California Blizzard 2023 Lake Arrowhead life & family

Surviving the Lake Arrowhead Blizzard Alone // The Beginning

lake arrowhead coffee mug with FRIENDS logo font held up in the snow in front of the lake

It’s clear to me now that I SEVERELY underestimated the winter storm everyone was going on and on about… you know, the one I poked fun at in my last post, Memories Made in the Coldest Winter, which was exactly 3 weeks ago and the beginning of the storm… and now that title takes on more meaning than it did then… WAY MORE. And my only defense is that well, it WAS my only defense to simply dismiss it to help calm my own panic and anxiety of said storm, which according to my weather app, was due to last at least a weak.

I was actually also hoping that my blasé attitude towards the coming weather would somehow stop it from happening in the first place, hoping it might just blow over and not actually be THAT big of a deal. Did you see my pun there? 🤪 I’m hanging on by a thread, guys.

It should be noted, however, that MANY MANY times when we do prepare for a STORM in which everyone freaks out, buys out the local markets of food and supplies days before (which we did), buys salt, parks our cars accordingly with our wiper blades UP (which we also did), we end up with a mere 3inches of snow, and it’s a huge let-down, so it’s common to hear locals talking about the weather while also wearing shorts and flip flops in the snow, acting like nothing is happening (all the while preparing) because also, it’s California, and that’s how we are and it’s entirely possible that nothing will happen.

But that’s not what happened THIS time.

This time was a different story. THIS time, was one for the books. THIS time is one we will never forget. And because THIS time was so bad, this is going to take months and maybe even years to recover from, mentally, physically, emotionally, structurally and financially (for homeowners, businesses and business owners).

weather forecast app screenshot from lake arrowhead winter storm blizzard in the san Bernardino mountains

What began as somewhat “normal” winter snowfall quickly turned into a blizzard in a matter of days, where we had blizzard and snow storm warnings lasting until Saturday. The screenshot above was taken on Thursday the 23rd, after it had already snowed all day Wednesday (starting at around midnight).

I have tried to process this experience and write about it nearly every day since the storm began and quite literally have not been able to find the words. I even stopped writing in my daily journal I started last November because my brain couldn’t focus long enough to even hand-write letters and words. My last entry was on February 27th.

As this last week has finally settled down and become less intense, I can already hear my thoughts trying to trick me into thinking this hasn’t been a big deal, that I was overreacting, that it wasn’t THAT bad… and it’s only when I go through my photo diary and daily videos and feel my body react and tears start to well in my eyes as they squint to hold them back, that I know it was real.

* IF you want to see it happen in real time, check out my Blizzard 1 and Blizzard 2 highlights on Instagram as well as my reels.

Life as I knew it (as we all knew it) basically stopped at the end of February (2023) and my everyday normal turned upside down… from getting up and getting dressed and working and going about my “normal” day to changing out of layers and layers of soaking wet thermals and sweatpants and jackets and scarves and boots and never leaving my house without my shovel, only to realize I had no actual way out, was completely trapped, and my days spent outside shoveling were all futile come morning when the new snowfall buried them all in fresh feet of snow. FEET OF SNOW. Not inches, as we have been accustomed to… FEET.

In the next few days or maybe week, since I’m not sure how long this will actually take to get through, I’m going to try to post here and share my experience in writing and photos… I’m not sure how entertaining it will be, but I need to do it as a way of processing it so I know it was real. I can only hope anyone who does read it will find some value in my story.

I am not in ANY WAY claiming that my story is any worse or that I had it more difficult than anyone else living through this disaster, just that I was alone in my house (with only my dogs and my thoughts) and am going to share my particular experience with that. My only connection to the outside world besides FaceTime was Instagram, and thankfully it helped me feel less alone. All of YOU helped me feel less alone. So thank you 🙏 ☺️

So I’ll start here, Thursday morning, February 23rd, which was the first day of heavy snowfall I’d say, after Wednesday felt like a bit of normal winter snow… the calm before the storm, so to speak.

You can see in the photo above, the view directly out my front door, that the snow had been shoveled away from my front walkway and stairs up to the street by the HOA crew that takes care of all the pathways and streets (I’m in a gated community). Normally, they handle all the common areas and I only have to shovel my deck.

This was my deck at 9:14am on Thursday morning…

And below is the view from my living room window down to the pathway that leads to my office (below me) and the lake, which you can see a bit further in the distance.

The HOA usually shovels each morning for the full-time residents (like me) but doesn’t clear off the path down to the lake.

You can see about how much snow we had overnight by how much is covering the exterior walkway lights.

meadow bay north snow lakeshore in lake arrowhead february storm blizzard socal 2023

And this is what the lake looked like late afternoon on Thursday, the 23rd.

By Thursday afternoon, everything started to feel a little different… and by Thursday evening, although I was still feeling creative, reading and writing and in my “normal” state of mind, having no clue what the coming days would truly bring, I felt a hint of foreboding when the snow just didn’t stop.

Below is what my deck looked like around 7pm…

In the coming days, I would have to shovel it multiple times a day, but on this day it was only in the morning and then at midnight before I went to bed.

And this is what my deck looked like around midnight… I swear the snow wouldn’t stop. By the time I’d finish shoveling, there would already be a new fresh layer of white covering the area I just shoveled.

Late Thursday night, the snow looked so pretty on my front deck and walkway I thought it would be fun to get dressed up and shoot some photos… I was getting restless already because I think it was after midnight when I decided this was a good idea or maybe even closer to 2am. Though I am a night owl, even that is unlike me, so it’s clear “Storm Brain” was starting to set in. So for documentation purposes… here is my crazy lady in the snow look 😜

Like I said above, the HOA shovels this area in the mornings, so at this time you can see how much snow had accumulated throughout the day since the first photo of this area shoveled. They would come the next morning, Friday and do the same. And then I wouldn’t see them again for over 2 weeks.

I even went so far as to put eyeliner on and over-line my lips so they’d stand out in the dark photos in the snow 😂 I clearly had already lost my mind.

I’m wearing a vintage metallic silver dress from the ’70s layered OVER a lace dress, maybe from the same era or mid-’80s (because I thought it would help give it a bit more volume) -both thrifted, ages ago… velvet ankle boots, sequin belt (bow is in the back) and my black vintage coat, which was my grandma’s. I quickly realized that none of it really was visible in the dark snow so I shot a few in my closet.

And just a reminder, this was DAY 2 of the storm. When I was just starting to lose my mind 😉

Happy Thursday Lovecats!

* Find all my Lake Arrowhead BLIZZARD 2023 posts here (this is the first one)
* Find all my Style Posts here

Memories Made in the Coldest Winter

Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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