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Snow Case

By D. E. Harrison

Copyright 2010 by D. E. Harrison

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Snow Plowing

Chapter 2 Off Load the Case to Someone Else

Chapter 3 Frozen Bodies, They Do Walk Off

Chapter 4 Where to go Next

Chapter 5 After the Fire

Chapter 6 Review and Look Other Places

Chapter 7 The Beginning Two Weeks Before

Chapter 8 The fishing is over for the day.

Chapter 9 Case Closed.

About D. E. Harrison

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Chapter 1 Snow Plowing

It is the 52nd day of rain measuring over half of an inch in Seattle. The ducks are starting to look for high ground and the slugs are in boots. Even the web-footed Seattleites are ready to call it quits.

In the mountains, it has not stopped snowing. It is falling at the constant rate of an inch or more an hour. The fear of flooding will come later when it stops snowing and starts to rain in the mountains.

It is less than sixty miles from the mountain’s summit to the ocean. The rivers will crest twenty feet above flood stage and then return to a high river twenty-four hours later. There is little time to have the river spread out and lower the overall height of the flood. Those in the small flood planes have their houses built as a three story. The bottom level is emptied until the flood passes. Those in the house will be water locked for only twenty-four hours. All the livestock are moved into the higher hills for several days. This is just life in this country. This yearly flooding only enriches the soil on the farms. The current flooding with the snow falling if any will be in a few isolated urban areas.

Avalanche control is being used every day to keep Snoqualmie pass open east of Seattle. A large mounted artillery piece is at the summit. It will fire into the high, steep sides of the mountains. The snow comes roaring down the mountains onto the Interstate 90 freeway. The freeway here is eight lanes, four in each direction. The roadways are separated by several miles and a deep, deep canyon at the summit which is ten miles long. The roadways come close together after that.

On schedule, the freeway is closed in both directions and two state patrol cars drive in both directions to ensure the roads have been cleared of all traffic.

The state road people hear, “The east bound lanes are clear.”

In a minute, “The west bound lanes are clear.”

The avalanche crews get a radio message, “You are free to fire. Radio when it is all clear, out.”

The explosions will send down tons of snow onto the eastbound roadway. The snow has been so heavy the explosions bring snow down on both the east and west bound lanes at the summit. Usually, they close the west bound lanes, but they are then reopened for two-way traffic until the east bound lanes are cleared.

In an hour, the largest DOT snow removal equipment starts into the 15-foot high, mile long slide. Front loaders are used to start with at the edge of the slide. The snow goes over the edge into the one-mile deep canyon. When the front loader hit the solid 15-foot wall of snow, it is time for the huge snow blowers to start into the face of the slide. They eat their way into a 12-foot wide swath through the snow. They have four machines working on the same slide two from the east and two from the west. One machine follows the first and together they clear two lanes. The huge blades 14-foot tall cut through the snow and then blows it as high and as far as possible down into the canyon. The drivers can set a constant speed and just watch and stare. After some cleanup work, there is nothing but solid snow going into the blades.

The lead driver on the eastbound lanes screams into his mike. He stops the blades and hits the breaks at the same time.

"Charlie what is wrong?" Comes from the second unit operator Jack on his left and thirty-yards behind him.

Charlie shudders some, "I think I just hit a person."

The machine is clearing its throat of its remaining snow, when Jack sees what could be a piece of cloth blown out of the high stack.

Jack yells from the second blower, “What in the devil was that?”

Charlie hears his boss, John say, "Say again? Well, put it in neutral don’t turn it off and back away from the face. Jack hold your unit in ready, don’t turn it off. I am coming."

John is talking to himself as he leaves the ‘sheds’ and starts his jeep with chains on all four wheels.

He mutters as he gets his jeep in motion, “It is not possible he hit someone. We have been blasting and cleaning the roadway for more than two weeks. It must be just junk. Procedures say we halt.”

While waiting, Charlie gives his entire machine a quick check of the all channels he can see, nothing shows up. He waits for the boss.

John drives to the slide face and halts the two machines working on the slide from the other end of the west bound lanes. This snow is heavy, and the slides are so large, A single set of snow blowers from one direction could not get through the slide before the next avalanche scheduled or not.

At the east end of the slide he has several of the front loaders working the slide.

He has help to unload his snow mobile from his Jeep. He starts up the slide on his snow mobile and soon arrives at the west end of the slide. He leaves his snow mobile 100-yards from the snow blowers and hikes back to it.

Charlie is standing by his blower

John says, "We need this highway pass cleaned, open the conveyor channel to see if anything is in there. I don't care if it is a union job open the door or I will."

Five minutes later the driver pulls out a man's dress shoe. It looks new until Charlie finds part of the sock is still in the shoe.

A State Patrol Captain arrives from down the mountain. It has snowed almost another 2-inches since Charlie shut his snow blower down.

"What's the hold up?"

The boss John hands him the shoe and tells the Captain, “Look for yourself.”

John tells Charlie the driver "I want every maintenance man here now. Bring those from the sheds and call in the emergency people from home. See if the equipment people have anyone available?”

John turns to the police Captain, “Captain, do we tear both blowers apart now or what? I need this highway open."

The Captain says, “John, I do not dare to put the machines back in service, have the front loaders work the face. We need to inspect every load before it goes over the edge."

John shakes his head in disbelief, "Captain, right now it is snowing almost a foot an hour. I can barely keep up with the road surfaces we have cleared."

The Captain shakes his head, “Sorry, let me call headquarters I can't chance chewing up a body.”

The State Patrol pushes the problem up the line.

The Director of DOT says. "That shoe could have been in there weeks ago or just dropped from a car and was picked up. We keep plowing. Those roads must be opened."

John gives the order to begin again the snow removable on the east bound lanes. The Snow blowers are warmed up and are put back to work on the east and west faces of the slide. John has a front loader retrieve his snow mobile from the slide and is watching as the snow blowers again start into the 15-foot face of the slide.

Several feet further into the slide, Charlie the driver hits emergency off in the lead snow blower. Everything freezes; such an action usually takes two to four hours to restart the machine. Loud sirens are shrieking the emergency power off action.

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