There are some things that I’ll probably never forget. Even if some day I cannot remember my name, I think I’ll always remember the ice storm in Louisiana in January, 1997. There was no ice in our forecast. Heck, we rarely even got temperatures there below freezing. I went to bed and it was probably about 11 p.m. When I looked at the weather, it was 31 and had just started to drizzle. I remember thinking . . the bridges may have ice on them tomorrow and I have to get Chad to school and myself to work but I went to bed. I had gone to sleep but I don’t know what time it was when I was awakened by the sounds of branches splitting off the trees and crashing to the ground. Within minutes, our electricity was off. Within what seemed like just a few more minutes, it was freezing in the house. I got up and put more blankets and quilts on Chad’s bed. I put socks on and threw a few more quilts on my bed and tried to go back to sleep but I was cold and the sounds outside were making me wonder if there was significant damage being done to power lines in the area or, hopefully, just in our neighborhood.
Early the next morning my parents called. They had a fireplace and said Chad and I could come to their house but the bridges were all closed and we couldn’t get to mom and dad’s without crossing a bridge. Chad had just turned 9. With no TV and no video games . . life was getting tougher by the minute. Finally, by mid afternoon, it had warmed up enough that the small bridges were open so we went to mom and dad’s. My power stayed off for 7 days. I think mom and dad’s was off a day or two longer.
Chad and one of my nephews were wild kids and ran into each other and bonked heads. Chad had a huge knot on his head. One of their neighbors was a doctor so he came over to look at Chad. He had me put the headlights on and he examined Chad’s head by the car headlights. He survived. The neighbors all cleaned out the freezers and we had a neighborhood BBS most every night. One mom knew how to make a solar oven so anyone who had brownie mix in their cabinet brought it to Karen and she made several batches of brownies that day. It actually ended up being a fun time . . but not so much fun that I’d ever want to do it again.
Obviously, we survived but it was a fairly rough 7 days.
Last night when we went out with Rita and it was still drizzling and snowing, Vince came back in and said “Oh, it’s 31°.” Immediately, all the thoughts from that night in Lake Charles ran through my head. Things are a whole lot different now. We have a gas stove and the stovetop works even when there isn’t electricity. We have a fireplace and plenty of dry wood on the porch. We have food. We have generators, which we would use only to run the well pump as needed and to keep the food in the freezers frozen.
The power stayed on. All is good. The snow has stopped. Our high today will be 50°. Just a regular day . . and sometimes, regular days are the best!
Rebecca Muir MacKellar says
We had a huge ice storm in 1998. It rained for the better part of the week at about twenty! There was massive devastation of the trees. People’s houses got damaged and there was not power for over a week and some out lying areas a month or so. Staying warm got to be very difficult, when it got to twenty below later in the week. It was the best sledding ever, a bit dangerous, I am sure. It was absolutely the most beautiful thing we have ever seen in nature. We spent our time huddled together and played games all day and well into the evening.
We now have a wood stove and wood if we ever need it again.
We were southwest of San Antonio staying in our RV on Lake Medina when we experienced the worst ice storm I’ve ever been through–and Arkansas gets some doozies! The RV resort sat on the edge of the lake at the bottom of this major hill. No one went anywhere for seven days, by some miracle the power stayed on, our RV refrigerator died and we could not get a replacement delivered, I-10 was closed. It was so cold, I just sat the cold stuff outside on the picnic table. The RV park let me put our frozen stuff in one of their lodge refrigerators. The ice was so incredibly thick–our pickup was encased. It was dangerous to walk our little dog–I could barely stand up. My Montana husband was appalled–he is used to snow but that ice stuff was terrible! And to top it all off, he had a broken ankle at the time!
Wow, what memories. About three years ago, we had a long ice period – longer up on the mountain where I live than down in the valley, but how to get out and get down the mountain? We never lost electricity, and that saved everything. I spent 13 days sewing and not worried at all about food, for all the same reasons you don’t.
8 or 9 years ago we had a big ice storm. I never lost power, but a tree branch ripped the power line off my father’s house. One of my neighbors went with me to pick him up and bring him to my house. That was a scary drive even though it was only a couple of miles to his house. He spent at least a week at my house, because he had to get an electrician out to re-attach the lines. It was a little unnerving to hear the BOOM whenever a big branch would break off a tree. I lost one of my cherry trees in that storm. Several of my neighbors lost some big branches. It is not an experience I hope to repeat!.
April Reeves says
I remember that storm. I was in college and snow and ice everywhere. We would sit in the dorm and watch people try to drive, then slide, and bang into people’s vehicles. Only so many storms like that hit Louisiana so the memories stick with you. I remember the one in 4th or 5th grade around Christmas. My mom worked at a hospital so she had to stay at work over Christmas.