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