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!