Blog: Ice Storm 2008

December 22, 2009

Credit: Debra 13
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December 12, 2008

This morning, we woke up to huge crashing sounds. (My husband later compared the sounds to road-side bombs.)

We rushed over to the window. An enormous tree was falling right before our eyes. Our stunned eyes took in an otherworldly view. There were fallen trees in every direction. The branches were covered in an inch and a half of ice. The entire world was frozen.

Suddenly, the wind whipped through the forest and we heard more exploding sounds. A tree cracked in half. A giant branch fell from the sky.

The view from every window revealed a torn landscape. As ran into the kitchen, we gasped. A big white pine had fallen onto the roof of our house. In front of the garage, two enormous trunks blocked the driveway. One trunk had crushed our beloved crab apple tree.

We were trapped in Superman's ice palace. It was a stunningly beautiful crystal palace but very dangerous. The ice storm had knocked out the electrical power. The telephone line was dead. Even the cell phones were useless. We counted our lucky stars that the generator was working.

After a few hours, the wind seemed to calm. My husband ventured outside. The white pine on the roof was about 60-feet-tall and had taken off the chimney. He wanted to check on the neighbors but couldn't pass the downed power lines and debris.

By mid-day, some of our fearless neighbors were opening the road with chainsaws, tractors, and chains. Finally, we traveled to our nearest neighbor's home to offer help. They told us that nearly a million homes in New England had lost power. Fortunately, the storm had spared lives.

It's hard to explain the natural havoc that this ice storm wreaked. The combination of strong winds, low pressure, and moist air was clearly a recipe for destruction.

As I write this blog, I stare out at the tree leaning against our house. A nearby ice-covered tree sways precariously in the breeze.

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the region who was hit by the ice storm. Stay safe, all.

December 14, 2008

We've now started clearing the driveway. My husband took a chainsaw to the fallen tree across our garage entry and made great progress.

Thankfully, the temperature rose to the 40s and the ice started melting off the trees. We heard what sounded like an 80-foot tree slam to the ground and the sound reverberated through the forest.

I learned that our local cross-country ski resort was destroyed. The owner said "he felt like Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind coming home to Tara from the war, passing burned-out plantations and a devastating landscape."

This evening, we realized that our generator's propane tanks were running on empty. We called for an emergency service. Argh!

December 15, 2008

The propane truck showed up! Whew! I feel guilty when so many people are without power. A neighbor told me that a nearby high school is being used as a shelter.

Mid-morning, a tree service from Vermont appeared at our house and asked if we needed help getting the tree trunks off our roof. What serendipity.

We offered the tree guys lodging. It seemed like they needed a shower. They said they'd call us. Right after they left, the snow started falling.

December 16, 2008

There are 2-3 inches of snow on the ground. We're fortunate that we got the tree off of our house as our region expects more snow this Friday and Saturday.

Our town still doesn't have electrical power. It got really cold last night.

We've offered heat, showers and freezer space to friends and colleagues.

Tonight, a family is coming over with pizza for a pizza and shower party! It's almost like the old barter system, though they didn't need to bring the pizza.

My three-year-old son's school is closed for the week. I ran into a neighbor and her daughter at the town post office (we do not have mail delivery). She kindly said her daughter would help babysit while I work. As I entered their house, I saw a cozy room full of mattresses in front of a log heater. They had turned the situation into a big family slumber party and said they were having a ball! How amazing.

I've been extremely impressed by the Yankee sensibility. Even though I've offered countless people my home, including many without power, most say that they'll ride it out.

I've seen the PSNH trucks on the main road; their estimated service restoration is still TBA for Dublin, New Hampshire. I have a feeling that our home (half-way up Mount Monadnock) may not get service before Christmas!

December 18, 2008

Still without electricity. Tonight, our neighbor said the phone line was back though. We picked up the receiver and, sure enough, heard a dial tone! Progress.

December 24, 2008

We have power! Just in time for Christmas. What a blessing. Merry Christmas to all!


Amy, our Associate Editor, joined the The Old Farmer's Almanac in 2009. Amy loves to travel and explore new places (and recipes) around the globe. She enjoys cooking for family and friends, country music concerts, and relaxing in the great outdoors.

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 Past Reader

By Almanac Staff

 Past Reader Comments:
 

Comment from JEANNE PERSON on December 15, 2008
 
Thinking of all of you out there. Wishing you courage and stamina, and warmer weather.
 

Comment from Heidi Stonehill on December 15, 2008
 
Catherine, I'm glad that you and your family are OK! This ice storm was the worst that I've ever experienced. On Friday, you could hear trees cracking every 5 to 15 seconds--sometimes limbs, sometimes whole trees fell. It was especially unnerving to hear that sound during the wee hours of the morning before the sun came up. We lost several trees in our yard, including one across the driveway and a beautiful, ancient apple tree. It is Monday now, and the ice has mostly melted off of the trees, but there is so much cleanup to do. Many trees and limbs are hanging on power lines. Many lines are down on the road. Roads are closed. Hotels are booked. Shelters are open. We have no power, heat, or water at home. Water pipes have likely burst. We are fortunate to have a gas stove to heat up some hot tea and to warm hands a bit. Our area is expected to get power back on Thursday or Friday. Hang in there, everyone!
 

Comment from a dalpiaz on December 15, 2008
 
What first appears as an icy wonderland -- on second look is a declared disaster! I remember an ice storm when we lived in Connecticut many years ago. No heat, no electricity, living at a shelter during the day, and putting snowsuits on the children to sleep at night. Nature has sure played a trick on you all this past week!
 

Comment from Jim Carroll on December 16, 2008
 
Glad that the one above spared the health & safety of everyone. It's just something that we all here in the Northeast had to live with & be prepared for. Hope everyone has a safe, healthy & happy season.......
 

Comment from Rose Scalise on December 18, 2008
 
W0W! These pictures tell an amazing story. It is heart warming to hear how people come together to assist in disasters such as this one you are experiencing in the Northeast. We in the Northwest Chicago area are getting prepared for our 2nd winter storm of the season today (beginning with an ice storm followed by some 10 inches of snow.) Is this extreme cold weather what they call "global warming?" Stay safe everyone! Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
 

Comment from Tommie Hill on December 18, 2008
 
May God be with all the peoples involved in the ice storm.
 

Comment from L. M. McDonell on December 18, 2008
 
As a Canadian who experienced & lived through the Ice Storm of January 1998 in eastern Ontario, Canada-I can empathize with all of you during this difficult time. Stay safe!! I hope all can be resolved in order to enjoy a very Merry Christmas & safe, happy & healthy New Year.
 

Comment from mari burris on December 18, 2008
 
Hang in there, you'll get threw this,, we did,, and rembering when that was here.. Stay safe and stay together..
 

Comment from KIT CHANCE on December 18, 2008
 
You, your family, and all of your neighbors are in my prayers tonight. We have an Ice Storm beginning here in Central Iowa just now. You are all in my prayers!
Love, Kit
 

Comment from Silvia Wilson on December 19, 2008
 
My heart goes out to you. Living through 2 weeks without power in '98 was an experience I never want to repeat! I was on a farm in Maine, had to haul water for the livestock. The cracking sounds were like you describe, and the hill I lived on looked like the trees had been hit by an artillery barrage.
Hugs and Best Wishes, ~ Sil
 

Comment from Alcide G. Fortier on December 19, 2008
 
Hi There Yes I do remember the 98 ice storm,we had the resersve out checking on people and houses.We were with-out power for two weeks ,had my trusty generater thank my lucky stars.Would not want that again.Bless all the helping people we encountered. God Bless all and thank You ,. SID
 

Comment from Sharon Adams on December 23, 2008
 
My thoughts go out to everyone in your area, we suffered the exact same type of storm December 8, 2007 and we are still working to remove fallen trees and branches in our 40 acres of woods. It is a frightening feeling to be stranded and trapped from any emergency assistance if needed. The photos look very familiar and I do not envy your situation. One thing it taught us was to be prepared and we now keep a good supply of candles, batteries, kerosene and lamp oil plus foods we can prepare without electricity. I wish you the best and a speedy recovery from the awful storm.
 

Comment from Linda Hodge on December 24, 2008
 
Merry Christmas to you all....
 

Comment from Marty Harris on January 3, 2009
 
Your pictures brought back a lot of memories of our last BIG ice storm here back in 1998. Isn't it amazing how much damage can accompany all of that beauty. Here in Tennessee we are overdue for another one but I'm not anxious to see it. I believe Freezing Rain is the most insideous weather we experience. Usually it's pretty bad before you even realize it's happening. Good luck in the coming year.
www.martysweather.wordpress.com
 

Comment from Matt Char on January 13, 2009
 
wow that must have been really scary best of luck
 

Comment from Lucinda LaBounty on April 10, 2009
 
All sounded so familiar to our ice storm here in Arkansas on January 27th, 2009!!
The sights and sounds all the same!!! It was a scary situation at times. Some people went without power for weeks on end. We are still dealing with the clean up and repairs.
Something one does not want a repeat of for a long time to come!

 

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