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Nor’easter Stella Slams into New England and The Old Motor

The National Weather Service snow accumulation issued for us here in Vermont for winter storm “Stella” is: “12 to 24 inches with locally higher amounts of up to three feet across higher terrain in Southern Vermont” (which is right where The Old Motor is located). “Snowfall rates of two to four inches per hour at times today.”

What we are experiencing is an old-fashioned “Nor’easter.” Wikipedia defines these storms as “a macro-scale cyclone.” “Nor’easters are usually accompanied by very heavy rain or snow, and can cause severe coastal flooding, hurricane-force winds, or blizzard conditions.”

It had already begun here outside of the workshop at 5:30 am this morning when the day began early because of it. As I write this at 3 pm over a foot and a half of snow has already fallen, and it has now picked up in intensity, and the wind is driving it is sideways with gusts of up to 30 mph.

Based on what may be in store for us here it is likely that we will lose our power and internet connection, so tomorrow’s feature is being posted this evening before that might happen. But don’t worry about us if it does – we use wood stoves for heat, water is available at the farm across the road, and we have a circa 1910 acetylene lighting setup to brighten things up a bit.

Included here below is a unique an interesting Caterpillar Tractor promotional video unseen here before, showing snow plowing scenes from around the country and Canada with the Company’s crawler tractors. This feature also contains a series of four mid-fifties snow plowing photographs courtesy of the Vermont VTrans along with a charming early image of a Model “T” Ford snowplow rig courtesy of the Boston Public Library 

You can also view photos of snow plows and snow blowers and a pair of exceptional Snow Plowing Films from the late 1930s, with Walter Snow Fighter trucks on the Tug Hill Plateau in Oneida County, New York known for its record snowfalls.

  • This interesting film shows snow removal operations using Caterpillar tractors in locations across the country and Canada. Included is a number of cars and a rare Wills Sainte Claire.

  • The same Walter Snow Fighter with a large V-plow seen in the lead image, this time with Vermont’s Green Mountains in the background.

  • A smaller truck at speed with a V-plow pushing snow out of the way which will provide room for later snow storms.

  • Another Walter Snow Fighter equipped with framework for using a wing plow.

  • And finally a City of Boston, MA, Model “T”Ford fitted with a tractor attachment and a manually operated snow plow rig.

31 responses to “Nor’easter Stella Slams into New England and The Old Motor

  1. Another ‘fake’ media story down here on Long Island. Four inches of snow followed by sleet instead of the forecast 12 to 18″.

    Heavy stuff, be careful. JB

    • It is still dark here this morning at 6 am but as of 8 pm last night it was still snowing and we had as much as 1.5 feet of snow. It was pretty wild up here and the DPW was using a grader to plow the roads out here in the hills.

      • Saw 30 inches at our house in northeastern Pa. The 400 ft. Driveway takes me a little time to get out of but, thanks to my well maintained snow fighting equipment out and about. The township and DOT had a little more trouble.

    • We had a little more snow on western long island where I am at the Nassau/Queens border. But the sleet has caused major ice conditions, it is really slippery out there under foot. If it warms up at all it will start to melt off; but the electric heat in the garage is keeping my 40 Roadmaster conv sedan warm and will see the PSEG invoice at the end of the month go up, but it is what it is. Staying inside and reorganizing my pre war Packard literature collection.

      • Queensland Australia, my old Jeep has a 750 Holley and no choke, its never been so cold that it doesnt start first turn, but I saw frost once , Stay indoors where its tropical.

  2. We’re getting tomorrow’s weather for you here in NE Ohio.

    Plan on another day of Netflix and wind chill. Only a few inches on the ground, but it’s coming in sideways.

    • For sure..We have more drifting snow vs. ground accumulation in Medina County due to the high winds causing 5 degree F wind chills . Stay safe everyone !!

  3. Vermonters are tough, so no worry here. Great pics, but really wonder how effective that Model T was, especially in wet, heavy snow. On YouTube you can find some great vids on Snowplow trains, real beasts! Any around you David? Keep warm and safe!

    • Check out the drive axle on the Model T. The car looks short because the rear wheel is driven by a cog on the inner rim. That plus the reduction of T slow gear would make for great torque multiplication. True, however, this setup is not for big jobs. I’d give it a good go.

        • It looks like that T used one highly skilled operator to steer and drive the T and likely a much bigger and less skilled operator to armstrong the plow up and down. The driver’s name is lost to history but I’m thinking the less skilled operator was at least 250 lbs including his winter gear and has at least one surviving descendant named Bubba or Big Larry.

          The total weight on the rear axle probably matched the other rated and practical capacities of the rig.

    • Terry, I LOVED “Katy and the Big Snow” as a kid. ( that and Mike Mulligan’s Steamshovel) It was my favorite story. It was written in 1943, and is still popular today. I remember the “facts”, “55 horsepower at the drawbar”, “”diesel engine”, ( oh boy) “5 speeds forward, 2 speeds back”,”turns around in one place”. Many years later, while actually operating one, it didn’t have near the glitz Katy had.

  4. Oh Boo-hoo, we get “light snows” like that all the time here in N.Wisconsin,,,,just kidding, truth be known, we rarely get anything here. Last really big snow I remember was in the late 80’s. In a more real sense, I do live near the UP of Michigan, and they have BIG snows like this all the time. It’s not uncommon to have snowbanks as high as buildings into April along the lake. Why, it’s probably snowing there right now. Large operation snow removal and the machines they use, always fascinated me ( not enough to actually do it, though) The UP has an incredible history of big snows, and how they got rid of it( or more accurately, moved it around)
    Hang in there, it’s supposed to be in the 50’s here this weekend, be careful with those unforgiving snow blowers.

    • Oh, premium gas with lead substitute really gives those snow blower engines some extra oomph. I’d suggest nitromethane, but at over $100 a gallon, just use premium.

  5. Chicago gets big snows once in a while, especially NW of the city. That’s why we live in Georgia now.
    No snow this year, but it has been cold for us, a low of 24 the other night. That means my blueberries are done for, and it also means GA blueberries will be scarce. You probably don’t know that GA produces the most blueberries in the US.

    That said, we had a big Case tractor with stout plow to move the snow around.

  6. I remember seeing sidewalk plows growing up in Rochester, NY. Now we live about 20 miles from Snoqualmie Pass,WA so it was fun to see that part of the film.

  7. Oh, get real: —With the Model “T” ? Three pedals: L to R: Low band / Direct drive clutch; Middle band: Reverse; Right band: Brakes! This means that the T Engine’s 20 horsepower in order to be “effective” — would require miles of Holding the left foot pedal down , almost all the way — to Low Gear Band- to- drum contact — and holding your foot there— for hours at a time, —while slowly plowing. This indicates an un-awareness of the weight of snow ! It might work for a 1″ to 2″snowfall, depending if the snow was wet or dry. I respect the Model “T” Ford & TT Ford. I would not recommend either —unless one had all day to clear a small amount of snow! This is the opposite of “using a cannon to kill a gnat”. This is a gnant dragging around a cannon. Edwin W.

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