We’d had two or three days warning for this storm. It was hard to take the warnings seriously because of all the other occasions when storms had simply moved around our town. The sunny 68*F day on Wednesday, January 27th also didn’t help us grasp what was coming.
This time, the weather folks were right.
I was thankful that we’d heeded the warning and had stocked our pantry with food that didn’t require cooking. We’d also made sure that both vehicles were filled with gas, just in case we needed it. A couple days ahead, I’d made dinners that had leftovers so that we had “real” food that was already cooked but didn’t necessarily need to be heated.
Thursday morning…I was up early to listen to the radio to see if the boys had school. It had been called off and the rain was already beginning. I looked at the weather channel radar and there it was…this huge pink mass coming right for us. It was a bit of an ominous feeling seeing that. Precipitation covered the entire local area…green where it was still just rain…and pink…a LOT of pink…indicating the freezing rain.
I started taking pictures around 10am…when the ice was beginning to noticeably form on every exposed surface.
At around 11am, we lost electricity. That had happened before...during past storms…but only for a few hours…so we had little concern over that at this point.
Fifteen minutes later, we had our first tree casualty…a branch in the front yard gave way and crashed to the ground. It was the first of MANY to fall before the end of this storm.
Throughout the day we watched the rain fall in between attempts to find things to do that didn’t require electricity. The first day without power wasn’t too terribly bad as far as heat went…we still had some residual heat left in the house. However, boredom and fear were never far from sight…
At times we would venture outside to see what was happening out there…and there was beauty to be found even in the midst of the storm:
The power outage made life interesting as we searched the house for a radio that worked using battery power (thankfully Josh had won such an invention at a school fundraiser…and we had just enough batteries for it) and flashlights, lanterns, and candles to prepare for the dark night ahead. We were very thankful for the gas fireplace which became our only source of heat for the duration. My feelings of guilt over all the unused Yankee Candle tea lights that had been stashed in the laundry room cabinets dissipated quickly as we used nearly every box before power was restored. :)
We all slept in the living room in front of the fireplace. It was not the most comfortable arrangement, but it was the warmest part of the house.
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The freezing rain continued to fall throughout the night, adding layer upon layer to the ice covered outdoors. We spent the night cringing when we’d hear the horrible sound of branches breaking randomly (with a grotesque bone-breaking sound), falling all around the house and sometimes on the roof. The randomness could be disconcerting…never knowing where the next one would land. The darkness kept us from seeing the extent of the destruction that was happening all around us.
But the rain stopped…and dawn revealed destruction that was impressively disheartening.