Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Grandmother Ice Storm

Several days ago I said I had the mother of all ice storms. Boy, was I wrong. That storm was just a toddler. Two days after that storm I had the ancestor of all ice storms. I have only now gotten power back, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Tens of thousands are still without power in this area and likely won’t have power for as long as two more days. I was out of power for two days and that was bad enough.

My first photo today was taken yesterday, after the road up to Roundtop was cleared. Today, ice still hangs on many of the trees, and trees are still breaking from the weight of the ice that covers them. The trees worst hit were the ones that still had some of their leaves hanging on. And conifer trees (more about that tomorrow, I think). I am still about half-expecting to lose power again, either from more breaking trees or from the ice falling off the trees.

My driveway looks like a battle zone—if the war was fought with ice. The ice looks like inches of shattered glass covering the mountain. It sounds like glass shattering too when a tree breaks and the ice hits the ground. I have been fortunate, as I had no damage at the cabin, though I had at least one close call.

A tree fell no more than a foot from the front of the car, covering the hood with leaves and small twigs (looked like a bad haircut) but not damaging the car or the cabin. Larry, my neighbor and manager of Roundtop’s paintball, brought up the backhoe to pull the downed tree out of my driveway and clear our lane of branches. I had many branches and limbs fall on the roof of the cabin and roll off its slope. If I never hear that sound again, it will be fine with me. Often, I heard a tree crack before I heard the sound of the branch falling on my roof. Now I cringe at the sound of a tree cracking, waiting for what is to follow and wondering how bad it will be, until the branch lands somewhere. The driveway almost looks like a hedgerow, lined as it is now with branches and limbs that I have tossed out of the driveway and off to the side.

Living without power for two days in early winter isn’t something I’d recommend. I did have enough water, food, warm sleeping bag, etc. in my emergency kit. I have a hand-cranked emergency radio, but found I couldn’t get the kind of emergency information I wanted to have. Too many stations carried on business as usual and if they listed locations of emergency shelters or reports on when areas might get power back, I never heard it. The local ABC station was off the air for 2.5 days and has only just come back on the air this morning. The road in and out of Roundtop was blocked for a while by all the downed trees covering the road. Once I did get power back, the information on the local TV stations was better and more robust than what the radio stations carried, but even that isn’t helpful unless you have access to TV, and referring people to Web sites isn’t very useful unless you have an internet connection.

All in all, it was a mess but everything seems to be improving for now. Once I got power back, I saw an interview with a 104 year old lady (she looked like she was in her ‘80’s) who was in a local shelter. She said she’d never had to leave her home before and had never seen anything like this ice storm in her entire life. I hope that means I'll never see another one like it.


Lynne said...

I'm glad you came through it OK. It sounds like you were very well prepared. Still, two days of no heat...
No music would be tough for me-

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: Yes, I'm fine. I have to say that I didn't think about music at all during the two plus days I was out of power.

Carolyn H.

Cathy said...

Whoa!! You had it bad over the weekend. Good thing luck was on your side. All I got was a lot of sleet and a little bit of snow.I rather have a foot of snow than ice.

How did your dogs do with the storm? With the branches hitting and rolling off your roof, I'm sure one them bark at it.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: It was a wild ride for a while, but I'm getting close to being back to normal (though still behind with my holiday preparations). Yes, the dog(s) barked when the limbs hit the roof, though by the end of the storm, they were only barking at the loudest of the limbs. Guess, they were already getting used to it. They would startle, too, when the limbs hit.

Carolyn H.