Friday, January 30, 2009

Ice storm events

Well, since moving here, we've set all sorts of records. First, record heat; then record drought; then University of Kentucky football wins games and basketball loses; then record numbers of tornadoes; then worst snowstorm in 10 years; and now, the worst ice storm in state history.

It began innocently enough on the evening of Monday, the 26th. When we got up on Tuesday morning, there was about 1/4 inch of ice on everything. No big deal, having lived through the great Ice Storm in Maine in 1998. But about 9:30 am, the power went out, and the ice continued to build up. All day it drizzled, and by afternoon, we could hear trees cracking, and finally breaking. It rained all night but the temps hovered around 28 so the ice didn't melt. Then on Wednesday, it just got worse. More ice, and about 2 inches of snow snapped the tops off most trees we could see.

The main generator at the local water works went down, so about 45,000 people were without water, and the cities of Danville, Perryville and Junction City were totally without fire protection, as was the rest of Boyle, Mercer, and Garrard (and probably other) Counties. To top it off, a generator was sent up from Atlanta, GA, but when it got to the TN-KY state line, some overly-eager TN state trooper didn't like the look of the license plate, so he held the generator up in Tennessee for over four hours...

Going out today, after we finally got the power back, there was not a single tree that didn't suffer major damage as far as we could see. It looked like a series of random tornadoes had taken down every single Bradford Pear and Dogwood we could find, and destroyed virtually every other ornamental tree and most of the oaks, maples, and other hardwoods. The main difference, other than the total destruction of some areas, is that in a tornado, the breakage is usually all in the same direction and the path is narrow. This was everywhere.

Our Bradford Pear tree, before and after...

Over 700,000 statewide were without power, and in western Kentucky it was even worse than here -- Rick said there was a curfew in Paducah, and he and the family headed up to Carbondale, IL to get warm.

Bright side -- it's obvious The Cat knows where he can get warm!

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