From the middle of Friday, January 12th, 2007 through the evening of Sunday, January 14th, 2007 half of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas Missouri and some of northwestern Arkansas were affected by an ice storm that many say was worse than an ice storm in late 1987 that brought down trees and power lines and closed roads for hundreds of miles and left people without heat, light and water for more than two weeks in some cases. Currently, we have been without power since about 7:00pm on the 12th. After the ice fell for three days this time, the temperature has dropped down into the single digits with wind chills sometimes well below zero. That used to be second nature to me, but this is an area where the typical temperature at this time of year is in the mid-40’s.
I am lucky enough to have someplace else to go where there is power, heat and water, but most who live near me do not. Our entire town and surrounding area is without power and the local power company says a conservative estimate is one week for the power to be out. Luckily there are lots of churches, shelters and good people around with plenty of goodwill. Generators are rolling in, along with help from power crews from as far away as St. Louis, south central Arkansas and even Minnesota. With any luck, things will be back to normal sooner than expected.
In the meantime, here are a few images I snapped last night when I went back home to try and hook up a couple of portable generators to keep my house with enough power to save our water lines and food as the temperature continues to fall and the power stays out. Unfortunately, the borrowed generators I had didn’t start so we’re still completely in the dark. Maybe tonight we’ll get lucky and they will or the power will return. Judging by the slew of power lines down across the road, I’m not hopeful.
In order to get from the main road, about two miles away, to where I live you have to go through a maze of ice covered roads strewn with fallen trees. In many places, only a pickup or 4×4 can get through. Where there used to be two-lane county roads, now there are only three-quarter lane ice-filled tracks.
As you drive further up the road, you can see things like this fence which is on the pasture across the street from our farm.
All of the following pictures are of what used to pass for our front yard, including some close-up images so you can see the thickness of the ice covering. Some of these are better seen in a dark room. The flash is trying to pick up a large area and sometimes I used my truck’s headlights because there are no other light sources for many miles.
For a quick sense of scale, the blue shape in the picture below is a full-sized riding lawnmower under a tarp.
If you’d like to see more pictures, you can visit my Gallery2 pictorial. You’ll also find a movie there that we took driving around town. We’re not sure how much you can see because there are no lights anywhere except for one bank that had a large generator brought in. Keep an eye out for the ice covering everything, the downed and low-hanging power lines across the roads and in peoples’ yards, and all of the trees that have fallen, many destroying personal property and town infrastructure.
Good luck to everyone who has been affected by this storm, and I hope the power comes on soon for all of us.