Recalling the Blizzard of '05

It's hard to believe that years have passed since the Blizzard of '05 knocked on our front doors ...

and then proceeded to cover them with snowdrifts!

And it's rare that we of the 21st century get a chance to participate in a piece of Cape Cod history - a piece of history that will probably be recorded in books written years from now. But, in fact, that's just what we did from January 22-24, 2005 -- we participated in a moment in history.

Each of us will recall the events of those days, and of how we learned the meaning of the term "snowbound."  Each of us has his or her own tale of where we were and how we managed during those days and nights filled with infinite whiteness and ferocious winds that seemed to come from some distant Arctic place.

My family and I were racing across New York State on the morning of Jan 22 and then along the Mass Pike during the afternoon - the second leg of our journey back from Indiana. My brother-in-law called us periodically on the cell to alert us of the storm's progress, which was chasing us like some monster just beyond the range of our rearview mirror. By the time we reached the Bourne Bridge, the first snowflakes of the Blizzard of '05 began to fall. Twenty-five minutes later we were home, just in the nick of time. 

The Portland GaleStorms and Cape Cod are certainly no strangers. Pilgrim William Bradford wrote of the Great Hurricane of 1635 in his journal, claiming that the storm was stonger than anything seen around these parts by English and Native alike. According to Bradford, the storm brought with it a 20-foot storm surge, causing the Natives to climb into trees to avoid being swept away. The October Gale of 1841 and the Portland Gale (see the Boston Herald report on right) of November 1898 were powerful weather events that caused much damage on land and on sea, creating widows throughout the Cape. Hurricanes of 1938 and 1944 slammed the peninsula, bringing more destruction and loss of life. The Blizzard of '78 altered the Cape's coastline, and washed Henry Beston's "Outermost House" out to sea where the waves broke the little cottage to bits. And of course, for those of us here 15 years ago, Hurricane Bob did its share of destruction - downing trees, damaging homes and businesses, and tossing boats ashore like so much driftwood.

Jack Sheedy

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