February 09, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

Buffalo had its first official blizzard since 1993, and I got to be in the thick of it. Specifically, I was at work, in the heart of downtown. Someone has to be manning the control room all the time, and it was my luck that my shift started at about the same time the storm did. While we were there, the rest of the building was closed, and all the office workers scurried out. The parking lot was empty expect for my car, the shift supervisor's car, and quite a few tons of snow. Soon there was only the snow, because the building has an enclosed loading bay for trucks, and the two of us pulled our cars in there to spare us digging them out later.

Safety-wise, we were fine. The building has multiple regularly-tested backup generators, and we had permission to raid the cafeteria's deli cooler for food. We were busy with work, though, as the storm was causing problems with lots of our branches. Customers were slipping and falling in parking lots, sprinkler pipes were bursting in attics, freezing rain was messing up walk-up ATMs, branches were closing early, all sorts of crazy stuff. The only consolation was that the weather was so bad, potential armed robbers were staying home.

As the night wore on, we each took a nap- the supervisor in the mother's room, and later me in the passenger seat of my car. I went with the car because it was padded and reclined, and I was plenty warm enough under the wool blanket and the sleeping bag I keep in the car. After sixteen hours, another console operator managed to get to work, so I was sent home. The poor supervisor ended up being there for 24 hours.

After those 16 hours at work, it took me triple the normal time to get home, driving on terrible roads. The storm was far from over. It was fortuitous that I'd bought new tires a few weeks earlier. Once home, I slept for about four hours, then got up and tried to get back to work again. I was scheduled to be back, and in my exhausted state I was regressing to some Marine behaviors, like a bull-headed willingness to do whatever necessary to complete the job.

After an hour of driving, I was less than a quarter of the way back to work. I kept re-routing myself because I kept running into closed roads. Eventually another bit of Marine training popped into my head, that of Operational Risk Management. The people at work had power and food, but there I was risking my life on the roads. So I turned around, went home, and went back to bed.

Posted by: Boviate at 10:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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