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The Blizzard of '03s Damage To 3 Greenhouses

5-6' drifts everywhere. Total snowfall was over 31". View from the front porch of the Garden Center's Main Retail Building.


With the weight of hundreds of tons of snow on the left side of GHs 2-3-4, those sides caved-in, pulling the fronts and ends inward.


It took a huge $85,000 John Deere tractor to plow out the complex.


Looking out the Main Greenhoue's side door, I could see the caved-in roofs of two of the three GHs. Damn!


Even before we dug-out the 6 Greenhouses, I could see the damage through the doors; steel bent and twisted and caved.


The is what a "normal" 30' x 100' quonset house looks like inside.


The inside of Retail Greenhouse #2, with the left side completely caved-in.


The inside of Retail Greenhouse #3, with the left side completely caved-in.


The inside of Retail Greenhouse #4, with the left side completely caved-in.


3/8" Mil-Spec extruded steel bent like spaghetti. The damage was a mirror image in all 3 houses.


The caved left side of GH3, covered with hundreds of tons of snow. Heater vent exhaust stack in foreground.


View of the bow ribs on the right side, creased and bent by the overwhelming weight of many tons of snow.


First, we shovelled all the remaining snow from the crushed roofs. Hard to see the man in green jacket standing on the deflated plastic and shadecloth, isn't it? Gives you a sense of size of these massive greenhouses.


Then, we reversed the two 6'x6' ventilation fans to suck air into the houses, inflating the plastic. Next, we removed the damaged steel, hammered enough pieces to form 4 ribs to hold-up the plastic. We used 2" x 8" lumber to brace all rib bows, just in case we got additional snow. And we fired-up the LPG-powered forced air heaters to melt any incoming snow or ice.


Some of the radically-bent and twisted 18 bow ribs from just one greenhouse.


Greenhouse 4 resurrected.


Greenhouse 3 resurrected.


Greenhouse 2 is on the way to re-inflation.


Hard to see the dump truck on the left near the GH, but it's also filled with bent steel; all in all, about 3 tons in the pile and truck.


Other pictures from the Garden Center




1996 - 2006. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
John Shelley's Garden Center & Nursery, Inc.
13579 Winterstown Road, Felton, PA. 17322-8522
vox: (717) 246-1414 1-800-828-3405 (Pa-Md) fax: (717) 246-2170
Last updated 8/30/07. 135,115 visitors since 1/26/03.