Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Quiet Storm

This has been quite a week. First of all, we are among the few who still has power and we are ever so grateful for that. In this cold weather, warmth really is most dear. We have experienced 9 days without power in the past and know all to well the effects of that in terms of economics, comfort and stability. The last ice storm really taught us a lot about how basic our needs really are and how frivolous all the rest is.

Anyway, if you've never experienced an ice storm, this is how it goes.

First the weather guys tell us it is coming. We have the best weather guys in the country, so we usually believe what they tell us. Everyone heads to the grocery store and clears the store of wood, icemelt, water, milk, bread and Doritos. Probably beer, too. Then we fill up our cars with gas, rent a few movies and cozy ourselves in next to the television. (At our house, having lost power before, we plug in the old fashioned phone, power up the cell phones and cameras, do the laundry, wash the dishes, take out the trash and clear the garbage disposal...because after 9 days with rotting food, that sucker can STINK!)

Then it starts to rain ever so gently, and it all turns into little pellets of ice. This storm came with thunder and lightening, which was unusual (and scary). As night fell, we each packed an overnight bag in case we would have to leave in the night, and we all snuggled up in our big bed with lots of blankets. We watched the sky as the lightning hit transformers and the sky turned green and turquoise and then blue. We waited for the lights to go out until we finally fell asleep.

The next morning we awoke to find everything covered in thick ice. It was still raining and thundering, but now we could also hear the loud crash of trees and branches and large icicles falling all around the neighborhood. Throughout the day we heard sirens and falling trees and loud cracks of trees splitting and of thunder. Everything was gray.

The children wanted to go out to play, but I wouldn't let them. The danger of being hit by a tree or electrocuted by falling power lines was simply too real, so I played the part of party pooper. That's my job.

The television stations are running constant information about where to go for food and shelter, and who doesn't have power and what numbers to call for transportation. The people who need it most can't see it because they don't have power. They say it will be 10 days until all power is restored. They also say another storm is coming Friday. The people without power don't know.

The temperatures finally soared into the mid thirties and the sleet turned to rain. We drove 4 blocks to visit friends and our car was pelted with ice falling from trees. Many of the streets are totally blocked by downed trees. The streets were not slippery, but it was still dangerous. My boys were angry because I didn't let them walk. We had some hot tea and carrot cake. Soon after we left, our friends lost power, too.

I can't believe we still have power!

All the hotels are full of people without power and workers who have arrived from other states to help restore power. People in rural areas do not even have water because the pumps run on electricity. Some cities have no sewage treatment until power is restored. Ironically, the streets are full of trees, but there is no wood available for purchase. Everything is gray. And cold.

And that is an Oklahoma ice storm.

3 Comments:

Blogger celestejdvorak said...

I love reading your writing, my friend!

9:56 AM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Judy said...

So glad you have power. What. A. Storm.

6:54 PM, December 12, 2007  
Anonymous dawn said...

That was some lovely tea and cake, non? Little did we know.

We are powered up at Stan's sister's house, and I'm checking email! And reading blogs!

If you drive by, call me if the porch light is on!

9:44 AM, December 14, 2007  

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