Diary of an Iqaluit Blizzard


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140 km/h winds. 13 hours without power. Isolation, boredom, and paranoia. This is the Diary of an Iqaluit Blizzard.

Day 1: January 7, 2014

08:00     City, schools, private businesses, and most government offices are closed. Iqaluit is slated for the worst blizzard in seven years.

10:21     The blizzard approaches town from Frobisher Bay. I am at work.

 10:40     The blizzard has covered much of the downtown core. I am at work. 10:50     The blizzard has smothered the entire downtown core. I am still at work. 11:07    All government offices are shut down. The blizzard has officially started.

11:49    Visibility is near zero. I have made it home.

12:40     Zero visibility. This view will remain unchanged until it is too dark to see outside. 14:32     Power goes out. I realize I forgot to charge my toothbrush.

14:54     Power back on in our neighbourhood. The winds continue to howl.

15:45     Lights flicker; a tease, but the power remains on.

16:21     Power is out and the world is pitch black. We are prepared with the world's best candles and headlamps.

16:45     The world's best candles are scented and give me a headache. Reading by headlamp.

17:23     A wandering beam from a flashlight across the street pierces the darkness.

17:25     We play one-on-one Taboo, defying the rules and any sense of competition. The house shakes intermittently.

17:34     Car headlights zoom down our street, providing an eerie brightness for a few seconds. Back into darkness.

17:42     I realize I still haven't charged my toothbrush.

17:45     We have our first supper: cheese and crab dip, tortillas, and Coca-Cola.

18:18     I notice a white light in a window across the street. It points directly at my front window.

18:22    The first light is joined by another, this one red and flashing. I begin to wonder if someone is trying to communicate with me.

18:23    I set up my tripod rear-window style to capture my neighbour's strange signals. What are they looking at?

18:33     Dog scratches at door; he needs to go out.

18:35     Neighbours continue to shine their lights towards my house. I speculate, out loud, that they are either investigating a leak in their window, or, trying to get my attention because they need help.

18:39     The shade is pulled down and the house across the street is again dark. I back away from the window.

18:45     Dog still needs to go out. Human and animal suit up, head outside.

18:48     Both return. The dog tried to run away from the wind, had to be carried home. He lost his frisbee.

19:00     We are able to see faint lights from the airport; the blizzard is weakening.

19:13     I need to use the bathroom but refuse to go upstairs alone in case the roof blows off and/or someone is hiding in the dark.

19:15     I am escorted to the bathroom.

19:40     First book finished, "Brain on Fire" by Susannah Cahalan.

20:03     Realize that the scented candle has been burning again for hours and I am now immune to its smell.

20:16     I have done nothing for the last 13 minutes.

20:22     We start watching "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" on a laptop. Thankfully, we had charged all of our battery-operated electronic devices. Except my toothbrush.

20:44     Our second supper: untoasted bread with margarine and half an avocado.

21:26     I notice I no longer have cell phone service.

22:13     Movie finished. Closing the laptop screen brings us back to black. We decide to go to bed.

22:15     I curse my "manual" (really just uncharged) toothbrush.

Day 2: January 8, 2014

02:41    I am stirred awake by the sound of vibrations. The house has settled but cell service is back and our phones are shivering.

05:00    Power is restored to most of Iqaluit. I am asleep.

07:45    Schools, city roads, and most government offices remain closed. The blizzard has not left.

07:59    My office is open. Work begins as usual at 08:30.

08:14     I am still in bed.

08:20     It is announced that my office is closed, making it an official city-wide shutdown. I am still in bed.

09:18    Cell phone service is lost.

10:29     The winds have died down and visibility has improved. I begin preparing to go back to work by taking a nap.

11:11     Cell service is back; all offices and schools will reopen this afternoon; skies are clear. The blizzard is over.

11:49     I finally charge my toothbrush.

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If you liked this post, make sure you watch this epic timelapse of the blizzard in our next post.