Math IS Real Life : February 2016 Edition – Dealing with a “historic” snow storm

It’s the first Wednesday of February which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture to link back to this blog post


 A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by MissMathDork,


If you’ve followed the national (weather) news recently, you know that the Mid-Atlantic was hit by a pretty substantial storm January 22nd – 24th.  In fact, Winter Storm Jonas (when did they start naming the winter storms?!) was the largest winter storm recorded in many locations.   As you can see from the graphic below, our county was at the “eye” of the storm!  Yes, that does say 48 inches!


Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good snowstorm!  I made not one, but two huge pots of soup and we hunkered down for what was to be 3 days of snow.


By the end of the day Friday we had a few inches.  We kept up with the snow shoveling and were excited that we were ahead of the game.  Then we made the mistake of going to sleep Friday night!  When we woke up on Saturday morning, we had 2 feet of snow!  2 feet of snow in just over 10 hours of sleep!


This picture doesn’t completely do the next morning justice as our back yard is a virtual wind tunnel.  If you look in the back by the house you will see a 4 foot snow drift, while there is very little on the table and chair in the foreground.

Slide6Sadly, the wind tunnel in the back didn’t affect the driveway! (See the tiny walkway that was at one point dug out?!)


More views of what we woke to.  Again, wind tunnel….. 0″ snow right next to 5’+ snow drift.   The snow continued to fall all day Saturday and into the morning Sunday.  We ended up with about 42 inches of snow at our house.


The light pole in the above picture is 4 foot tall at the “branch”.


Our 8 foot “snow monster” drift outside Sunday morning from 2 different views…


The problem with getting so much snow so quickly isn’t that you can’t go anywhere…. it’s that our area of the East coast is not equipped for snow fall like this.  Where do we put the snow?  How does it get removed?

Let’s put this amount of snow into perspective:

My county is 321 square miles of land ( 8,948,966,400 sq feet).  The average snow fall was 3 feet of snow for the county ( 26,846,899,200 cubic feet).  An average snow weighs about 20 lbs per cubic foot….536,937,984,000 lbs of snow!   Where do you put all the snow?!

We spent Saturday digging out the driveway… only to have to re-dig it out on Sunday (and most of the day Monday!)


Even after we made it to the end, we realized it just didn’t matter.  The plow had not come through….


In our neighborhood the snow plow vendor ended up having wave their white surrender flag mid-day Saturday because you just don’t push 3 feet of snow out of the roads with a snow plow.  The sheer amount of snow (and the wind!) wasn’t allowing the company to keep up.


We finally had a backhoe come through on Tuesday to literally dig us out.  The county was out of school for 6 school days (10 days total counting weekends).  Many roads had to be dug out with backhoes and dump trucks.  The snow was taken to local lakes, and rivers to dump.

After the storm Governor Tomblin released some other interesting statistics

“The Department of Transportation began pre-treating roads days in advance and dispatched more than 1,000 Division of Highways trucks to clear primary, secondary and tertiary roads upon snowfall, spreading more than 22,000 tons of salt and putting in more than 13,000 hours of man-power.”

We’re now 11 days out from the storm and the snow is still mounded high around all the streets.  Grass is starting to show through in some areas, but mainly just a huge pile of not-so-clean snow.  As you can imagine, we’re totally snowed out!!  Two years worth of snow in 3 days is WAY too much for us!!    How much snow have you seen in your area this year?


  Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below!  Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!

Categories: #mirl, computation and estimation, geometry and measurement, and math is real life.


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