Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The trees are falling

It's almost 1:00 AM Wednesday.  The freezing rain drenched us from 7:00~11:00 then tapered off.  I looked outside and saw almost an inch of ice on everything.  I had to look out the window because the deck door was iced closed.

I tried to convince myself it was safe to go to bed, but then heard something.  Like a heavy snowplow rumbling by.  But we have no snow removal on our private road.

I went back to the window, opened it and listened.  It had been calm, but now the wind is picking up.  I hear the tortured groan of frozen trees wrestling against it.  Then crackling.  There's that rumbling sound again.
The trees are breaking.

In the distance I see flashes of light and at first thought it was lightning.  But no, lightning doesn't flare red or blue.  Out there other trees are falling, taking out transformers.  The news say almost 15,000 are without electric - all in Stark county.

Another sassafras limb just crashed to the ground.  Across at the neighbors ash limbs litter their driveway.  Another slithering thump off somewhere in the golf course.  Earlier one of the pines at the back of my lot splintered away to careen into the back of the asparagus bed.

My power has been flicking on and off for the past couple of hours, but holds steady right now.

There goes another tree or large limb, sounding close by.   This is probably the most I've ever been worried in this house.  And there absolutely nothing I can do.  The world is a hard-packed sheet of ice here and I couldn't go anywhere if I wanted to.

All I can do is pace from window to window.  It's going to be a very long night.  And there is still more freezing rain to come.

I hate ice.

MORNING ======================================================

8:30 AM - It's pretty grim out there.  The freezing rain turned into plain rain sometime after 2:00 AM.  Most of the ice was washed off the trees before the (now escalating) wind arrived.  The sassafras lost a lot of heavy limbs.  Thankfully they plummeted straight down and didn't do any damage.

some of the broken sassafras limbs
There are limbs down everywhere that I can see: back in the golf course and throughout the neighborhood.  Living in a 'park-like setting with mature trees' is a perk - except in weather like this.

Across the street I see the main power cable has been pulled off the house and lies across their driveway.  A limb tore it off right at the weatherhead.  Doesn't look like the cable is broken, just yanked out of its house moorings.  The meter is still holding firm.  They may still have power.  The power here came on and off all night, but seems steady this morning.  But more than 45,000 are still without power.

While the ice is off the trees the water has backed up everywhere else.  I couldn't get out to the deck this morning so had to go out through the patio and chip out the breezeway door.  There is over 2" of solid ice out there (the downspout split and spilled tons of  water on the deck sure didn't help).

And I see that the garage door is frozen to the driveway - the ice there is very thick, more than 3 inches as far as I can judge.  I'm not going anywhere for a while.

We're supposed to get cold today with 2-3 inches of snow.  No "happy happy joy joy" here..

11:00 AM update =======================================

High winds are shaking things up right now.  Even with the new windows I can hear it roaring out there (sustained winds of 25mph with gusts over 40). If the rain hadn't melted the ice (early this morning) we'd be having extreme tree/shrub carnage now.  As it is branches ARE coming down.  The snow is sideways...

I see that a neighbor in another direction has taken some serious tree limb damage.  His property borders the golf course and there is a 12' chain link fence between them.  The golf course fence has been smashed down by part of a tree falling on it.  It's a snarled mess over there and I don't envy the cleanup.

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  1. I feel your pain. Wind and ice a lethal combo. Today are getting the storm 30mph winds and a foot of snow. Yikes. Our big street Norway Maples are rocking a little and creaking a lot. I think the squirrels are more worried than me though.

  2. That's effing crazy!

    I hate ice storms. We had a few nasty ones back home, but I suspect you get a lot nastier ones where you live, near all the lakes. We're getting nasty wind here today, and some regular rain. I hope your yard and house come out okay :(

  3. OhHHHH, NOOOOOO......

    I was afraid of that, when I saw yesterday's pictures. Ice plus wind never produces anything good. I hope you're ok.

  4. Oh dear! I was up last night too, listening to the howling wind and the ice beating down...thankfully we didn't get that much ice, but it is snowing again. Hope your power stays on!

  5. Wow! That is terrible.It is hard to believe that we live in the same state and we had very little ice here in the parks area. I remember the same conditions here two winters ago and it is horrible. If you have electricity you are lucky. Isn't it eerie to here trees crackling and limbs falling all around you? It is going to take a while for all of that ice to melt when it warms up, if it ever does. LOL! Be safe.

  6. Your words brought back a frightening winter ice storm of a few years ago! Wonderful writing! I am glad it was not worse. I hate ice too! It is sleeting here right now.

  7. I want to thank you all for visiting today and leaving comments. Your words have made me feel less intimidated (and isolated) by weather and circumstances. It's a blessing to have such online communication (when the power is one) at times like this. I'll keep you all posted... *hugs*

  8. Oh my, what a mess. Stay warm! It will melt soon!

  9. Sometime nature can be very bad, and we can't do nothing.
    Take care.

  10. What awful conditions, for you and your trees. Such extreme weather all over the world just now - I've just been watching reports from Queensland, and now here you are with destructive ice and high winds. I hope conditions improve soon for you.

  11. I was supposed to drive down to Columbus today. At 0500 this morning I walked or really slid down the driveway and decided that I could stay home and take pictures. It's 800 and still snowing. Maybe the snow will cover all the ice. Stay well. jim

  12. What a winter nightmare~I am so sorry about your trees~But, glad nothing fell on your roof....gail

  13. It's still snowing now at 8:45 pm, but the wind has fallen off. Temps have also fallen since this morning (from nearly 42 at 5:45 to 19 right now on its way to single digits). The worse is over. Almost 1/3 of all Stark county AEPower customers are still dark (including the AEPpower depot!). It's all about cleanup now. Most of the detritus at my place will sit until spring - a reminder that there will be less shade next summer.

  14. Oh, Kris, reading this just made me so sad for you and it brought back so many memories of our last severe ice storm!

    We could stand outside and hear trees literally explode. Our entire yard looked like your picture of the sassafras. If our son and his family hadn't come down and worked all day for two days, we would still be buried! In the winter a lot of Missouri still looks like a bomb site with poor jagged trees silhouetted against the sky.

    I am so glad you don't have the additional worry with the power outage.

    I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  15. Kris, This post brought back vivid memories of the ice storm of January 1998 in Maine and Quebec -- several days of freezing rain followed by frigid temperatures so that nothing melted. Just about everyone in the entire state was without power, and the sound of trees breaking under the weight of the ice combined with the flashes of light from electrical transformers made me feel as though I was in the middle of a war zone. 13 years later, I still have some big tree limbs that broke off and got hung up in the branches of other trees dangling high above my head. I'm glad to hear that you didn't have any major damage to your house. -Jean

  16. Glenda - Thank goodness you didn't have damage to your house our outbuildings. Those silhouettes will remind you a long time.

    Jean - I remember that storm on the news! It was a total disaster up there and I felt so bad for everyone in the zone. I, like you, will remember the sound of agonized trees for a long time.


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