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I Apologize For Badmouthing The Ice Storm

Posted 2014.01.03 20.05 in Pointless Blather

I’m sorry for dissing the ice storm.

So the morning of December 22nd, I woke up to find two big branches had come down, one on the house and the other on the shed / back yard.

Turns out, that was just the warm-up act.

That night, the freezing rain came non-stop from before dark, and carried on well into mid-day on Sunday December 23rd. I couldn’t get any sleep, from the nonstop cacaphony of frozen lumber raining down on the house.

On the 22nd, there was one big branch in the backyard. By the morning of the 23rd, all the big branches are in the backyard:

Backyard Carnage

Between 2:00 and 3:00 am, several huge branches came down right ontop of my bedroom. They sort of piled up on the roof for a while, before sliding / falling off the side of the house.

Buried Under Branches

Around 4:00am there were some huge blue electrical arcs that lit up the neighborhood. I was counting myself lucky that I still had power.

When the sun came up, I had a look outside and could see two neighbors across the road had lost power. One of them had their power line down, laying right across the road:

Power Line on the Road

At this point, I was sort of hoping that the worst was passed and that I’d managed to avoid any serious trouble. That’s when I heard a tremendous crash, and my own power went out. Right while I was writing up this entry, in fact…

I have UPS/battery backup power supplies on everything, but they’re only good for 10 or 20 minutes. Enough time for me to go round to all the servers etc. and perform orderly shutdowns.

Then I went outside to survey the damage.

What a Mess

Yep, sure enough, my home’s power line was down. Wrapped around the neighbor’s car, by the looks of it. Worse still, the ‘mast’ thing on my roof took a direct hit. A 2″ steel tube had been folded over like a plastic drinking straw, the cables snapped.

It was the worst case scenario. The neighborhood had power, so we were low priority. And since the majority of the power-line damage was to the house itself, the power company would do nothing until the ‘mast’ had been replaced and everything was up to current electrical code standards.

Folded Over

I stayed a day, but by Monday the temperature indoors was hovering around 50°F and dropping. Finally, I packed up the cats and headed to my sister’s house; she had graciously offered to take us in for the duration.

I came back on the 25th of December to check on things. No good news. The indoor temperature was down to 37°F and everything in my aquariums had died – snails, fish, froggies, all dead. It was very, very sad. In fact the whole house felt dead.

On December 28th, electrical contracters sent by my insurance company had arrived and were working at rebuilding the powerline mast…

Repairs

At long last, on Sunday December 29th, the power was finally reconnected and I could return home.

The ordeal is far from over, though. I still have a lot of branches on my roof, and the backyard is positively full of branches. I had to throw out all the food in my fridge and freezer. I have to file a claim with the insurance company. I have a lot of clean-up to do. And I am worried that my freezer has died; since the power came back on it doesn’t freeze any more. Not to mention all the stress of having my entire business shut-down and off-line for a full week.

It was certainly a Yule to remember, and an x-mas to forget. I’ve decided not to replace the snails / fish / frogs. I miss them, but it’s time to move on. It’s also been a wake-up call about emergency preparedness… once upon a time I was very prepared. Now I am not. I think that needs to be addressed.

Overall though, the cats and I survived our experience as ‘refugees’, and while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t the end of the world.