really bad ice storm--
These pix don't EVEN capture what a mess this storm caused.
We made it through the ice storm, though not unscathed.
My friend Kate, who has all electric in her apt, came and stayed with me (since I have a gas stove). She brought her dog Chloe, so we had 3 dogs and a cat bunkered in with us. I had gone to the store Wed AM before the bad weather came in so I had staples and batteries and candles. I left work early on Wed, picked up Chloe, since Kate works in Chapel Hill and had a longer commute in. Both of our drives were harrowing, since the roads were icy at 3PM and people were wrecking everywhere. It took me 45 minutes to go 1.5 miles. And I had it easy. Some folks that left work later took 3-4 hours to get home.
Lost power around 1 AM Wed night, the sleet went all night long. I have 3 huge trees in my yard. We were in bed and heard tree limbs cracking and falling -- it was terrifying to hear the crashing. I got up several times because of thuds on the roof or the earth literally shaking when something hit the ground. At around 4 AM I couldn't take the noise anymore and went out to see what was going on, and it was chaos everywhere. Big branches blocked my walkway and crushed my azalea bush; a huge limb had fallen in my driveway, in between my car and Kate's. I kid you not, our cars were not 3 feet apart and this thing landed right between them. My back windshield was destroyed and Kate's front windshield had a hairline crack, but neither car had structural damage. This set of branches was so big that both cars could have been totaled if we had parked differently. That said, both of us high-tailed it outside to move the cars as far away as we could from prospective falling debris. I found a painting tarp in my utility room to cover my car's windowless back.
These 3 drunken frat boys that were riding out the storm down the block were out walking and they helped me and Kate by moving the heavy logs out of the driveway so we could get the cars out. [These guys were pretty scared and wired and smelled like they had consumed quite a bit of beer, but they were friendly, lol.] The plan was wise, since by daybreak, more large branches had fallen in the driveway.
Since all our wiring in town is above-ground, a lot of people lost phone service (I didn't). I lost cable and DSL (internet); both wires fell and blocked off the street. It quickly got cold indoors, so we used the gas stove for heat by boiling water, running the gas jets from time to time, keeping candles lit and staying under the blankets and comforters. We were pretty toasty in the kitchen and back bedroom because we hung blankets covering the doorways to keep the heat from the stove in the back 2 rooms. It got down to around 50 degrees in rest of the house at its coldest. We listened to the radio for entertainment, which played 24 hour info for residents. Over 1.2 million Duke Power customers were out of service -- worse than hurricane Fran in '96. They had an estimate of next Wed before they thought most people would have power!
My neighbor Sam with his pile of debris.
We walked around the neighborhood to survey the damage on Thursday AM. This wasn't exactly the smartest idea -- streets were icy and limbs were still falling -- but it was amazing to see all the damage. Whole trees split, covering houses, roads impassible to traffic, etc. A number of residents were out walking and looking too, but not too many cars were on the road. They declared a state of emergency and a 6PM curfew on Thursday.
On Friday AM (the ice was melting because the sun was out) we made an car excursion to the commercial district near my house (Hillsborough Rd./US 70), which happened to be the only strip in Durham that didn't lose power. The district luckily has a wealth of gas stations, restaurants, a few hotels (you know those were booked!) and a large grocery store. It was a nightmare of traffic, falling ice from the lines, and crazy drivers, but we lucked out that there was a dollar store open that had candles and batteries, and we made it to Kroger for some groceries. It was very crowded, but orderly and we were in and out in less than an hour. Verizon came by my house later and restored my DSL line -- but I had no power to use it, lol.
Fortunately, likely because I live near Duke's East and West Campuses and near Hillsborough Rd. all which had power throughout this disaster, the majority of my neighborhood had power restored Friday evening. Kate, who lives only 2 miles away, had no power till the following Tuesday.
All and all, this was bad (and very scary), but hurricane Fran was a lot worse. I went 4 days without power and it was 97 degrees during that time. There were riots and price gouging over ice and water then. The heat made people crazy, and no one could sleep in the misery.
There was no power for 3 days.