East Providence, Rhode Island
I lived at Smith just below St. Augustine's at the time. I remember light snow on the way to school, lots of wind. Then by 11am, heavier accumulation and near white-out conditions. We were not allowed out for lunch, and by 1pm, pickup/release was for all those willing to venture out into it.
It took the RIPTA bus about an hour to go five miles (coming home from Classical). We got kicked off at River Avenue and Smith, about 3 or 3:30pm. At that point he could go no further—too many abandoned and stalled cars. The driver saw it as his last chance to hang a left on River and attempt a return to downtown. "Good Luck" and "get home safe" (or words to that effect) was the advice as mostly students and seniors climbed off into the snow (who else really rides the bus?). Most of the seniors ended up with one or more kiddos detouring to see them home, some as far as Douglas Drug in North Providence. Today there'd be multiple suits vs. the state claiming abandonment, but back then I'm sure everyone made it home okay and was more than happy for it.
All the adventurous kids wanted out. I wanted to cross the field at LaSalle to the back ponds. Half way across I was seriously worried; the wind-hardened frozen crust was a factor, and it was snowing again. I abandoned my quest, instead seeking refuge at a girl's house near Elmhurst park.
I remember losing heat and electricity, and heat thereafter was provided only by the gas oven which warmed two rooms. I still have a gas oven. I remember fondly people paying me $20 to shovel a single-width access to the street, and $50 adding the driveway. The market fell out by the third or fourth day when teenage groups of three to four took over the industry. I remember the main streets acting as pedestrian thoroughfares, but not until two or three days after the storm.
It was the first time I ever saw a snowmobile, being originally from New York City, and this storm being the largest since we had moved. First time also I had ever seen National Guard vehicles at work in the streets (instead of in a parade).
Originally posted in the alt.rhode_island newsgroup, December 6, 2002, and February 14, 2002.