An eerie silence envelopes East Mountain and the surrounding landscape. There's nary a sound except for the occasional barking of a dog or the joyful exclamation a child down below as he or she takes a first step into the altered terrain. Nothing is moving; any sound from moving traffic in the center of town is non existent. Many are calling it a snowpocalypse, And even as the final flakes flutter down from a brightening sky, just about everyone is rejoicing in the fact that the predicted ice storm gave us snow instead; at least, for those of us in the mountains and northward. People living in the Arkansas River Valley, which lies about an hour's drive south on the interstate, were not so lucky however.
The freezing rain began at around 8:00 am yesterday morning, and it quickly put an icy glace on streets, sidewalks and tree branches. Fortunately, the rain changed over sleet within a couple of hours and it continued to come down for the rest of the day and well into the night. Sleet can be a strange phenomenon. It creates a music all of its own as the listener is treated to a virtual symphony as thousands upon thousands of ice pellets reverberate against sprawling tree branches, a ground cover of newly fallen leaves and the roofs of houses. For those who wanted to listen, last night provided us with a grand symphony! Eventually, the sleet changed over to a dry snow, thereby allaying any fear of downed trees and power outages.
Down in the river valley, things were much less pleasant. According to the last report I heard, more than 30,000 customers are without power; this, with bitter cold temperatures on the way. Last night the news people were reporting that some in the valley can expect to be without electricity for at least a week. Ice storms can inflict a lot of damage in a short amount of time and it can take quite awhile to recover.
A short while ago I measured the amount of snow accumulated here on East Mountain. It appears that we got about six inches (15 cm). Is that all? You might be asking. Yes, that's all but six inches of snow, especially on top of ice and sleet, pretty much immobolizes us for awhile. It will likely be two or three days before I'll be able to get off this mountain; that is, unless I want to walk. Snow plows are almost nonexistent here. We just wait for the sun to come back out and melt things, more or less.
Anyway, another dangerous storm has passed and hopefully, things will get restored to normal very quickly down south, where they got most of the ice. Oh, and don't mind my ghoulish friend here! He's really happy that the ice caused no damage to his haunts; he just doesn't look it at the moment. It seems that the snow made him look something like a cone head. He was a bit angry that I caught him looking so silly. Ghouls after all, are supposed to be scary.