On Jan 28-29, 2009 Arkansas, Kentucky, parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and other surrounding areas were hit with a fierce ice storm. Here in Calif it made the news once or twice and then disappeared. A week after that I got a call from my friends in Arkansas. They just got phone service, but were still without power and were looking at at least another week without power, and that turned out to not be an exaggeration.
The full impact of such an experience can not be carried off in the media, but it was certainly underreported here. Now I don't get CNN, but I get CNN news alerts via email and there was hardly a mention of it.
The night of the 28th was completely unreal as ice was falling from the sky and accumulating on the trees and power poles and transformers. When the weight of the ice became too much for the object being piled up on, it would splinter, crack or just explode. It felt like bombs were going off. They've been there around 20 years and have never been through anything quite like it. 90% of the power grid was impacted.
A sobering reference is here:
though that link no longer works
Here are some closely related ones:
And alarming images like this one can be found at
And my friends? It took them over a week to clear the trees from the driveway so they could get out. This is only after being imprisoned in the house for a couple of days because it was just too hazardous to go out because of falling ice.
This is John standing in front of their driveway that you can no longer see and the downed trees were much worse further back:
They lost a lot of trees and many more were damaged:
The other more heroic effort was to keep the birds and the fish alive. They lost a lot of fish as they had to hand pump oxygen into the tanks. Furthermore their primary source of heat became the wood stove (after they had all piled into a much smaller part of the house) and the parrots skin dried badly in the lack of humidity so they had to be misted which must of puzzled them no end.
Fortunately my friends have survived the ordeal (there were 50 or so deaths having to do with falling ice, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning) now have power and are enjoying hot showers again. What's alarming is that there are some still without power according to the Power Cooperatives website. This is not for lack of trying. Some 700 people were involved in the restoration of miles of downed power poles.
When they got power back I got this celebratory missive:
i HAVE POWER!!!!!!! i AM BACK ON LINE!!!!!! i AM GOING TO GET TO TAKE A BATH!!!!!!!! AND COOK!!!!!!! AND HAVE ICECUBES!!!!!!! AND DRINK WATER THAT DOESNT TASTE LIKE PLASTIC!!!!!!
i AM SO HAPPY.
Sometimes the most impressive of dramas are going on not very far away.
I lived in New York one year when there was an ice storm. People couldn't drive and were abandoning their cars by the side of the road if there was someplace they could walk to. Everything ground to a halt--much different from heavy snowfall. But I'll tell ya, it was really beautiful after the ice stopped falling. Two weeks without power in winter--wow.
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