Tag Archives: Ice storm

Suddenly Everything Seems Possible + Ice Storm Photos

23 Apr
This is what we woke up to the morning after the lights went out.  All the following ice photos are from that first day - all taken through our windows.   The snow photos were the second day, mostly also from our windows.  Finally, on the third day, we went outside as a family and saw the damage first hand.

This is what we woke up to the morning after the lights went out. All the following ice photos are from that first day – all taken through our windows. The snow photos were the second day, mostly also from our windows. Finally, on the third day, we went outside as a family and saw the damage first hand.

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The climbing tree, broken branches frozen to the ground

The climbing tree, broken branches frozen to the ground

Surveying the backyard.

Surveying the backyard.

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The pine trees were like Narnia - only the bad, evil witch part of Narnia.

The pine trees were like Narnia – only the bad, evil witch part of Narnia.

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A few shots around town.

A few shots around town.

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The golf course.

The golf course.

Not exactly a safe place to play right now.

Not exactly a safe place to play right now. I have heard many reports of eye injuries as people clean up the branches all over town.

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Yes, this is a power pole.  Or should I say, was.

Yes, this is a power pole. Or should I say, was.

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Nothing but splintered remains and criss-crossed lines.

Nothing but splintered remains and criss-crossed lines.

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Horray!

Horray!

Our saviors from Wadena.

Our saviors from Wadena.

And so the clean up begins.

And so the clean up begins.

I apologize for not posting these photos sooner…I couldn’t look at them without feeling ill. Seriously. I had to avoid them for a few days to get a little perspective.

The following is what I wrote on Wednesday morning, after the lights came on the night before. Allow me add that the power was back out on Wednesday night for a few hours, but that was because of a tremendous thunderstorm and lightning hitting a transformer…just what we all needed, right? It is Monday night now, almost one week later, and again we’re having snow and wind like crazy. It has been a wild couple of weeks that I really don’t want to re-live. On the good side, people were safe and there were very few injuries – mostly the injuries came later with damage to eyes when people were out cleaning up fallen branches. There are some streets that look like tunnels, the piles of branches are so huge. This will take weeks to clean up…months, perhaps. And years to get back our trees.

HOW MANY TIMES DO WE FLIP ON A LIGHTSWITCH WHILE LOOKING FOR A FLASHLIGHT WHICH WE NEED BECAUSE THE LIGHTS ARE OFF?!!! I think that everyone has done this in their lives.

So many switches were on in our house, and that’s how I knew the power had come back on because there were suddenly lights!

We’ve put away the flashlights. The dishes are gently rocking on the Anti-Bacterial setting in my dishwasher. A load of towels is “cooking” on high heat. I turned on my electric blanket last night, just because I could.

But the TV? You know, I kinda didn’t mind not having the TV on. Not having the internet bummed me out, I admit. But I really don’t have to compulsively check Facebook every half hour in order to be happy.

I tell you what does make me happy, though. Three men from Wadena, Minnesota – a town about 5 hours north of here – who restored our power last night, just two hours shy of one week exactly from when it went out. (The oven clock came back on and read 9:06 – it picked up right where it had left – almost as if time itself had stopped. As if the past week never happened.)

I looked up Wadena on my newly-restored internet and discovered that this town of 4,000ish suffered a terrible E-F 4 tornado three years ago. In other words, these men know what it is to suffer at the hand of nature. They know what it’s like to need help from others. They came down to my town so that they could give back what they received.

I told them, “Thanks for leaving your homes and your families to come down and lend us a hand.” They shrugged and mumbled and waved for my camera.

I am not usually given to dancing. But I danced last night.

Suddenly everything seems possible.

THANK YOU, Mr. Electric Man

16 Apr

Still no electricity. Furnace is acting up because it doesn’t like the generator. The cost of a storm like this is in more than just dollars. It’s in sanity.

Here’s some statistics I heard this morning. I know there are more and perhaps better ones, but this gives you an idea. (I appologize if these numbers are incorrect – this is what I’ve heard as of Tuesday morning.)

One hardware store in this town of 12,000 people has sold $177,000.00 in chainsaws and generators over the past week. That’s just one of the half a dozen or so hardware stores in town.

As of Tuesday morning 991 homes are still without power.

2,000 power poles snapped or otherwise are unusable.

120 linemen have come to help us out, from across Minnesota and even, I believe, from South Dakota. The hotel parking lots (at night only!) are solid with power trucks. The image of all those trucks made me cry. We are so thankful for all that is being done to get us back into the 21st century!

I know, I know – we can live without electricity. We’ve proven that this week. But it sure is nice.

Here’s my daughter’s take on the storm – in her exact words:

Electricity. A necessity we take for granted. The power has been out for 6 days and it still is.

We had a HUGE ICE STORM. Plus we had a SNOWSTORM after that!

There are MANY trees down, all over the place.

Having the power out is scary. Mr. Al Oberloh [the mayor of Worthington] said, “Worthington will never look the same again.” I agree.

I live in the country, so we didn’t have rolling blackouts [as they had in town]. We just had no electricity at all. Our power lines are [broken down] and buried underneath lots of snow.

I believe that the electricity people are pretty AWESOME. They worked for like 24 hours straight to get power back on [for those in town].

The power went out at like 9:00 Tuesday night. It’s still out. Oh well. They have to get other pepole before us.

I think that I will remember this forever.

THANK YOU, ELECTRIC PEOPLE!!!

By Katie O’Donnell. Age 11

Ice, Snow, Devastation, and a Kazoo Band

13 Apr

There are moments in your life that you never forget. When I am old and wrinkled and more gray even than I am now, I will remember this week with tears, with smiles, and, possibly, with laughter.

My son asked me if, like with hurricanes, they name Midwestern Ice Storms. I told him that we didn’t rate that high on the weatherman’s scale.

“But it’s so bad!” he pointed out.

“Yes, it is,” I replied with a wry smile.

It really is so bad.

April usually is a time to anticipate bulbs poking out of the earth, to dig out asparagus recipes, to watch the daily progression of the leaves on the trees, the birds returning to the upper Midwest.

Not this year.

For those who don’t know, Tuesday night, April 9th, 2013, Worthington, Minnesota and the surrounding area experienced a terrible ice storm which left about 1.5 inches of ice on the trees, followed by 8+ inches of snow on Wednesday night. I live out in the country on ten acres of trees and stream and farmland. We lost electricity Tuesday night. Still don’t have it back as of Saturday afternoon. We have a generator – a reliable one – as of Friday night. The one we had, which came with our house 8 years ago, had never been put to the test before. Sure, we’d used it a few times for a few hours – but nothing like this.

It failed the test.

So finally, last night, my husband forked over $700 for a brand-new (and much quieter) one, so that we can have heat and toilets that flush and food that won’t give us food poisoning.

Can’t wash our clothes. Can’t run the dishwasher. No internet. No TV. (My son’s comment on these terrible facts: “Mom, what did you and Dad DO all day when you were kids?”)

But all of that pales in comparison with what’s happened outside of our windows.

Total tree devastation. It’s a war zone, a bombing site, an unrecognizable horizon.

And no, I have no photos for you yet – not until I get power back and can download all of my photos onto my PC. I’m in town right now, at my favorite hang-out, BenLees Café. It’s a refuge here from the sadness out my window.

My kids have named all of their favorite trees. There’s the Hosanna Tree, so named because its leaves resemble the palm fronds on Palm Sunday. (I think it will survive.) There’s the Shady Tree aka the Climbing Tree. It’s our favorite. My girls and I cried yesterday when we stood in front of it. I don’t think there’s any way it will survive. And then there’s Mr. and Mrs. Maple Tree – Mrs. Tree is doomed. Mr. Tree might make it – but it looks like he got a terrible hair cut.

And then there are 100 more trees – give or take – which have suffered the indignities of a very angry giant stomping through our yard and tearing twigs and branches off and throwing them willy-nilly all over the yard.

At least that’s what it feels like.

And sounded like.

Oy, vey, the sounds of the crackling ice when you stood outside in the silence of zero electricity. It was almost like running water, only then you realized that everything was frozen and it was just the constant crack of ice on trees as they blew in the wind.

And the sounds indoors: nothing. Utter, unimaginable, silence.

Until the generator goes on!

But there have also been sounds of laughter. Of a fire in the grate, of games played, of a Kazoo Band, and of 30 year old cassettes wallowing on my 30 year old tape player. (“Turn it off, Mom! It’s creepy!”)

And then there was the sound of tree limbs tearing, of thunder smashing right overhead, of a little girl learning to tie her shoes, running to tell Daddy when he walked in the door and his exclamations of pride.

Yes, I will look back on this with tears and smiles someday.

Someday.

PS – I will have photos for you – probably more than you could ever hope for – as soon as I can. I’m sure I’ll write more about it, too. There is so much to process – to think through and put into words – I know I’m not yet finished.

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