morning I was able to snag the last seat on a later Madison-Chicago flight and make the connection with the nonstop 13 hour ride to Tokyo. In coach. Ouch."


  • Very early Sunday morning -- think before bar time -- the National Weather Service updates its Blizzard Warning for Dane County and the surrounding region, detailing the ongoing conditions of high winds and heavy snow.


  • Shortly thereafter, a UW student offers her thoughts on the storm. "What an interesting month with regards to the range of weather we've been having," she writes. "From -20 degrees around February 5th, to 45 degrees this past Wednesday, to the 20 inches of snow that we are receiving this weekend. Craziness."


  • Just after midnight, one person writes: "So, I'm just posting to make sure that everyone is still alive with this ridiculoussss blizzard! Is it hitting all of your schools, too? I'm stuck in Madison until Monday because they aren't plowing until then. I thought that the ground hog didn't see his shadow."


  • Minutes before midnight, Brett Farrey laments the capabilities of Madison's snow removal plan. During two hours of travel within town, he reports not seeing a single snowplow. "There were probably 5-6+ inches of snow on the beltline, and even more on sidestreets," he writes. "There were cars in the ditches everywhere, and ton of cars hung up on the snow."


  • With just an hour to go before midnight, another weather watcher describes his experiences. "I'm pretty sure I haven't experienced a blizzard yet. I've been in Minnesota and Wisconsin long enough to see a few impressive snow storms, but tonight and tomorrow Madison is under a blizzard warning," he writes. "We got about 7 inches of snow last night, which necessitated digging my car out of the airport parking lot this morning," he continues, noting the forecast for Sunday.


  • Matt Gabrielson describes the storm as experienced in the Kickapoo Valley in southwest Wisconsin. He writes:
    It is snowing quite heavily in the valley right now. Visibility is quite low, but I'm sure it is much worse on the surrounding ridge tops. The sky has that distinctive orange-pink tinge it always has during heavy snow, and an occasional gust of wind really swirls the flakes around. There was some thundersnow reported around the region during last night's snow, which enhanced the snowfall rates. No thunder locally tonight yet, but I have read reports of cloud-to-ground lightning this evening in the Madison and Janesville areas


  • "What's your bet on how much snow we'll get by tomorrow evening," asks Monica Halberg as the storm intensifies Saturday night.


  • Dane101 provides an update on the ongoing weather conditions and the people talking about them.


  • One motorcyclist describes the conditions while out sledding during the storm.


  • "Madison is under a weather siege," writes Nina Camic on Saturday night. "Attacked by winds, snow, ice and lightening."


  • The weather observer describing the storm as a "real deal returns with an update about the conditions expected through Saturday night and Sunday morning.


  • One person notes the appearance of thundersnow. She writes:
    This is my third thundersnow since I've lived here. It's really the strangest thing... everything is all quiet from the snow, and there's a flash of light and a rumble of thunder. Then it's all quiet again, leaving you to wonder if you imagined it. Amazing. I used to think that thundersnow was one of those movie inventions that never really happened, but now I know better. And i'm not alone in my amazement; folks here say that thundersnows have only started happening in the past few years.


  • As darkness falls on Saturday evening, Rick Packard declares that the "great blizzard of 2007" is in "full swing."


  • "We've got us a blizzard plowing into Madison tonight," writes yet another observer, who notes how "heavy and sticky" the snow is.


  • "We are 'stuck' here in Madison, Wisconsin at the Radisson Hotel," explains a traveler from Indiana.


  • "It's a blizzard-y kind of weekend in Madison," explains another observer, who goes on to describe the challenge of riding a bike through a winter storm. He writes:
    And of course, the streets were nothing but thick mashed potatoes, which is really hazardous to bike in, so I ended up having to push the thing all the way home. It was like pushing a plow through slippery mud without the aid of a horse. Really, really shitty. I got home and my stomach was all funny-feeling, and I thought I'd injured myself or something. And then I thought, "Oh, that's not bad pain. I was just engaging in what is known as exercise. The really crap-ass, no-fun 30-minute ab workout! I should copyright it.


  • One weather watcher describes the storm on Friday night, and notes the toughness of walking through it to a Sunspot CD release show at Madison Avenue on Saturday evening.


  • Beth Kille of the band Clear Blue Betty informs fans that their DVD release show Saturday night is canceled, and wishes them well: "Hope everyone is safe and snug at somewhere tonight!"


  • After purchasing the equipment, Rick Packard looks ahead to removing the snow expected to fall through Sunday.


  • Rick Packard tells a tale about shopping for a snowblower on Friday. He writes:
    I headed to The Home Depot. They were supposed to be having a "Snowblower Event" today. Well, there was no event taking place when I arrived, as they were already out of snowblowers!

    I had about given up on the idea of ever seeing my arms attached to my body again when I remembered that Julie had suggested going to Hanley Implement in Sun Prairie if The Home Depot didn't pan out. I figured, "what the heck -- even if it costs more at Hanley, it's better than going snow blind."

    So I pulled into a half-full Hanley parking lot, only to encounter a hoard -- yes a hoard -- of persons milling around the store looking to buy snowblowers. A salesperson corralled us all up and gave one big sales presentation. I was about ready to buy one, but the line ahead of me was so long that I figured I'd take my chances with the snow, rather than stand around at Hanley's all day.

    As I was driving home, though, I saw a beacon ahead -- it was Dorn True Value Hardware -- only about two miles from our house. I went in, and sure enough, they had snowblowers too. And while there were snowblower millers around the store, it was no where near as busy as Hanley. So I checked the inventory over, and purchased a Toro CCR 3650 GTS Electric Start Snowthrower. And get this -- it was even on sale -- fifty dollars off!!


  • Rick Packard says "it's a "good time to get out of Dodge," noting the voluminous snow arriving Friday with more on the way.


  • Nina Camic describes attending the Dar Williams concert at the Barrymore as the first wave of the storm arrives Friday night. "The blizzard that was supposed to come tomorrow is here," she writes. "It is pouring down by the baleful! I'm giddy with the early pile up of wet wet snow."


  • Jim Zellmer offers several photos of "flying with the storm" from San Carlos, California to Madison.


  • "It would appear that Madison's snow record may be in jeopardy this weekend," warns one avid observer of the weather. "This is the real deal, y'all."


There is also plenty of ongoing discussion about the storms in TDPF:

  • One discussion focuses on Friday's reports of the impending storm, the reliability of weather forecasts, and stories of crowded supermarkets, and the appearance of thundersnow.
  • A second urges drivers to exercise caution during the storm, or to simply stay off the roads altogether if they're unable to handle the conditions.
  • Another discussion simply considers that weight of snow that the typical roof in town is able to bear.


Photo sets from the storm can be found taken by Jason Joyce, Karen Darcy, here, here, here, here and here. Ongoing lists of church, school, and other activity cancellations are provided by WKOW, WISC and WMTV.

Winter road conditions throughout the state are available from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and regular advisory updates and weather reports can be found at the Milwaukee/Sullivan office of the National Weather Service.


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