Snowmageddon update: good news and bad news

There’s a Jeep Patriot buried underneath all that snow.

We sincerely want to thank you all — so many people have reached out through Messenger, texts and emails to check on us. Part of the reason for writing this update is to let you all know the status of things and how we are doing. Its difficult to respond to each person individually, so please be patient if you don’t hear from me immediately. We’re dealing with a lot at the moment.

To say the snowstorms that rocked the San Bernadino mountains in Southern California were truly historic is an understatement. Now, almost two weeks later, residents are finally able to make progress to dig out, assess damages, and begin to put their lives back together. 

Structure fires ignited by gas leaks from buried gas meters and lines destroyed at least five homes in the community. Firetrucks have not been able to access those homes to battle the blazes and because fire hydrants are buried in drifts up to 14 feet high, firemen have to first dig them out to access them. As I sit here writing this update, I can see smoke from yet another house fire across the way and there are news helicopters hovering above. My heart goes out to everyone because there cannot be a single person up this mountain who has not, in some way, been affected by this catastrophic event. 

Two of the three local grocery stores were “red tagged;” meaning they were either deemed unsafe to enter because of the compromised roof or in one case, the roof caved in and destroyed the entire store; only four outer walls were left standing. All total, Lake Arrowhead received somewhere between 9 – 10 feet of snow. The post office has been closed for 13 days. Many local businesses have yet to reopen. 

As for us, with chains on our tires, Kent and I made it down the mountain late last week to restock supplies. But before we could drive back up the mountain, the government declared a state of emergency and closed ALL roads leading to and from the mountain communities. No one was allowed up or down. The outrage and angst this caused local residents was intense! Families could not reach loved ones utterly trapped inside their homes. Food trucks and caravans loaded with humanitarian supplies such as medicines, baby formula, diapers, insulin, and basic food items, were turned away and people and pets were left starving without the ability to get help. We were stuck at the bottom of the mountain and ended up spending nights in hotels waiting for the roads to be reopened. Mr. Kim left on a business trip this past Sunday, and I stayed behind moving from hotel to hotel because they were oversold due to so many people being displaced by the storms — both the mountain snow and torrential rainfall in lower elevations which caused a lot of flooding.

Josh had remained at the cabin with the cats and rationed food by revisiting former college habits of eating ramen noodles. Truly, he had enough food although he had long since run out of things such as bread, milk, juice, eggs, fresh veggies and fruit. 

First, the good news

Finally, armed with proof of residency, I was able to drive up the mountain yesterday fully stocked with bags of groceries. 

Looking up toward Lake Arrowhead from the bottom of the mountain. Have you ever seen so much snow in SoCal?

When I finally arrived at the top of the mountain along the Rim of the World Highway (Rt. 18) I was shocked by what I saw. Damage to homes — IF you could even see them underneath the mounds of snow — was immense. Roofs caved in. Decks collapsed. Fallen trees. In many cases, the snow was so high you could only see the second story of a house. There were hundreds of people working to dig out. I’ve honestly never personally witnessed anything like it before. After I exited Rt. 18, some roads were only plowed to one lane. But at least most roads were plowed and I made it back up to the cabin on our access road. 

It was such a relief to be home and I was overjoyed to give Josh and all the cats hugs and kisses! 

Next, the not-so-good news

But, it wasn’t long before we realized a big problem. I looked out the back door and saw this:

The railing of the deck was sagging!

Sure enough, our newly re-built deck had buckled under the extreme weight of all the snow! From the view beneath the deck from my studio windows we saw two of the three support posts and the main support beam had fractured and broken! 

Josh quickly went to work and singlehandedly cleared more than half of the snow off the deck before it got too dark.

By moving the snow off the deck and away from the house, we feel IF the deck collapses, our hope is it will fall away from the house and away from the generator and gas meter and gas and water lines directly below.

There are power lines which come up the side of the hill from the main street below and attach to the house underneath the deck. If the deck falls, it will take out those power lines. Plus, the deck connects to our side walkway to the main (and only accessible) door to the cabin. Believe me, my first phone call was to our insurance company to file a claim! Please be assured, we’re taking proper precautions and making safety the top priority.

May I tell you about Josh?

Would you please indulge me for a moment while I praise this amazing guy who is our son? He has been up here for the past two weeks working tirelessly EVERY SINGLE DAY to not only shovel thousands upon thousands of pounds of snow from our parking deck, walkway, and the access road, but on his own he volunteered his time and energy to dig out the gas meters of several of our neighbors’ homes to ensure they are uncovered with no gas leaks which might spark fires!

He personally felt so bad about the buckling of our deck but we have assured him over and over it wasn’t the priority. Digging out front doors and cars and access to the road so escape routes could be established was far more important than our deck. Truly, no parents could be prouder of his hard work, dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without him being here during this horrendous weather event.

So there you have it….the most current update from our little corner of the world. Many of you have reached out to us saying that Lake Arrowhead and the San Bernadino mountains have made national news recently. Please continue to pray for those who are still without power, food, or who have not yet been able to reach family or the pets they left behind. Our hearts break for those hurting, starving, or who have lost their homes. 

As for us, while I admit to being truly battle-weary from all the struggles and upheaval we’ve gone through in recent months, we’re on our way to a new and exciting future. It will take time, but we’ll get there. We’re leaning in to our faith and finding peace amidst the storms of life. We all go through storms; no one is immune. But we can choose how we respond to those storms and we’re choosing to take things day by day and look to the Lord for help and endurance. 

Stay tuned for some very happy and exciting updates in a few weeks and I’ll continue to post status updates in the days ahead. Thank you all for your prayers and concern. We feel them and appreciate each and every one of you for caring about us. Your thoughts, love and concern have lifted our spirits so much. God bless you! 

  1. Glad to read you and the family are safe. You and Kent did a great job raising your boys. Stay safe.

  2. Thank you for the update and continued prayers for those affected by the storm. Glad you have Josh with you.

  3. So glad the end to this catastrophe seems near. Wishing you a painless and speedy recovery from it all!!

  4. Praying for all who are suffering around the World right now, Including everyone in your area!

  5. Holy smokes!!!

  6. First and foremost I’m glad to here that you are both safe. Your son is amazing. I love when an emergency comes how kids step up to the plate. Keep us posted on how things are. Sending prayers for you and all around you

  7. Thanks for the update. I was wondering how you were making out. Stay safe and hope to see you in Paducah.

  8. Thank God for Josh and what he managed to indeed the 2 so happy to read this and know everyone of you are safe and sorry for those who lost their homes but hopefully not their lives.good to see these pics and have an update.prayers to you all and yo all your neighbors…

  9. Thank you for the update…hang in there, we’ll send some East Coast aka Virginia warmth your way!

  10. I am so happy and thankful you made it back up to your house driving through the snow. Josh and your kitties I’m sure are happy you are too! You can talk about your son all you want .. he is an amazing young man. He went far above and beyond clearing the deck and helping neighbors dig out snow around the gas meters and what ever else without obligation. I am so proud of him for you and I know Mr Kim is too. Y thank you for keeping us updated. Huh snd love ❤️

  11. I can’t be there to physically help but I can pray you and the other victims. I am doing that. Gather strength from the caring of others.

  12. I’ve been following the problems with the San Bernadino mountains. I would spend time as a child in Strawberry Flats and Blue Jay, and then later, summers with a friend at their place in Arrowhead. It has always been a beautiful area. I feel so badly about those affected by the horrible weather conditions in California. It’s definitely not what they are used to. I pray that things start to get better for all those involved.

  13. By the way…San Diego is a lovely place to live…lol… glad you have managed to come through this ordeal with your sanity intact. This past year has been a doozy for you…just when you thought things would get better, they got worse. At this point, it looks like the only way now is up… my mother had a little sign in her kitchen, “Seven times down…eight times up.” You can do this…Rock on!!!

  14. Oh Kim my heart breaks for you and all who are effected by this crazy weather. You need to come up with a quilt “snowmegedan”. May the lord be with you all.

  15. Praying for you all

  16. Prayers that you will have a fast recovery from all the snow and difficulties caused by the inclement weather. I live in Alabama and our weather is constantly changing, one minute there is sunshine, the next a tornado warning.
    Our trust is in a Holy God who is always there for us. God Bless and I hope your next message is bright and cheerful.

  17. I had no idea! We are not hearing about this on our news!! So glad you all are safe. Yes, Josh is a blessing! Prayers will now ho up for quick deliverance! Thanks for the amazing photos and update.

  18. We’ve been think about you guys… hopefully it will get better.

  19. Oh my goodness! What a mess. My heart goes out to those folks losing their homes. It’s crazy to think of how destructive something so “magical” as snow can be. Thanks for the update! I’m glad the kitties are good. Your son is a real man and the world needs more of that.

  20. You and your family are certainly in our prayers. Especially for Josh who has shared his remarkable time, talents, and strength with others. Many hugs to you!

  21. I’m sorry it’s been such an ordeal that is still happening. Prayers coming your way. Stay safe.

  22. Just unbelievable! We made it through the Hurricane Harvey disaster and came out even better on the other side, but going through it was rough. Praise God you made it back home and that Josh is okay! I’ve been SO concerned! Hugs & prayers for all of you and your neighbors . Hang in there! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️❤️

  23. Dear Kimberly: it’s so good to hear how you and your family are faring in this unexpected winter. What a blessing to have such a wonderful son; you and Mr. Kim must have been excellent parents. And thank the Good Lord that your deck sagged first, to give warning, instead of just falling away – truly the Lord is with you! May He continue to watch over you in this season. <3

  24. So glad you are safe, been waiting for an update! Whew,
    Hugs and prayers ❤️

  25. Oh my word. I feel terrible that I didn’t even realize you were back in the US. God bless Josh and all of you. In my prayers. Big hugs.

  26. I am so incredibly happy you are back home, and made it there safely. Clearly, Josh has been a God-send to you during this time and to neighbors as well. What a wonderful, caring young man. Prayers have been answered, yet prayers will continue for you and the mountain community.

  27. Thank you Kimberly for taking the time to let us all know that you are lol safe and doing ok. Things will get better and one day this will make great stories to tell the grandkids about, …but not yet. I’m praying for you and your community that things will get back to normal quickly. A deck can be replaced, ask me how I know, but not lives, so I’m very happy you are all safe. Until we meet again, take care. ❤️❤️🦞

  28. I have been in Mexico since Thursday and am just home again. I was relieved to read your update. I am so sorry about the deck but glad you didn’t have more damage. What a blessing to have Josh there! Your positive spirit is inspiring.

  29. So glad things are improving. I’ve been following your posts and was concerned when you could not get back up the mountain to your son. You should be proud of him! Sounds like he was a great help to your neighbors.

  30. Kimberly, I am so happy to hear that you all have managed to get through the terrible storm and its aftermath. Sending you strength. Josh was with you at the right time, for sure. He sounds like an outstanding young man. I know you and Kent are proud.
    Your writing reminded me of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from Carousel…”when you walk through a storm, hold your head up high”…and as per your usual, you have.
    Much love to you, my friend.

  31. So glad you are ok! And yes, your son is amazing!

  32. I’m so thankful you were able to get back to your home with supplies and that you and your family are safe. Continued prayers for you and those impacted by this storm. God bless.

  33. After a fire consumed most of my home 30 years ago, I then experienced all the adversity you are describing. I surfaced and thrived.. Objects mean little to me now. Stay strong! Your smile will return.

  34. Thank you for this wonderful update. We have been watching the news, seeing storm after storm come through. Had no idea of the fires destroying homes. I had been wondering how long it took before you were able to get back to your home and family. Thank the powers that be that you are safe. Hugs to you, family and fur babies.

  35. Glad your okay, take one day at a time, stay safe, personal safety is most important, homes cans be repaired

  36. Thank you for the update. You, Mr Kim, and Josh have been on my mind and in my prayers. I’ve been sharing your posts with our hosts here in Florida. Pray you don’t get more snow and your deck stays standing until you can get it reinforced and you all stay safe and well. Prayers for all affected.

  37. Oh my, what an ordeal for all the people up in the mountains. I hear about it every day on the news since I’m in San Diego. Thank God for keeping you and the family safe and so fortunate to have Josh with you. Hopefully the deck won’t cause any further damage. Praying the storm coming tomorrow and Saturday will not cause more havoc in your community. Hang in there and sending lots of prayers❣️

  38. Thanks.

  39. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  40. So glad you have Josh to help you, he is amazing. I didn’t know you live in the mountains where all the snow fell.

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