Friday, January 22, 2010

Dodging a Bullet the Size of a Ford Pinto

I only included this blurry picture because literally two seconds after I took it, the entire left half of the tree was smashing the fence behind the garage.

Large amounts of snow, large amounts of cold, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised when we received a large amount of ice the past couple days. We have a half an inch on the trees and the only thing that kept this just a day to stay home from work versus a disaster of apocalyptic proportions was probably only a degree or two Fahrenheit and a missed forecast of wind.

It has been raining or drizzling here for the better part of a couple days, sometimes coming down in buckets. While the trees and cold vehicles accumulated ice, the roads stayed just wet enough that with the storm drains still plugged with snow resembling a giant slushy covering the road several inches deep. The result is somewhat slippery but nowhere as slick as it would have been with a solid sheet of ice. The 40 mph gusts of wind forecasted that surely would have reduced all trees to piles of splinters never came and Wednesday evening as the temps fell below freezing, the wind speed here in town was a big fat zero.

The result was that I still had power yesterday morning and other than a flicker or two the night before, never lost power. My neighbors weren't as fortunate due to a tree that interrupted a line behind my house but they had it back within a few short hours. I took the opportunity to mosey on over to the crew in my neighbors yard and tell them they had my permission to cut down a small tree that the previous owners had planted in a bad location right underneath the power lines and a transformer and really too close to my large silver maple so that it was mostly a spindly creature. I even suggested that if they cut it up into manageable chunks since I didn't own a chainsaw, I would be ever grateful. Though they said they weren't supposed too, I snuck a few peeks out of my window later and saw them bucking the downed tree up into smaller chunks. Even better, it is all over my neighbors yard but being the good neighbor I am, I will dutifully pick it up and haul it to the curb before the allotted pickup time that will surely be announced in today's or tomorrow's paper.

I did get the day off so to speak since Mrs. Z's house who provided daycare for Little Abbey had no electricity for a few hours this morning. I called my backup but she hadn't gone to work the day before because of the falling ice so she had to work yesterday. I still thought I might get a couple hours in while Little Abbey was at preschool which I assumed would be in session since the regular grade school was but I was thwarted there too. The electricity had been out at the preschool and the teacher couldn't get out of her driveway. So Little Abbey and I headed over to the local Mickey D's and I read a book for several hours while Little Abbey ran herself exhausted climbing through the play land with another girl her age. For the first time, Little Abbey climbed the tower with confidence though she still refuses to go through the missing sections of tube that have been replaced with webbing that allows the person to see the floor. Still in a first, she slid down the twisty tube slide right before we headed home for naps all around. Something about sliding into a tube where you can't see the end was a little scary to her and frankly, I don't blame her.

So with power restored throughout town, no wind in the forecast but higher temperatures arriving shortly, I suspect we came through this storm very lucky. A quarter of an inch of ice and some winds have been known to knock out power around here for a couple weeks in places and we had twice that much with the potential for probably ten times more that just fell down as rain. And this is just mid January when the normal heavy precipitation during winter is just starting. I can't wait to see what is in store for us.


Heading to work this morning

9 comments:

geri said...

I didn't know it can get pretty bad out there, from reading your post it sounded like you live in Canada. My husband and I were just talking how it has been a pretty mild winter in Chicago so far, usually by this time the intersection would be hard to cross for pedestrians because of snow piles. But I guess there's still February...

Ed said...

Geri - This is definitely the worst winter we've had here in recent memory. I would have to go back to the 80's probably before I find one with worse amounts of snow, ice and cold.

Bone said...

I'm trying to relate, but it was 69 here yesterday :)

Ed said...

Bone - Actually it hasn't been too bad. After several weeks of below zero temperatures, 33 degrees feels quite balmy despite the ice forming everywhere.

Vince said...

Sorry but is it the cold of itself or is it the weight of ice that causes the trees to split. Or is it that tree, like the Robinia pseudoacacia, would split if you look crookedly at it.

sage said...

I remember those days of taking a book to McDonalds and, while my daughter played, I sat and read and sipped ice tea. Sounds like you're having a tougher winter than up here.

R. Sherman said...

It's amazing what a difference few hundred miles of latitude make. Just rain and fog the last few days. I'll pray you don't have to start burning furniture anytime soon.

Cheers.

TC said...

We're getting the freezing rain now. Well, the rain. The temps are supposed to drop tonight and tomorrow, so I know it's gonna be a slick mess.

But I agree: 36 feels warm! (And I dread going back to the single digits...and we won't even talk about "below zero.")

Ed said...

Vince - It is the weight of the ice that causes the trees to break though some trees break more easily than others. The oak in my front yard lost a few twigs which the silver maple in the back yard lost several major branches.

Sage - Having lived further north, it just seems like this part of Iowa is on the border between mostly snow up north and mostly rain down south. As a result, we get everything.

R. Sherman - Haven't resorted to burning furniture yet but I've gotten lots of reading done.

TC - We received a lot of rain yesterday and as a result, about 90% of our snow is now gone. I can actually seem some brown scrub that I think used to be grass.