Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Ice Man giveth, the Ice Man taketh away

In my last post I mentioned how beautiful the ice storm we had last week was. I don't want to diminish its beauty by complaining, so I won't complain. But I will tell you that while the storm gave us beauty, it also took us all down.

It all started on Tuesday, innocently enough. I took a personal day off work that day and enjoyed being out in light, fluffy, non-damaging snow. That's the day I took my sneaky Where's Waldo-esque Cardinal photo that you all so thoroughly dissected.

As you can see, there's not really much accumulation at this point.

As I walked along the roadside edge of this field, I kept the birds on the move from tree to tree and bramble to bramble. But this little guy stayed still for a minute or so. I'm always so happy when I get a picture of a bird "out in the field" rather than at my feeders.

So Tuesday quietly passed on, but late Tuesday night I heard the ice start to fall from the sky. We woke up around 5:30am to find we had no power. Once it started to get light outside, I could see how horribly bent over all of the trees were from the weight of the ice. Soon after I got up, I called Ohio's road conditions hotline to learn that Athens County was under a Level 3 snow emergency, which means...
"A Level Three Snow Emergency means that roads are closed to all non-essential personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on any roadway in the county may subject themselves to citation or arrest."
Needless to say, we did not go to work that day, and all of the schools were closed. They even closed the main campus of Ohio University for the day, which only happens when things get bad. It's my understanding that many businesses in the downtown area of Athens did not even open that day.

These are seed pods on one of our redbud trees.
They look upside-down right? Hanging up from the branch? Well, the tree was so far bent over that some of the branches were now 180+ degrees from their normal position. Unfortunately, we lost several of our lovely little redbuds to the ice and snow.

Our power came back on around 9:30 Wednesday morning, but went out again shortly after 11am, and stayed out until 11:30am on Sunday. That is the longest power outage I have ever experienced.

In addition to the ice, we got lots more snow on Wednesday, only this time it was wet and heavy, weighing the trees down even more. Here's a before and after:

BEFORE With just the ice accumulation. Notice the position of the corn cob feeder, which is already hanging several feet lower than normal:

AFTER With the addition of wet snow. The corn cob feeder (upper right-hand corner) is now practically touching our deck railing. Not cool.

It was, indeed, a veritable winter wonderland.

Some more bendy trees, this time arching gracefully (and dangerously) over our driveway.

More snow views. Looking out at the field across the street from our front yard:

Looking down the road from our driveway, first to the left...

... then to the right

A few more views of our sadly sagging feeder tree:

Unfortunately there are lots of folks who still don't have power, including several of my friends at work. I am very thankful that our power came back on when it did, and that we have a wood stove so that at least we didn't have to worry about being cold when the power was out.

Slowly, but surely, things are returning to normal.


RuthieJ said...

Yikes! Has it all melted yet Heather?
We had a horrible ice storm like this one (the '93 Halloween Ice Storm that we still talk about). Thankfully our fireplace and gas stove kept us warm also, but whenever there's ice in the forecast I still fill up bottles of water because with no electricity our well pump won't work.

Kelly said...

Wow! You had quite an experience. We were lucky and didn't lose our power, but a lot of people in Cincy did. The woodlands surrounding your home are beautiful. You must get the best birds. Spring warbler migration must be amazing. Glad you're back on the grid!

Kelly said...

Hi Heather, drop by my site for details on an award I am passing on to you, the Dardos Award.

Heather said...

Ruthie- No, I'm afraid it hasn't all melted yet. A lot did melt over the weekend, but then it went below freezing again, so we had a lot of water around to refreeze. Thankfully the trees are all clear, and hopefully the next shot of warm air that we're supposed to get this weekend will nip the rest of this snow and ice in the bud!

Kelly - I'm glad you didn't lose power. Unfortunately our woods don't host too many warblers. I've certainly seen some, but not in the numbers one might expect. One of the first spring migrants we always get, though, is the Eastern Phoebe. They LOVE to nest on the side of our house! And thank you for the award. I will be over to get the details. :)