Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

We had a nice snow this morning and there's supposed to be a bit more on the way. It was nice walking in the snow-covered woods and around the cemeteries. The cardinals are singing; and all in all, it's a pretty peaceful scene. In my mind it would make a perfect farewell to winter. I wish it were going to stay this way, but apparently, it's not going to. 

We have another storm on the way that can potentially bring significant accumulations of ice into the area. We're supposed to have freezing rain and wind overnight. That's not good, and the counties a bit to the east of us are under an ICE STORM WARNING! Those are three words that strike fear into the hearts of many Arkansans.

In January, 2009 we got an ice storm that can only be described as devastating. That's what the weather people called it, and I concur. Some of us were without electricity for two weeks or more and the cleanup can be a daunting task indeed. The next day I had to crawl under all the debris in order to reach the tool shed and the chainsaw that was inside of it. Then, I had to cut a path both to my cottage and to the firewood pile. Fortunately, I have a wood stove.

The night that the ice storm hit there never was a heavy rain. It was simply a slow but steady precipation that accumulated on the trees and power lines. In my opinion, nothing will drive you to the point of near madness faster than a slow but steady rain that freezes upon whatever it touches.

First you hear branches falling from some nearby trees--and the rain continues. Then, you begin hearing the snap of heavy limbs and their abrupt crashes to the ground--and the slow but steady rain continues. Entire trees start falling, either snapping at their trunks or falling over in their entirety with roots pulled right out of the ground--and the slow rain continues. Suddenly, a loud hum resonates throughout the neighborhood, followed by a series of explosions--electrical transformers blowing up--and the slow but steady rain continues to come down. Branches crash on the fragile roofs; trees fall thereby yanking power lines right out of household electrical boxes--and the rain just keeps on falling. By this time you're ready to go outside and scream at the storm and the clouds, demanding that it cease at once. It's the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability that drive you to that place of irrationality just as surely as the deceivingly gentle but destructive rain.

Ice storms are a frightening thing--and we're supposed to get one tonight. They say that it won't be as bad as the January, 2009 event and they're predicting only modest ice accumulations for my city. I hope they're right--not that I wish anything on our neighbors to the east. But who really knows what will happen? One thing's for sure, I probably won't get much real rest until this one finishes with us tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, there will be no power outages and everyone's home (mine included) will survive intact. One thing's for sure; it's likely, going to be a hellish night.


  1. Thankfully we don't get ice storms here, but they do in eastern Canada and I know they can be brutal.

    Hopefully the weather forecasters are as inaccurate in Arkansas as they are here, and the storm will come to naught! Fingers crossed it ends up not being too bad.

  2. Thank you. We got the first part of it a couple of hours ago and we're not in the calm before the second line comes through. Some are getting lots of ice. We had some but the temperature here is slightly above freezing. I hope it stays that way because quite a bit of rain and ice are on the radar and will hit in about 30 minutes.

    Yes, ice storms can be brutal and they're quite common in the southern states. I'm keeping my fingers crossed also. A few more hours and it will be over. You'll probably hear my sigh of relief all the way in Calgary.

  3. I waited a couple of days before I commented, I hope you and everything is as okay as it can be. I`ve experienced really heavy hail storms on hot summer days, but that seems really frightening

  4. Thank you App'y! My community dodged the bullet but it was a close call. Somehow, temperatures here rose to slightly above freezing while areas only minutes away got hit by the ice storm. Those communities got hit hard enough; but in the end, the storm didn't do as much damage as the one I mentioned in this blog post. That one was devastating.