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Winter storm, 2009, on the rocks.

February 2, 2009

January in Arkansas is often mild and uneventful, but when he decides to bring it, old man Winter does not mess around. We were slammed last week by a crippling ice storm. Freezing rain and sleet thickly coated our part of the world, and we had panoramic views of the lovely glaze and its destructive wake. We and hundreds of thousands of others lost electricity for days. The ice brought down power lines, left big and small trees broken or uprooted, made roads impassable. The University closed, and my little family got a long, albeit dark and chilly, break.


We had it so much better than most: we have a fireplace, and our firewood stock lasted just through the outage. We moved into the living room and covered the open doorways to the kitchen and hall with heavy blankets, managing to keep it in the 60s for three days while the rest of the house fell close to freezing. Often we heard trees and large limbs hit the ground; a couple of times a minute we heard falling branches and icicles, which sounded like those crackly, sparkly fireworks that punctuate July 4th, though in a less celebratory sort of way.

Thanks to a fire-friendly cast iron skillet and our french press, we had the morning amenities, coffee and toast. We managed two fireplace suppers, too, one from ours and a second (for a change of pace, when it was safe to venture out) next door at my mother’s.



On Wednesday night, electricity showed up just in time for us to watch LOST. Then it went off again, and I felt stupid for silently wishing please just let the power come on so we can watch LOST in lieu of something more important or useful. If anyone ever gets a magic lamp and three wishes, it should not be me.

When it finally warmed up a little toward the end of the week, we had to stay inside again to avoid injury from the shower of sharp, heavy icicles prompted by the thaw. D braved those elements, grabbed the chainsaw and cleared our roads (I like that in a husband.).


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With power restored and temperatures more characteristic of an Arkansas winter (59° on Saturday), I spent Saturday outside with Jack and Sunday clearing out our basement. On one hand, most of last week passed as though it were one long day, and on the other it felt like hibernation. We were ready to be out of the house.

My dad, who lives a few miles from us and much further into the woods, is still without power and likely will be for at least another week. He lost countless big trees, a couple of which took down two electric poles in his yard. It wasn’t until Saturday that the ice was finally enough melted for him to cut his way out with the chainsaw, with plenty of time to get to my mom’s to watch the Superbowl.

I checked in the baby book last night and was shocked to find no entry for “baby’s first power outage” or “baby’s first scary winter storm.” I suppose this first-year event will be memorable enough without a commemorative sticker.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2009 11:14 pm

    What gorgeous shots! I’m having a hard time picking a favorite!
    Glad everyone made it to watch the superbowl 🙂

  2. February 2, 2009 11:30 pm

    Those pictures truly show the beaty and power of the ice.

  3. Melissa permalink
    February 3, 2009 1:41 am

    Awesome pictures! I am personally not a fan of the ice storm…too much chaos and unknown.

  4. February 3, 2009 1:50 am

    I, too, like the pictures, but not the consequences.

    I’m glad that all of you made it through safely!

    One of my brothers-in-law still doesn’t have power. They live up near Huntsville.

    We had firewood and our small generator sitting on the porch, with a full can of gas. Our camper also has a larger generator and it was sitting next to the house AND right next to several large pine trees that could have dropped limbs or fallen over on it. If we have another warning of an ice storm, the camper gets moved to the other side of the house where there is nothing that can fall on it.

    Fortunately, for all of our preparations, we only had about an eighth of an inch of ice and only one small branch was broken off one of the pines — and it didn’t hit anything.

    The good news is that winter is just about over. The bad news – spring storms 😦


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