Thursday, December 18, 2008
ICE STORM 2008
After putting together some images from a recent wedding, we were going to update our blog this weekend but nature changed our schedule. On Thursday, December 11th, we'd just gone to bed when the electricity went out. At first, we thought no big deal, we'd been through this before. There was a storm outside and we thought that when we woke up, the power would be back. We were wrong! Using a flashlight, Phyllis got ready and left for work. While waiting for the power to come on or the sun to come up, I laid in bed listening to the loud cracking noises coming from outside. Soon these sounds were followed by large thumps.
By seven o'clock, the sun was bright enough for me to walk downstairs and look out the front window. What I saw was amazing! Our yard looked as though a hurricane had swept through. The driveway was blocked with large tree limbs and branches. A twenty foot tree limb snapped from our birch tree was sprawled across our front lawn. Beside our garage, another birch tree standing twenty-five to forty feet was covered with huge amounts of ice. From the weight of the ice, the tree's highest branches were stretching to the ground. The weight was so heavy, the old tree's roots stuck up from the ground. Where there was once flat ground around the base, the lawn had been pushed up a foot.
By the time Phyllis came home that night, we needed to move to a hotel. We still had no heat, no water and no way to cook but since there was no damage to the house, we managed the minor inconvenience. We stayed at a Holiday Inn in Salem which is about twenty minutes from our home. Phyllis went to work each day and I checked on the house and our two cats, who were more comfortable staying behind. It was a little cold at forty-eight degrees but I kept lighting a fire in the fireplace to take out the chill. By day three, the temperature was in the fifties but we were still at the Holiday Inn. According to the authorities, we were one of 322,000 customers who were without power. It would be a while.
Every day, I would check on my laptop from the hotel for updates on when the power might return. I found a very useful site called the "Londonderry Home Town News". It was the one place that posted current updates all day long.
By Monday, the fifteenth, many people were still without power so restaurants, hotels and gas stations were all extremely busy. The power company called for additional help from as far away as Canada to assist their employees working twenty-four hours a day to clear the roads and replace lines in an effort to supply power to the people of New Hampshire. On the fifteenth, we learned that our street was scheduled for restoration in two days. On the seventeenth, I went to the house and waited and waited for the power to return. Nothing happened!
By six o'clock, Phyllis and I went to dinner at the local 99 Restaurant and then checked the house one more time for power. Nothing! We returned to the hotel, relaxed and around ten o'clock started getting ready for bed. Preparing to shut off my cell phone as I had done for days, I dialed the house one final time. Immediately, I heard Phyllis' voice on the answering machine not the automatic voice provided by the phone company. (I actually redialed the number to verify it and let Phyllis hear). We were really excited!
Within thirty minutes, we were back in our own home . The temperature was reading fifty-five degrees and climbing steadily and once again all was right with the world. We were extremely surprised that although the house had been without electricity for six days, the temperature had never gone below forty-four degrees. Even the refrigerated and frozen food for the most part could be saved. We knew we were luckier than some but we learned a valuable lesson. We have a generator being delivered on Friday. We have attached some images from our yard that first morning. Of course, I had to take pictures lol.